While the claims of clothes that purport to offer workout gains could be overblown, Electrical Muscle Stimulation has been used by the pros and we’ve seen this kind of tech before. And Antelope makes some interesting points about the benefits of their gear.
The general idea here is to take EMS technology, vaguely reminiscent of those electrode belts advertised on late night TV, and expand it into a full outfit that doesn’t make you look like a champion boxer. At first glance, the shirts, shorts, and pants look like any base-layer compression wear, with a nice attractive logo and logical seam placement. It’s four-way stretch, washable fabric. But the Antelope gear isn’t just good-looking compression gear — at least, in theory.
It’s special because it has electrodes integrated into the fabric, positioned over all the major muscle groups. A water-resistant “booster” with stimulation frequencies between 1-5,000Hz, supported by four-hour battery life, communicates with your phone via Bluetooth. You can control the level of stimulation and adjust your training programs via the iOS or Android app.
The t-shirt covers the arms, back, belly, chest, glutes, and thighs. The tank obviously doesn’t work on arms; it’s designed to focus on your core. The Antelope Club (the team of pros working on the Antelope line) also asserts the tank can correct your posture and, in so doing, prevent injuries. The shorts are touted as a “dream” for women because they tighten up lower body problem areas.
There’s even a pair of calf wraps that are supposed to “improve sprint and jump skills, muscular endurance, and movement efficiency.” The Antelope Club further asserts that they’re good for muscle regeneration and for blood clot (thrombosis)-prevention. There are a lot of people with circulation problems who might benefit from electrode stimulation that fits smoothly under normal clothes. Ideally, long cramped flights, desk-bound periods, and long spans of injury-related inactivity will never be the same.
It’s a good thing that Antelope is likely to be helpful beyond promises of honing performance for athletes. Though the campaign says “ambitious athletes can use it as [the] ultimate performance enhancing tool,” it’s unclear how much research has been done to prove this. It would be nice to see research on the subject featured prominently. It would be horrible for backers with thrombosis to discover that the Antelope gear is contraindicated for their condition.
Even if this doesn’t let you “increase performance up to 30 percent, jumping ability up to 20 percent, muscle volume up to 10 percent,” in four weeks, passive muscle stimulation after a workout is always welcome. Just keep in mind what works for one person might not work for another.
$1,350 nets you an Antelope suit with a charger, an eight-channel booster, and a webinar training session. While it’s due out in February 2016, “actual ship dates may vary.” At least when it does ship, backers will have saved over the $1,600 retail price.