Acute Effects of Peristaltic Pneumatic Compression on Repeated Anaerobic Exercise Performance and Blood Lactate Clearance

J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Oct;29(10):2900-6. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000928.


External pneumatic compression (EPC) use in athletics is increasing. However, there is a paucity of evidence supporting the effectiveness of EPC in aiding recovery and performance. We sought to determine the efficacy of EPC for acute recovery of anaerobic power and lactate clearance following a fatigue protocol. Fourteen (n = 14; women = 7 and men = 7), apparently healthy, active subjects (aged 22.73 ± 4.05 years) were enrolled in this randomized crossover design study. After familiarization sessions, subjects completed 2 study trials separated by 3-7 days. Trials consisted of a fatigue protocol (two 30-second Wingate anaerobic tests (WAnTs) on a cycle ergometer separated by 3 minutes of rest), 30 minutes of treatment with EPC or sham, and, finally, a single 30-second WAnT. A peristaltic pulse EPC device was used with target inflation pressures of ∼70 mm Hg applied to the lower limbs. Peak power (PkP), average power (AP), and the fatigue index (FI) were recorded for each WAnT. Moreover, blood lactate concentration (BLa) was evaluated at baseline and at regular intervals during recovery (5, 15, 25, and 35 minutes postfatigue protocol). No significant differences in PkP, AP, and FI were observed. However, BLa was significantly lower at 25 and 35 minutes of recovery (8.91 ± 3.12 vs. 10.66 ± 3.44 mmol·L(-1) [p = 0.021] and 6.44 ± 2.14 vs. 7.89 ± 2.37 mmol·L(-1) [p = 0.006] for EPC vs. sham, respectively). Application of EPC during recovery may be a viable alternative when "inactive" recovery is desirable.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices*
  • Lactic Acid / blood*
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Lactic Acid