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The use of intermittent sequential pneumatic compression for recovery following exercise.

The modern athletic training schedule requires athletes to regularly complete intense training sessions that induce muscular damage. Recovery strategies are thought to reduce post-exercise fatigue and enhance subsequent performance, leading to the investigation and development of many different recovery strategies and protocols. Intermittent sequential pneumatic compression (ISPC) is a relatively new recovery strategy that has been proposed to enhance recovery post-exercise in the sport setting. However, the limited amount of current research on ISPC has returned contrasting findings, requiring further research to determine its efficacy for exercise recovery. Furthermore, technological advances in this area have seen the introduction of new devices, including the yet to be evaluated ISPC arm-sleeves. The first section of this thesis briefly examines the literature on commonly used recovery methods. It then provides an overview of the possible mechanisms for which ISPC is proposed to enhance recovery; compression, massage, temperature, and potentially via the placebo effect. Finally, it reviews the existing literature on ISPC in the sport and exercise-recovery setting. Part two of the thesis includes an original investigation whereby the efficacy of an ISPC device on the upper-body following a fatiguing exercise circuit was examined. Fifty resistance-trained athletes (37 male/13 female, mean ± SD; age = 27 ± 24 yrs) performed three physical performance tests (grip strength dynamometer, single arm medicine ball throw, preacher bench bicep curls to failure) pre and post exercise, and following a 30-minute recovery period. During the recovery period, participants were randomly assigned an experimental arm, which was placed in the ISPC device, and a control arm (no device). Participants completed a perceptual muscle soreness rating of four upper-body landmarks at the same time points and also 24 hours post-recovery. There was a statistically significant interaction between conditions for the single arm medicine ball throw (p < 0.01) following the recovery period, however the effect size was deemed trivial. There was a small, non-significant effect (d = 0.22) for the bicep curls in favour of ISPC. The perceptual muscle soreness scales resulted in significant differences between conditions immediately post and 24 hours post across all muscle groups (p < 0.05), in favour of the ISPC condition. This study supports the use of an upper-body ISPC device to reduce muscle soreness for up to 24 hours following exercise, and may provide small benefits to strength-endurance when compared to a control trial. In conclusion, this thesis adds to the body of knowledge on ISPC as a recovery strategy in athletes. While the experimental study adds to the existing body of research already completed on ISPC, it is similar to previous literature outlined in the review, with conflicting results. Further research is required to investigate the efficacy of ISPC when compared to a sham condition.
Type of thesis
Cranston, A. (2020). The use of intermittent sequential pneumatic compression for recovery following exercise. (Thesis, Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance (MHSHP)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13361
The University of Waikato
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