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Is leg compression beneficial for alpine skiers?
University of Wuppertal, Department of Sport Science, Wuppertal, Germany.
University of Wuppertal, Department of Sport Science, Wuppertal, Germany.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences. (Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre)
Institute of Training Science and Sport Informatics, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
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2013 (English)In: BMC Sports Science, Medicine, and Rehabilitation, ISSN 2052-1847, Vol. 5, no 1, 18Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background:This study examined the effects of different levels of compression (0, 20 and 40 mmHg) produced byleg garments on selected psycho-physiological measures of performance while exposed to passive vibration (60 Hz,amplitude 4-6 mm) and performing 3-min of alpine skiing tuck position.Methods:Prior to, during and following the experiment the electromygraphic (EMG) activity of different muscles,cardio-respiratory data, changes in total hemoglobin, tissue oxygenation and oscillatory movement ofm. vastuslateralis, blood lactate and perceptual data of 12 highly trained alpine skiers were recorded. Maximal isometric kneeextension and flexion strength, balance, and jumping performance were assessed before and after the experiment.Results:Thekneeangle(−10°) and oscillatory movement (−20-25.5%) were lower with compression (P<0.05inall cases). The EMG activities of thetibialis anterior(20.2-28.9%),gastrocnemius medialis(4.9-15.1%),rectus femoris(9.6-23.5%), andvastus medialis(13.1-13.7%) muscles were all elevated by compression (P< 0.05 in all cases).Total hemoglobin was maintained during the 3-min period of simulated skiing with 20 or 40 mmHg compression,but the tissue saturation index was lower (P< 0.05) than with no compression. No differences in respiratory parameters,heart rate or blood lactate concentration were observed with or maximal isometric knee extension and flexionstrength, balance, and jumping performance following simulated skiing for 3 min in the downhill tuck positionwere the same as in the absence of compression.Conclusions:These findings demonstrate thatwith leg compression, alpine skiers could maintain a deeper tuckposition with less perceived exertion and greater deoxygenation of thevastus lateralismuscle, with nodifferences in whole-body oxygen consumption or blood lactate concentration. These changes occurred withoutcompromising maximal leg strength, jumping performance or balance. Accordingly, our results indicate that theuse of lower leg compression in the range of 20-40 mmHg may improve alpine skiing performance by allowing adeeper tuck position and lowering perceived exertion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 5, no 1, 18
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-20916DOI: 10.1186/2052-1847-5-18ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84921718879OAI: diva2:683021
Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre
Available from: 2014-01-01 Created: 2014-01-01 Last updated: 2016-10-18Bibliographically approved

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Swarén, MikaelHolmberg, Hans-Christer
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