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If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated that you can’t make a workout just a bit harder in every movement and thereby have a shorter, more effective session, then you’ll likely be pretty excited to learn there are leggings with built-in resistance bands designed to optimise your physical exertion.
Physiclo started back in 2013 when one of the founders, Frank Yao, was a medical student at NYU. While working at the rehabilitation center there, Yao and his fellow med students and physicians wanted to make it easier for their patients to increase their physical activity and improve their fitness, especially for those who weren’t regular exercisers and would benefit from a way to maximise the little time they did get to workout.
“Resistance clothing” not only solved that problem but also helped them turn everyday activities into opportunities to tone muscle and burn calories — keeping them fit.
Yao co-founded Physiclo with ex-professional Olympic fencer Keeth Smart. Before joining the company, Smart had competed in three Olympics and won a silver medal in 2008. The two decided limiting resistance clothing to hospital patients was undercutting its potential. Who doesn’t want to make their regular workout routine more productive and get better results in less time?
From professional athletes to the occasional gym-goer, everyone could benefit from resistance clothing.
In order to make the product as seamless as the technology, the pair aimed to design leggings that looked like the everyday compression pair. Plus, rather than being add-ons like weighted vests or ankle weights, a pair of good-looking leggings is much, much more likely to make the cut in your everyday life. Yao sent over a pair of their resistance leggings for me to try, and I see them fitting in nicely with the rest of my “athleisure” clothes. The natural integration doesn’t stress any particular joints, either, which is not a small concern.
It is true that they are hard to get on (as they should be) — there will be a lot of squirming and bargaining, but once they’re on they stay put; I didn’t experience the waistband slipping or feeling oversized.
If you plan to take them off to go to the bathroom, though, also plan on a few minutes of awkward readjustment trying to get the bands to lay flat against your skin. The bands are tight — depending on how you’re sitting in them you might feel your legs starting to get a little numb from the circulation being cut off — while working out this was a boon.
Granted by virtue of this being a personal review, I can only say what worked for me. I read some reviews that said the pants fit awkwardly where the bands were placed and that the material was itchy. Thankfully, I found neither to be true. Likewise, I read conflicting reviews on sizing — I went with my usual size and found that it fit very well.
I usually wear leggings to workout, but I think next time around I’d be more likely to buy the cropped pair. I overheat easily while running, and I found that my Physiclo leggings were preferable for lifting, biking, and using machines like the StairMaster rather than the five mile runs I like to take. I think it might be too much to ask of leggings with built-in resistance bands that maximise my workout to also be the lightest, most breathable pair I own. I have pairs that are less breathable but don’t have the resistance bands built in to compensate.
The cropped pair would probably be a better fit for the summer, and since Physiclo claims testing has shown their resistance technology to increase muscle engagement by 23% and help marathon runners improve their finish times over a 10-week testing period by almost 8 minutes, I’m willing to give up some breathability.
So while I’ll be getting used to using the leggings more and more in my cardio workouts, I am very happy using them at home without weights and in the gym. Even putting them on and going out to climb some sets of stairs is a good example of why you might want to invest in a pair from Physiclo — they either a) maximise your workout so you get more results in less time, or b) bring the gym to you and whatever you’re doing.
My workouts at home were tougher, and I felt better about not going to the gym for the weights because I could feel more of an impact doing it in my living room. One big deterrent to working out at home has always been the need to workout longer to make up for not having the appropriate equipment. Now, I feel more confident in my home exercises and don’t anticipate them being nearly as long.
In an independent study by the Human Performance Lab at Cal Poly earlier in the year, researchers found that people wearing Physiclo in a variety of exercises had a 15% increase in oxygen consumption, 15% increase in energy expenditure/calorie burn, 18% increase in average heart rate, and 22% increase in ventilation/breathing rate.
Your body largely does its own workouts, so anything manmade and additional is obviously not necessary to become fit. You can use your own body weight, or leverage that body weight. But if you’re looking for a way to make your workouts harder or to get the most out of everyday movements by increased resistance (like that one neighbour who is permanently wearing ankle weights) these are a sleek, great way to do that. I’m certainly glad I now have a pair.
Pro Resistance Tights for Women, $A160 on Physiclo
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