Journal of Fashion Technology & Textile EngineeringISSN: 2329-9568

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Research Article, J Fashion Technol Textile Eng Vol: 2 Issue: 2

The Effect of a Sports Baselayer with TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) Bands to the Exercise Performance based on the Method of the Exercise Prescription

Young-Seok Koo*
Department of Clothing & Textiles, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea
Corresponding author : Young-Seok Koo
Department of Clothing & Textiles, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: December 12, 2013 Accepted: August 18, 2014 Published: August 22, 2014
Citation: Koo YS (2014) The Effect of a Sports Base-layer with TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) Bands to the Exercise Performance based on the Method of the Exercise Prescription. J Fashion Technol Textile Eng 2:2. doi:10.4172/2329-9568.1000110


The Effect of a Sports Baselayer with TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) Bands to the Exercise Performance based on the Method of the Exercise Prescription


The test was performed before and after fitting the sports baselayer with a one week interval between tests. The anaerobic power and muscle activity of the Biceps Femoris (BF) were improved significantly using the sport base-layer. The results of the other testing items also showed a slight increase in exercise performance but the difference was not significant. The sport baselayer reinforced by the TPU power band on the main muscles of the body is believed to have a positive effect to the entire exercise


Keywords: Sport; Base-layer; TPU power band; Muscle performance; Exercise prescription


Sport; Base-layer; TPU power band; Muscle performance; Exercise prescription


The lifestyle of people has changed significantly due to the development of the science and economy. In particular, the interest in health has increased due to prolonged life span owing to the advances in medical technology. Modern research into practical ways of maintaining public health has identified physical exercise (62.6%) as the most popular [1]. Based on this change, the sports industry has grown with the development of material and technology, and produced many advanced sporting items for consumers.
In particular, sports equipment comprises a large portion in the sports market. The sports industry has developed a range of scientific equipment and supporting devices for sports people to provide protection from sports injuries and improve their physical ability. Among the sport equipment, the sportswear has undergone outstanding growth in the entire clothing market. The sportswear industry has developed a range of functional sporting attire based on bio-mechanics and textile technology, which has good responses from consumers who participate in sports activities. The functional sportswear based on a range of scientific technology has strongly satisfied consumers involved in sport activity.
Sportswear is used as a tool to express the economic ability, educational level, social position and aesthetic aspects of the individual. Therefore, the consumers in the daily activity of life sports have considerable interest in sports equipment, such as functional sportswear [2].
Consumers who want to improve their sports performance favor a type of performance sportswear called a "functional base-layer". This sportswear is very popular among professional and amateur sports people because of the improvements in exercise ability and the prevention of injuries afforded by its compressive muscle support, as well as its comfort factor.
An initial type of the sport base-layer aimed to prevent sports injuries during sports activity by applying taping fabric to the main muscle parts, which assists in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. The sport compression base-layer has the ability of power stretch due to the high span fiber content in the fabric structure, which maximizes the extension and recovery of fabric. The characteristics of extension and recovery induce muscle compression and relaxation, thereby reducing muscle micro vibration and supporting muscle movement during exercise [3-6]. A reduction of muscle vibration promotes smooth blood circulation, leading to decreased muscle fatigue, as well as increased physical strength and sports performance. Muscle micro vibrations during exercise increase muscle tension and fatigue and delay recovery from fatigue, thereby decreasing the overall sports performance [7-9].
An another advantage of a compression base-layer is that it increases the accuracy and efficiency of muscle movement, which in turn, increases muscle endurance and enhances the exercise performance. Furthermore, it decreases fatigue after exercise and helps the sports person recover quickly from muscle pain [10,11].
Recently, a more advanced sports base-layer with a TPU band, which was attached on various main muscle parts during sporting activity, was developed.
The TPU band based layer is originated from the kinesio taping which is a natural method to reduce muscle pain based on the theory of constancy in which an adhesion tape without medical treatment sticks to body muscle to control tension and improve blood, tissue and lymph fluid circulation that induce muscle balance with surround muscle tissue [12-14]. The taping treatment showed positive results to recover muscle fatigue caused by lactic acid from exercise [15,16].
The characteristics of the newly developed TPU power band baselayer are as follows:
The base-layer, so called compression base-layer with power bands, has thermoplastic bands on the front and back, which hug the main muscle parts. The bands on the base-layer, work as a spring in the simultaneous movement of muscle in order to support the muscles and improve muscle performance during exercise. The bands embracing the center of upper base-layer compress the muscles of the upper body to impart stability to the upper body. The bands on both shoulders also work as stable compression on the upper body without any movement restriction. The bands embracing the lower base-layer, which compress rectus femoris (RF), bicep femoris (BF) and semi-tendinosus (ST), also work to support muscle movement during exercise of the lower body. The compression base-layer with power bands has a high content of span fibers that gives a power stretch on the entire base-layer, which supports fundamental body and muscle structure. The power stretch also provides effective muscle and skeletal support by skin contact compression, even on the local contour parts of the human body.
On the other hand, Advantages of the power band baselayer are shown in the respect of bio-mechanical engineering and sportswear developing by sportswear makers but academic research was not enough that the power band base-layer improved exercise performance in respect of sport science including sport physiology, sport mechanics, and sport prescription.
Therefore, this study examined the exercise performance of the compression base-layer with the power band to investigate the effect of a compression plus taping with respect to the exercise prescription in order to provide fundamental data on the development of more advance functional sportswear. Particularly, this study focuses on that the characteristics of TPU band design in the base-layer affect the real exercise performance with factors in the sports science. The method of exercise prescription is used for measurement of exercise performance for the purpose of research.


