Compression garments

Compression socks, pants and shirts – what do they really do and what should be considered: Today at #sciencefriday we are talking about compression garments and how they can contribute to regeneration.

Application Methods

  • Compression garments are divided into different compression classes according to strength (CCL1-4).
  • Increase in venous blood flow – compression pressure decreases towards the middle of the body.

Physiological background

  • For maximum strength/explosive exercises: increased depth sensitivity and increased resistance to fatigue (Doan et al., 2003).
  • Increased metabolism of waste products (e.g. lactate concentration) in the muscles (Davies et al., 2009).
  • Reduction of muscle swelling and pain sensations due to increased lymphatic outflow.

Study situation

  • The scientific evidence on the effectiveness of compression garments to promote regeneration on subjective and objectifiable stress markers has so far been inconsistent (Born, et al., 2013).
  • Muscle damage parameters (creatine kinase) and the occurrence of muscle pain 24 to 48 hours after physical exercise can be reduced (Sperlich et al., 2013).


  • Handball players of the 2nd Bundesliga have put on medium compression pants (10 mmHG) after an intensive power circle and interval sprints.
  • Objective stress parameters (creatine kinase = energy metabolism of muscle cells) are lower due to wearing medium-strong compression pants (10mmHG).
  • Improved general subjective state of recovery of the athletes.


  • A medium compression (approx. 10 mmHG) should be selected.
  • Compression time should last at least 48 hours after the end of the load.
  • Wear compression garments only if the subjective feeling of well-being is not affected.


Born, D.P., Sperlich, B. & Holmberg, H.C. (2013). Bringing light into the dark: Effects of compression clothing on performance and recovery. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 8 (1), 4-18.

Davies, V., Thompson, K.G. & Cooper, S.M. (2009). The effects of compression garments on recovery. Journal of Strenght and Conditional Research, 23 (6), 1786-1794.

Doan, B., Kwon, Y. H., Newton, R., Shim, J., Popper, E. V. A., Rogers, R., … & Kraemer, W. (2003). Evaluation of a lower-body compression garment. Journal of sports sciences, 21(8), 601-610.

Sperlich, B., Born, D.P., Kaskinoro, K., Kalliokoski, K.K. & Laaksonen, M.S. (2013). Squeezing the muscle: Compression clothing and muscle metabolism during recovery from high intensity exercise. PLoS One, April 17; 8 (4).