Mineral infused compression gear that channels infrared energy into you. Really?
Compression shorts and tights have been a staple attire for me the last 2-3 years. No, it wasn’t about the recovery or performance benefits but like many men, it was about keeping my junk in place when I trained or played in matches.
Editor’s note: Never thought I’ll be talking about my junk when I started this site 2 years ago but here we are.
I’ve only owned lower to middle range compression shorts from Under Armour and Nike and they’ve all been pretty similar – a muffin top-inducing waistband and a tight, stretchy material that covered my thighs. I’ve never felt faster or more powerful in them but they always made me feel locked in and ready for battle.
While we’re more known for doing football boot reviews here, it came as a pleasant surprise when the good people of Under Armour came by sharing their special set of compression wear. These aren’t your granddad’s compressions though. They’re from the Under Armour RUSH collection, built with mineral-infused fabric that generates and channels infrared energy to your muscles to give it energy. This is some Star Trek shit.
How do compression wear work?
Compression wear has really come to the fore in the last few years, promising to provide better performance for athletes. This video below shares the idea behind the phenomenon.
To summarise, such technology is meant to help reduce your body and muscles from vibrating during a workout, or as a layman would say, it looks to reduce your body “jiggling”. This is important because your body spends energy to rebalance and stabilise itself with every movement. Every jiggle means extra effort and energy to stabilise itself.
Compression wear is tight because it aims to keep your muscles in place and reduce the jiggle. The benefit of this is that your body ends up expending less effort to stabilise itself, saving your energy for your workout.
However, scientific research on compression wear’s effect on energy saving and performance have been inconclusive though that hasn’t stopped athletes (amateur and professional alike) from swearing by compression wear’s ability to provide them with marginal gains – physically and psychologically.
Infrared technology in the Under Armour RUSH collection
Under Armour provided me with 3 different items from the RUSH collection. A short sleeved compression top, a pair of leggings that stretched to my knee and another pair of leggings (Steph Curry branded no less) that stretched all the way to my ankles.
While they looked and felt like any other set of compression attire I’ve owned, I was shocked to find out their price tag. They retail for about S$80 per piece. That’s twice the amount I paid for each compression shorts I’ve owned.
The reason behind this pricing is the technology behind the material powered by Celliant. According to the Celliant site, their technology is a “proprietary blend of naturally minerals and elements that are embedded into fabric or applied as a coating to textiles. Celliant captures and converts your body’s heat into infrared energy, helping you perform stronger, recover faster and sleep better.”
Save for the cool hologram logo, the material didn’t feel any different to the touch. I had to feel this infrared energy for myself on the pitch.
Reduced aches during runs in the Under Armour Rush
It was much more comfortable wearing both the Under Armour RUSH leggings as compared to my mid-grade ones I previously owned. The waist band was stretchy which meant that the muffin top situation wasn’t as pronounced in them. But I was surprised how well the leggings stretched across my leg, thinning out to feel soft and breathable. The leggings weren’t as tight as my other leggings but they felt more comfortable while still keeping my thighs and calves secure.
The sign of a good set of any performance related gear is that you don’t notice them when you’re in the heat of the action. During my football training sessions which involved sprinting, striking, passing and various ball mastery exercises, both leggings melted away on my skin. They were extremely comfortable and I’m sure first time users can get used to them very easily. I was also pleasantly surprised that the long leggings did not keep me warm, even during balmy Singapore evenings.
Besides comfort, I didn’t feel much incremental gains in performance versus my regular set, until I used the longer leggings for my evening runs (5-10k). I run in Vibram Fivefingers barefoot running shoes which requires a strong core and strong muscles around the foot and calves. Due to the pandemic, I’ve spent a lot more time sitting down and my muscles in those said areas have weakened.
It’s been a challenge getting my runs done in the Vibrams with aches creeping in to my feet within the first kilometre so I’ve been limited to long walks to have my body acclimatise to the impact of barefoot running. One night, I attempted to run wearing the longer Steph Curry leggings and I ran ache-free for a good 5k. Perhaps my incremental workouts have led me to this point but I hadn’t expected to make that leap in fitness in such a short time. While this may not be scientifically proven, I can’t help but feel that the stability the leggings brought to my calves had a positive effect. Less jiggling, more stability, less aches.
Infrared in action?
I’ve never worn compression tops before so my first trial of the Under Armour RUSH top was pure comedy gold. I was in a battle with myself to put it on and it was almost impossible to remove without the help of a friend. Putting on and taking off the top was much easier after the top had gone a single round in the laundry but just to play it safe, have someone around to help you with the top the first time round.
At training, I decided to don the Under Armour RUSH short sleeve top without a tee/jersey over as it felt a little warm. Like the leggings, they were comfortable, breathable and you feel very much locked in though I can’t quantify any performance enhancements in them.
What I’ve noticed in all 3 pieces of gear is that they’re very quick to dry, especially the leggings. My jersey and shorts are usually drenched from 2 hours of football training but I’ve noticed that the leggings are always just a little bit drier. Could that be the infrared energy working its magic? Possibly.
Comfortable but unsure of its infrared technology
I’ve come to like the Under Armour RUSH compression wear. They’re more comfortable and slightly more breathable than the regular compression stuff I’ve owned. I like that they’re quick drying too. However, I can’t claim to have felt any improvements in performance from the Celliant mineral based infrared technology. I felt just as strong and my endurance was just as good in each session.
Whether the infrared technology is gimmick or not, the compression material does its fundamental job of keeping you locked in and feeling sharp and ready for action.
Understandably, the steep price point will deter many casual fitness buffs, especially with many cheaper options available (including Under Armour’s) offering decent compression gear without the bells and whistles.
The Under Armour RUSH collection is made for those who take their fitness more seriously and are looking to gain that extra few percent to achieve their lofty goals.If you can afford it, the RUSH collection will help you reach your goals, with a big dash of comfort.