Gradient compression garments (Skins™) are frequently used during and after sport and exercise to reduce the effects of post-exercise muscle soreness. This study sought to determine whether upper body compression garments have a significant effect on upper body strength. Trained subjects (5 M:2 F) performed four consecutive isokinetic concentric and eccentric contractions against a fixed speed of 30 o/s, horizontal adduction of the shoulder, utilising the pectoralis muscles and rotator cuff group, on a KinCom™ isokinetic dynamometry system. Compression garments used were Skins™ long sleeve (LS) and Skins™ sleeveless (SL) tops. After a warm-up/familiarisation set, subjects performed sets of four contractions whilst wearing SL, LS and normal training attire (C). Successive trials were conducted 3 min after the previous trial. The average values (±standard error) for eccentric contractions for SL, LS and C were 313.6 N m (53), 311.7 N m (51) and 296.0 N m (48) and for concentric contractions 268.1 N m (46) 263.3 N m (42) and 252 N m (39) respectively. There were significant differences between mean torques between (LS/SL) and C in both concentric and eccentric contractions (p < 0.0497 and 0.0253, respectively). However, there were no significant differences between the SL or LS for either concentric or eccentric contraction. This study clearly shows that upper body compression garments significantly increase upper body strength (5% for both eccentric and concentric contraction). The mechanism may relate to muscle fibre recruitment which will be examined in planned future studies.
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© 2006 Published by Elsevier Inc.