It doesn’t matter whether you’re Bushy Park, Richmond Park or Regents Park, you’re going to see runners, lots of runner. And what are 90% of them wearing? Leggings, more notably, compression leggings. With pretty much every professional athlete rocking around in compression clothing they must work?


The Science Says No.

Unfortunately, no beneficial effect to the following!

  • Running Performance (400m – Marathon)
  • Cardiac Response to Running
  • Vo2 Max
  • Blood Lactate

I’m sorry to say that (according to this piece of research) that your compression clothing DOES NOT improve real time performance markers. However, there may still be some benefit!


Small Positive Effect

The study showed that there was a small effect on the following.

  • Time to exhaustion in an incremental test
  • Running economy
  • Perceived exertion
  • Muscle damage markers and inflammation

So there are some benefits, unfortunately the small nature of their effect do not seem to effect actual race performance. Don’t worry, I still think you should keep your expensive leggings! Here is why.


Large Positive Effect

Okay, they might not improve your real time race performance. However, they do seem to effect the recovery process, which may well lead to improved performance via increased training. A large positive effect was found in the following.

  • Decrease in immediate post exercise leg soreness
  • Decrease in delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS)


Change of Use For Your Compression Clothing

The results show that your leggings DO work, you may just be using them for the wrong reasons! Rather than wearing them for the run itself, use them afterwards to aid recovery and get back to training quicker!

Read more about Compression Clothing and Recovery.

Read more about the research.