Scientific parameters in the method of exercise prescription
Anaerobic power: The anaerobic power is the exercise evaluation for muscle power and endurance without the oxygen supply. The mean power was used to evaluate the anaerobic power during 30s exercise. This measure is used widely to analyze the exercise performance in short term sporting activity, such as 100m running, cycling and weight lift. A high mean power means excellent exercise performance during a short period.
Aerobic power: The aerobic power is the exercise capability evaluation in the long-term endurance exercise with the oxygen supply. High numerical value means good power duration for longterm exercise such as the long-distance road cycling.
Lactic acid for fatigue measurement: Lactic acid is measured by blood collection for fatigue analysis after exercise. The variation of lactic acid is investigated for fatigue in the body during the anaerobic or aerobic exercise
Electromyography (EMG): EMG is a tool to analyze the power of muscle, fatigue, and damage by measuring the vibration extent of muscle.
VO2 Max: The VO2 Max, which means the maximum oxygen intake that human body can utilize to produce energy, is an important index of the aerobic exercise performance. The VO2 Max affects the maximum aerobic exercise performance to overcome the exercise load during the long-term exercise. Oxygen moves from the heart to the activated muscle, and oxygen is extracted from the blood by the activated muscle during aerobic exercise. The VO2 Max is determined by the movement and extraction of oxygen.

