Performance enhancement

Compression socks in cycling, useful or not?

Bachelor Thesis

JJG Knops – i552984
Graduation specialization: Bewegingswetenschappen
Internship at: Sportmax te Eindhoven
Period internship: 01-04-2011 – 29-07-2011
Supervisor: Dr. E. van Breda
Second assessor: Prof. Dr. H. Kuipers

Date: 29-07-2011


Goal: studying if wearing the compression socks with young, well trained cyclists influences the heart rate right around their tipping point.

Design: the research used a randomized cross-over design.

Method: a total of 6 young (300km a week) cyclists participated in the study. They all participated in a test while wearing the compression socks (intervention) and conducted the same test without (control). Their tipping point was determined before the test. The subjects all cycled three blocks of 12 minutes right at their tipping point (ability). Three constant minutes were chosen to analyze from each block. What happened to the heart rate was reviewed based on what happened during these minutes. The subjects wore Herzog Compression socks during the intervention. Material was 68% polyamide, 32% elastin and had a pressure of 25-32 mmHg around the ankle.

Results: The heart rate of the subjects was lower during the test with the compression socks. The control and intervention were significantly different during the first (p = 0,012) and third block (p = 0,039). The difference during the second block was not significant (p = 0,179), but the heart rate was lower as a result of wearing the compression socks. The ability of the subjects was identical during all blocks at the control and intervention (p = 0,194 (1); p= 0,543 (2); p = 0,332 (3)).The subjects also had a significantly lower heart rate during the intervention (p = 0,001) at the same ability (p = 0,170) if all tests were combined.

Conclusion: Wearing compression socks results in a lower heart rate during exercise around the tipping point. This is possibly the results of a heightened venous return or a better oxygen delivery in the active muscles. This phenomenon cannot be clarified yet based on this research and the current literature positions.