Aug 12, 2016Using Resistance Apparel to Make Workouts More Productive
It’s a common problem for high school and college student-athletes: How can you get the maximum benefit from workouts in a limited time? Keeth Smart, co-founder and COO at Physiclo, has devised a groundbreaking solution: place resistance bands inside compression clothing so athletes can burn more calories and increase their muscle activity with every movement.
Smart developed the idea three years ago, when he came across friends in New York University medical schools who were conducting a project that involved putting resistance bands in regular clothing to help individuals lose weight. Almost immediately, Smart realized the applications for athletes. “This was a chance for athletes to take their performance to the next level, simply by using a piece of equipment they were already used to, in a unique way,” he says.
Smart worked with designers and manufacturers in New York City to devise a way to make this dream a reality, and the results are Physiclo’s unique compression tights, shorts, and capris. Each pair comes with several rubber poly-mesh resistance bands and power-mesh resistance panels in between two layers of compression fabric each leg. The resistance bands and panels are located from the hips to just above the knees.
“The location of these are critical,” Smart says. “It allows the athlete to work their glutes, hamstrings, and quads; three muscle groups that are going to be used by nearly every athlete, regardless of their sport.”
The clothes, which are meant to be used as a training tool, are compression garments, but are breathable, making them suitable for outdoor work in 110-degree weather. And the multiple bands and panels only add about one pound of weight, far less than a typical ankle weight or weighted vest.
But the real key to the product’s success is the resistance technology, which Smart says simulates the effect of running up a hill or in water. “When you’re running, they’ll pull your leg back as you bring it forward, and push you forward as you finish your stride.”
This resistance makes typical workouts much more effective. In testing, which took place in NYU’s Rusk rehabilitation lab with Olympic athletes, those wearing the garments were measured to have 23 percent more muscle activity in their hamstrings and quads, and burn 14 percent more calories. Smart, a former Olympic fencer who won a silver medal in the 2008 Games, says the company’s goal is to be science-based, and that they hope to have the results of their studies published in peer-reviewed journals.
For now, the approval of athletes and athletic trainers will suffice. The company plans to release shorts and tights with varying resistance levels soon, and are developing garments for the upper-body as well. Physiclo’s current offerings have intrigued several colleges and professional teams about using them. “The most common thing I hear is, ‘Wow, this is a game-changer,’” says Smart. “These clothes are providing a huge benefit to athletes in a short time, and that’s something a lot of schools can identify with.”