We’re only 6 minutes in to our training session and already we want to stop. We can’t take it any more, but we plough on for another 3 minutes, before resting for a further three. And then the pain starts again.
Why? We’ve agreed to test Under Armour’s new 2015 compression gear to the limits of what we are capable of. That, it turns out, isn’t a quick 5km run as we were hoping, but a 18 minute training session with Richard Tidmarsh of Reach Fitness Gym in London and he is trying his hardest to break us.
The kit we’ve put on is the new Under Armour HeatGear Armour Compression Shirtsleeve T(£30) and matching HeatGear Armour Compression Leggings (£35). We are also wearing a pair of the company’s running shoes for good measure.
The new compression gear for 2015, is all about keeping you compressed and doing everything it can to reduce the amount of movement you feel regardless of the movements you are making.
To do that the company has created a new material that is able to stretch four ways rather than the usual two, wick sweat away quickly, and ensure it doesn’t smell once you get sweaty.
We can happily say the company has achieved that. We did squad thrust after burpee after pull up and have since done multiple training sessions in the gear and it doesn’t move. There is no riding up, no rucking, no movement full stop.
American company Under Armour has been doing compression gear for some time now, but following a number of new competitors in the space, has doubled down on its range for 2015.
If the name sounds familiar it’s because the company has slowly been upping its game in the sponsorship stakes and in the tech sphere.
Under Armour is the kit sponsor of the Welsh rugby team and Tottenham Hotspur. It also sponsors Welsh Rugby national Leigh Halfpenny and British Tennis player Andy Murray.
In the tech space, the company bought Endomondo and MyFitnessPal in February, launched a dedicated fitness band with HTC, the HTC Grip, and has grown it’s digital customer base to over 120 million users.
What’s the point of compression gear? The idea is that by wearing a figure hugging top and leggings you not only reduce the room for injury, but offer core support around your muscles, for your top that’s your stomach, sides and lower back and for your legs your calf and quads, which can of course become fatigued over a training session or run.
Compression tops can also help train your breathing, forcing you to work against the constriction, while compression leggings reduce muscle oscillation and help keep your body temperature consistent. They are also said to aid recovery times too.
Back at our training session and Tidmarsh has given us a three minute breather before asking us, and the other journalists at the launch event, to see if we can do it again, but this time beat our PB from the previous three 3 minute reps.
There is a noticeable groan from the room, but we are ready to "Earn our Armour" as the fitness brand likes to say.
It’s here that we are really starting to see the benefits of the HeatGear clothing come into affect. The gear is doing what it’s been asked to do. Keep us cool. That’s because it is made from a light, stretchy, quick-drying fabric that features fully open holes knit right into the fabric and is incredibly breathable. We are sweating of course, but no way near as much as if we were in cotton or something equally antiquated.
Combine that with zero inward-facing seams and we’ve pretty much forgotten we are wearing it.
"The last thing you want to feel is a bit of stitching putting you off your game," a spokesman for the company tells us and he is right. The only thing annoying us is our pants underneath the leggings - they aren’t made by Under Armour.
Our 18-minute long workout is thankfully over. We’re beat, ready to throw up, but the clothing has worked.
Over the course of the next month we’ve continued to wear both the top and the leggings on a series of other training sessions from a 5km run to an mega 7 hour 38km walk. In all occasions the compression top and leggings have been incredible providing consistent comfort and performance.
If you are looking to enhance your training or your running, taking a closer look at compression gear is certainly beneficial, if for the comfort alone.
You might not want to opt for the bright luminous yellow set though, we’ve certainly pulled plenty of looks.