Commercially available compression garments or electrical stimulation do not enhance recovery following a sprint competition in elite cross-country skiers Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated whether commercially available compression garments (COMP) exerting a moderate level of pressure and/or neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) accelerate recovery following a cross-country sprint skiing competition compared with a control group (CON) consisting of active recovery only. Twenty-one senior (12 males, 9 females) and 11 junior (6 males, 5 females) Swedish national team skiers performed an outdoor sprint skiing competition involving four sprints lasting ∼3-4 min. Before the competition, skiers were matched by sex and skiing level (senior versus junior) and randomly assigned to COMP (n = 11), NMES (n = 11) or CON (n = 10). Creatine kinase (CK), urea, countermovement jump (CMJ) height, and perceived muscle pain were measured before and 8, 20, 44 and 68 h after competition. Neither COMP nor NMES promoted the recovery of blood biomarkers, CMJ or perceived pain post-competition compared with CON (all P > .05). When grouping all 32 participants, urea and perceived muscle pain increased from baseline, peaking at 8 h (standardised mean difference (SMD), [95% confidence intervals (CIs)]): 2.8 [2.3, 3.2]) and 44 h (odds ratio [95% CI]: 3.3 [2.1, 5.1]) post-competition, respectively. Additionally, CMJ was lower than baseline 44 and 68 h post-competition in both males and females (P < .05). CK increased from baseline in males, peaking at 44 h (SMD: 1.4 [-0.4, 0.9]), but was decreased in females at 20 h post-competition (SMD: -0.8 [-1.4, -0.2]). In conclusion, cross-country sprint skiing induced symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage peaking 8-44 h post-competition. However, neither COMP nor NMES promoted physiological or perceptual recovery compared with CON.


  • Govus, Andrew David
  • Andersson, Erik Petrus
  • Shannon, Oliver Michael
  • Provis, Holly
  • Karlsson, Mathilda
  • McGawley, Kerry

publication date

  • 2018