• Do graduated compression garments improve field-hockey skill performance and repeated sprint ability following an intermittent endurance test?

      Heath, Jonathan (University of Chester, 2008-09)
      Introduction: Compression garments have long been shown to promote physiological benefits both within the medical profession and also within the sporting arena. Team sports such as field-hockey, football and rugby are characterised by high intensity intermittent exercise, also requiring a significant contribution of motor skill performance and cognitive function. To date there is paucity in the research regarding graduated compression garments and their effects on field-hockey skill performance. Method: 14 male field-hockey players (24 ± 4 years), National League North standard, attended on five separate occasions: two familiarisation sessions and three test sessions. During testing sessions participants wore one of three clothing combinations, Control (polo shirt and shorts), Placebo and Graduated compression garments (Skins™). Placebo and Graduated compression garments were worn underneath the control clothing condition and consisted of a long sleeve top, shorts and socks. The order in which clothing conditions were tested was randomized. Testing consisted of 15 minutes rest followed by a 15 minute warm up. Participants then performed a field-hockey skill test, a repeated sprint ability test and an intermittent endurance test. Following the intermittent endurance test the field-hockey skill test and sprint test were repeated. Followed by 20 minutes recovery. Heart rates were monitored constantly throughout the test. Blood lactate, core temperature and subjective whole thermal ratings, clothing sweating sensation, clothing comfort sensations and Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE), were monitored after each test component. Results: Field-hockey skill results were not significantly different between clothing conditions (p = 0.800 and p = 0.822 for pre and post intermittent endurance respectively). Repeated sprint ability fatigue times showed no significant difference between clothing conditions pre intermittent endurance test (p = 0.607). Post intermittent endurance fatigue time was significantly different between control and placebo (p = 0.005), but not significant between control and graduated compression garments and between placebo and graduated compression garments (p = 0.073 and p = 0.753 respectively). Intermittent endurance results were significant (p = 0.002) between control and graduated compression garments (1699.92 ± 120.19m and 1767.71 ± 140.45m respectively), and between placebo and graduated compression garments (1682 ± 155.48m and 1767.71 ± 140.45m respectively). Heart rate, blood lactate and core temperature between clothing conditions were not significant (p = 0.510; p = 0.893; p = 0.502 respectively). Subjective whole thermal sensations were not significant (p = 0.784). Clothing sweating sensations were significant for graduated compression garments at field-hockey skill test post intermittent endurance (p = 0.015) compared to control, sprint test post intermittent endurance (p = 0.001) compared to control, and also during recovery (p = 0.0014) compared to placebo. Clothing comfort sensations were significantly improved for graduated compression garments (p = 0.012). RPE scores were not significant (p = 0.444). Conclusion: Graduated compression garments do not improve field-hockey skill performance and repeated sprint ability either before or after an intermittent endurance test. They do however significantly improve intermittent endurance running, and may help to maintain skill and sprint performance at levels comparable to clothing conditions performing significantly less in an intermittent endurance test. Graduated compression garments also have significant effects on subjective clothing sweating sensations and also clothing comfort sensations.