Warming up your muscles before competition has long been a given in the sports world. Now, researchers say they have a way to bridge the gap between the warm-up and the competition, ensuring that the benefits of the warm-up aren’t lost: heated pants.
British cyclists wore the “hot pants” at the Olympics last summer — and won 12 medals. The pants look like regular warm-up sweats, but contain an electric filament that keeps them at a toasty 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Researchers at Loughborough University who developed the pants published a study showing that wearing heated pants prevents muscles from cooling off better than regular pants (muscle temperatures cooled 1.5 degrees in athletes wearing regular pants, vs. 0.5 degrees in the heated pants), which correlated with a 9 percent power boost in a 30-second cycling sprint.
In their newest research, they had cyclists wear the pants during the actual warmup, but the results showed it didn’t provide any additional benefit over slipping them on after the warmup.
So what will athletes be wearing in Rio?
“I suppose that would be the ultimate tech fashion combo: a distance runner before a race wearing an ice vest to keep core temperature down, plus electric pants to keep legs warm. Seems a little much, but I wouldn’t bet against seeing that in Rio…” writes Alex Hutchinson of Sweat Science at Runner’s World.
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