Research Subjects

Ten university students (aged in their 20's) who had no specific disease records were selected for the test. Informed consent was obtained from all subjects. Table 1 lists the physical characteristics of the subjects. X-scan (Jawon Medical Co., Korea) was used to measure the physical characteristics of the students. The subjects were instructed to refrain from food or beverages but water for 24 h before the test and enforced to urinate 30 min. before the test to allow accurate measurements of the physical composition. The test was performed four times, two in naked torso with short pants and two in TPU band base-layer with 1 week interval to obtain the mean value.
Table 1: Physical characteristics of the subjects.
Characteristics of the functional sport base-layer used in the test
The functional base-layer used in this study had the following characteristics: rapid absorption and fast drying of sweat, antiultraviolet, thermal comfort, wicking effect, anti-microbial treatments, and air permeability. In addition, it was made from ultralightweight microfiber and four-way-stretch fabric, which allows power stretching and incorporates a three-dimensional design for gradient compression of the muscle. In particular, the TPU band positioned on the shoulders and back in the top of the base-layer, as well as around the hamstrings and knee in the pants of the base-layer for supporting extension and contraction of the muscle [17]. The fiber contents of the base-layer were consisted of polyester and span fiber (80:20). Although the clothing pressure of the base-layer can be differentiated depending on the contents of the span fiber, the body structure and adhesion area of the TPU band, normally 20~25 gf/cm2 of the clothing pressure works on the entire body [18] (Figure 1 and Table 2).
Figure 1: Front and back images of the TPU power band base-layer.
Table 2: Physical characteristics of TPU.
Table 3: Isokinetic protocol for the muscle function test.
Isokinetic muscle function
Isokinetic exercise is used widely to examine the effects of exercise and muscle fatigue to evaluate muscle function. This is recognized as a reliable and objective tool for collecting scientific data, and is used in a variety of fields including sports science. The HUMAC NORM System (CSMI, USA) was used to measure the isokinetic muscle function with and without the functional base-layer. The test objectives and protocol (isokinetic testing manual, HUMAC NORM Co.) were explained sufficiently to the subjects to derive the best performance during the test. The mean and peak EMG values for muscle power (60°/s) and endurance power (240°/s) were compared. The differences in power measured during flexion and extension of the lower limbs were also compared.
Excalibur Sport 925900 (Lode B. V., Netherlands) was used for the Wingate anaerobic test. The height of the saddle on the Wingate machine was adjusted to a knee angle of 120°–150° to ensure a comfortable posture of the subjects, who were fully trained in advance to obtain the best performance. The test comprised of 3 stages: preparation (50 rpm) for 30s, maximum speed for 30s and finishing exercise for 2–3 min.
Muscle function test during the aerobic exercise
A treadmill exercise load test was used in the aerobic exercise with a gas chromatograph for VO2 Max in which symptoms, such as breath difficulty, face flushing and irregular step, were checked. Verbal encouragement was used to encourage the maximum exercise performance, but the treadmill was stopped when the subject showed signs of exhaustion during the test.
The criteria used to evaluate the accomplishment of maximum exercise using both the subjective and objective indices during the stepwise exercise test were as follows; no increase in heart rate with increasing exercise load, no increase in oxygen consumption with increasing exercise load, a respiratory exchange rate (RER) of more than 1.1, subjective consciousness of exercise > 17, or high pressure response > 250 mmHg (systolic) and 115 mmHg (diastolic). The test was stopped when more than 3 of the above symptoms were observed.
Electromyography (EMG) test
To prevent errors during surface EMG testing caused by skin resistance, an electrode was placed on the skin surface in a state of maximum static contraction, after sterilizing the skin and removing any contaminants. The raw EMG data was analyzed after rectification and smoothing to remove the irreproducible EMG peaks. The mean and peak EMG data was collected from several cycles for 30s, each cycle was defined as the duration of a peak-to-peak EMG reading in the Wingate anaerobic and treadmill tests.
In the isokinetic muscle function test, the knee extension period was defined as the time of EMG onset-to-offset, and the knee flexion period was defined as the offset-to-onset. One cycle included 1 extension and 1 flexion period. The mean and peak EMG values were collected from 5 and 20 repeated cycles.
Targeted locations on body for EMG test were rectus femoris (RF), bicep femoris (BF) and semi-tendinosus (ST) which were main muscle parts for aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Electromyography is a tool for measuring the muscle activation. High muscle activation means an improvement in muscle performance within the same amount of exercise. On the other hand, low muscle activation in an equally maintained exercise performance means a similar exercise effect with a small amount of muscle use.

Data Analysis

The subjects took the tests with and without the functional baselayer within a period of 1 week. Each subject measured physical characteristics and conducted the testing items (aerobic, anaerobic, EMG, VO2 Max, lactic acid) in a short pants without sports baselayer. After 1 week period, the subjects took tests with sports baselayer in the same testing items and process.
A paired t-test was used to compare the mean and peak EMG data from each muscle between with and without the functional baselayer. The statistical software package SPSS 18.0 was used. A p-value < 0.05 was considered significant.

