By Jason Heaton
on 4.13.11

It’s common knowledge among athletes that muscle compression is good during hard efforts. It’s also well known that icing muscles immediately after a workout makes for faster recovery. The two concepts have always been mutually exclusive though. Compression wear is all the rage, those snug tops and tights favored by pro football players and, regrettably, pudgy weekend warriors alike. Ice baths are far less popular, mainly the practice of masochistic triathletes and people who get paid a lot of money to stay fit and recover fast. 110% Play Harder (yeah, that’s their name) has come up with a solution that combines compression with ice that is so simple yet innovative, it makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it.

110% Play Harder has added slim pockets to compression shorts, knickers and tights into which you can slide pre-chilled “ice sheets.” We tried out the Transformer shorts for some running and weight training to see if they are more gimmick than genius. The Transformers fit like a pair of bike shorts, minus the padding, and slip nicely under a pair of track pants. The mid-thigh length kept compression on the quads and hamstrings during the workout, and provided ample muscular support. While the difference wasn’t immediately apparent, the compression did seems to provide added support and the company says its gradient pressure construction is said to increase circulation. Sounds good to us. It might have been psychological but the shorts seemed to work well.

After the workout, you slide the pre-chilled ice sheets (they come packaged with the shorts) into the strategically-located sleeves and chill out (sorry, couldn’t resist) for about 20 minutes. The icing is less harsh than an ice pack or makeshift bag of frozen peas and stays in place better. Ice sheets can be trimmed to fit specific locations and last up to six months, after which you’ll need to reorder from 100% Play Harder. They can also be heated in a microwave and used as heat therapy. Recovery time was noticeable after icing, with legs feeling fresher than usual after a hard workout. The system really works! Whether or not you’ll play 110% harder is up to you though.

Buy Now: $110

FILED UNDER