Hands-on: RXActive gear uses built-in resistance bands to enhance your workout

Sometimes innovation is as obvious as combining two things that are better used together. NYU medical student Frank Yao, along with Olympic fencer Keeth Smart and physiatrist JR Rizzo developed the RXActive (RXA) resistance clothing line as the answer to compression wear and traditional resistance bands. The company just kicked off an Indiegogo campaign through which you can grab the first of the next generation of resistance wear for $70 and up. The campaign is seeking $30,000.

These days we all multitask, and with RXActive’s flagship shorts on, you can get a little more out of your daily errands — even going grocery shopping can be like an easy day at the gym. Interior panels made up of black resistance banding with specially designed resistance mesh mean these pants make you work harder, which in turns gives the wearer more results out of the same old workout.

Chief Operating Officer Smart said he felt like he’d stalled out using weights and unrestrained cardio. “There was a point in my Olympic training where I was hitting a plateau. My trainer incorporated resistance bands into my routine and I was finally able to maximize my workouts and potential.”

The unique resistance tech included in these pants can increase your calorie burn up to 14 percent over old-school compression wear, and increase muscle activation by 23 percent. We didn’t quantify percentages in our time trying out the shorts, but we did put them through their paces at the gym, on the trail, and on the bike.

At first glance, the RXActive shorts impressed with flat seaming and tight weave on the external fabric. Typically, that would be the entirety of the garment, but when you turn it inside out, the internal resistance wrap becomes abundantly clear — the mesh is white. That was the only real aesthetic mistake; function is the focus, but form is a happy side effect that does not go unnoticed. If you’re paying more than $100 for workout clothes you should like them inside and out – they should look just as good crumpled on the bedroom floor as they do on your body.

Also, the nature of the banding and resistance mesh means these may require a bit more squeezing than usual when you’re pulling them on. Though we always count ourselves lucky to try new products, in this case fit was an issue. We’d like to blame that on limited early availability, but that doesn’t explain the sizing. The women’s size medium seemed built to accommodate someone with a muffin top — the elastic waistband was loose, as well as the calf band on the capris.

We ended up going with a men’s medium in the shorts instead of the capris, which fit well, but begged the question how they would fit a man, considering the differences in anatomy. The final verdict after having a man put them on was they fit well through the thigh but were tight in the crotch. This is a case where the size of the boat matters as much as the motion of the ocean. It’s easiest to compare RXA’s fit to Old Navy’s, where the sizes are larger than the average, thought that may not be an entirely accurate assessment. The women’s medium fit well, but for the waistband; and the men’s medium fit well, but for the crotch.

RXA shorts were designed with running first and foremost in mind. Because of this, they remained comfortable during daily wear, as well as during the seven miles spent jogging through the park wearing them. This was a regular run, and afterward I felt more muscle fatigue than normal.

The next day, we rode the shorts 20 miles on a bike. If you’re a cyclist and you intend to wear these for regular rides or long tours, it’s DT’s suggestion that you wear a padded shorts liner underneath. In our experience, they rubbed under the glutes uncomfortably during extended bike time. The burn, however, was definitely evident. The usual 20 miles felt like 35, especially after running the day before.

By then it was obvious that wearing these on a regular basis will increase effectiveness of workouts and, as with any fitness regimen, the effects will be more evident over time.

Overall, RXActive shorts are supportive and compressive while still kind to the thighs. We also warn that they’re sized for Americans — choose your size carefully, because loose compression wear is not a good look. Once you do find your perfect fit, they can make a positive difference to your training regimen. Keep in mind,

The earlier reference to common compression wear as “old-school” implies that other clothing lines might try to copy this tech. Perhaps it can be imitated, but not duplicated. RXActive intends to expand to shirts and socks, longer pants, and eventually toward the incorporation of electromagnets, so keep watching their website for developments after the Indiegogo campaign. We look forward to a full outfit of RXActive resistance wear.

Product Review

Fitbit’s trimmed-down Versa Lite still has all the smartwatch features you need

Fitbit trimmed some of the features it bundles in its popular Versa smartwatch to keep the price low on it newest smartwatch, the Versa Lite. Does this strategy work? Read our review to find out.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Smart Home

Get sweaty with the best smart home fitness gadgets on the market

Are you looking for smart fitness devices that will really help your workouts, no matter where you like to exercise? These smart home gadgets are designed to help you analyze your workouts and keep track of how you are doing.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Outdoors

This ebike is so good it won a prestigious design award

The Gazelle Arroyo C8 Elite ebike picked up a prestigious IF Design Award, scoring high marks for its comfort and balance, while also looking good and offering excellent range at an affordable pice.
Wearables

Fitbit Versa Lite versus Fitbit Versa: How are they different?

Fitbit took the best of its popular Versa smartwatch and removed some elements to create the new Versa Lite, an even more affordable entry-level smartwatch. How does the Versa Lite differ from the original Versa? Read on to find out.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Health & Fitness

AncestryDNA price drop makes it more affordable to discover your family origins

In step with St. Patrick's Day's emphasis on roots, AncestryDNA cut its price for a DNA-based ancestry search by $40. Send in a saliva sample to receive an estimated ethnicity breakdown, locations of origin, and possible living relatives.
Deals

Bowflex’s spring sale has limited-time deals on treadmills, home gyms, and more

Gyms membership are expensive which is home gyms are a great alternative. When it comes to home gyms, Bowflex designs great fitness training equipment for your home so you can get the full gym experience. Right now Bowflex is offering huge…
Deals

This Bowflex promo code will save you up to $1,000 on training equipment

The Bowflex HVT machine is designed to fit anyone's needs. Whether you're getting back into shape or you train every day, Bowflex's HVT, which stands for hybrid velocity training, combines both cardio and working out in one machine. Now you…
Gaming

Sony could use a robot to turn your PlayStation into a fitness machine

Sony submitted a patent application for a robotic device equipped with a camera to assist in your workout. The images included suggest that the device will work with your PlayStation console.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Outdoors

Yamaha’s Wabash ebike takes on gravel, single track, and more

The Wabash gravel ebike from Yamaha gives riders a versatile and powerful option for riding trails, pavement, mud, sand, dirt, and more, with plenty of range and power for all-day adventures.
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.