Result and Discussion

Change of anaerobic power
Figure 2 shows the increase in mean power from 7.80 to 8.52 watt/kg which is almost 9 % increase after fitting the power band base-layer.
Figure 2: The change in the mean power between without TPU band and with TPU band on the base-layer.
The power band base-layer works effectively to reduce the muscle vibration and support the main muscle parts in extension and contraction, which has a positive effect on the optimum anaerobic exercise performance during a short period.
The total work of anaerobic exercise from the Wingate anaerobic test, as shown in Figure 3, was also increased from 15924 to 16848 J which is nearly 5.8 % increase after fitting the power band base-layer. The stamina for anaerobic exercise also appeared to increase after fitting the power band base-layer.
Figure 3: The change in the total work between without TPU band and with TPU band on the base-layer.
Change of VO2 Max
This value was expected to increase due to an improvement in blood circulation by repeated tension and relaxation of muscle blood due to the compression effect of the base-layer. However, VO2 Max did not increase significantly from 56.73 to 57.25 ml/min/kg after fitting the power band base-layer, as shown in Figure 4. On the other hand, as light increase in VO2 Max is expected to have a positive effect on the aerobic exercise performance over a long term period.
Figure 4: Change in VO2 Max between without TPU band and with TPU band on the base-layer.
EMG change during anaerobic exercise
Figure 5 showed BF decreased significantly from 21875.04 to 18712.50 μv% during aerobic exercise in the electromyography change after fitting the power band base-layer. RF and Semi-tendinosus (SD) showed a slightly decreased value but no statistical significance. However, the aerobic power and total work increased after fitting the power band base-layer even in the low muscle activation. In addition, the decrease in EMG with the low activation of muscle showed an improvement in exercise efficiency, which had a positive effect on the entire exercise performance.
Figure 5: Change in EMG between without TPU band and with TPU band on the base-layer.
Change of lactic acid
The muscle power is produced by a protein consisting of actin, myosin and ATP for muscle activity. On the other hand, lactic acid, which is a strong acid substance caused by ATP consumption, increases muscle fatigue in long term exercise without a rest.
The lactic acid was decreased slightly from 12.41 to 11.53 mmol/ml in the anaerobic test and from 12.46 to 11.65 mmol/ml in the aerobic test by the power band base-layer but the decrease was not statistically significant. However, the accumulation of lactic acid appeared to be decreased by smooth blood circulation and muscle blood activation due to the effect of the power band base-layer (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Change in lactic acid level between without TPU band and with TPU band on the base-layer.


This study examined the effect of a power band base-layer, which is used widely by amateur and professional sports people, on the exercise performance based on an exercise prescription.
The VO2 Max for the anaerobic exercise evaluation showed no significant increase but the uptake of VO2 Max increased slightly with the power band base-layer, which means an increase in anaerobic exercise performance. The EMG test revealed a significant decrease in the BF but no significant decrease in RF and SD muscle.
On the other hand, the power band base-layer caused an increase in exercise performance, even in low muscle activation after fitting, highlighting its positive effect on exercise performance. The lactic acid concentration decreased only slightly after fitting the power band base-layer, which also revealed a positive effect in reducing the fatigue during exercise.
Fitting the power band base-layer resulted in a slight increase in the performance of aerobic exercise after short term exercise. The increased aerobic exercise performance was considered to be attributed to the synergy effect of muscle compression by the TPU band and power stretch of the base-layer which seemed to activate blood circulation which helps delay of fatigue generation and to reduce micro vibration of muscle during exercise. The TPU band positioned on main muscles of body simultaneously works with muscle extension and contraction during exercise. In a muscle contraction, the power band also contracts and stores elastic energy but provides energy to sports person through extension of the band during muscle extension. The TPU band also considers supporting main muscles properly to generate better muscle power.
On the other hand, even the power band base-layer had a positive effect on the exercise performance, an absolute evaluation of the power band base-layer should be cautious because the exercise performance is determined by a range of factors, such as the individual health condition, exercise endurance, adaptability of exercise environment, etc.
In addition, the exercise performance can be varied by the psychological condition of the sport person. Therefore, the aforementioned factors need to be considered for a future evaluation of the exercise performance. On the other hand, similar studies are needed to develop new advanced functional sport clothing with new material and bio-mechanical factors.



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