A specially developed pair of 'hot pants' will be used by Great Britain’s track sprint cyclists in their pursuit of Olympic glory.
They're not the sort you're thinking. though. These are tracksuit bottoms designed by Adidas with input from British Cycling and Loughborough University which heat up the muscles prior to competition and gets them ready for racing.
Called ADIPOWER, they're said to perform a job similar to tyre warmers in Formula 1 racing, pre-heating the muscles in a bid to improve performance. The trousers have battery-powered heat filaments that sit over the cyclist’s core muscle groups and maintain their temperature between warm-up and the start. They have a quick release too, which allows them to be removed at the last moment before a race.
It's all part of British Cycling's 'marginal gains' philosophy. They even have a separate department called Marginal Gains with its director, Matt Parker, saying the pants were a key part of Team GB's preparation.
Jonathan Leeder, Physiologist at the English Institute of Sport and British Cycling said: “The aim of the muscle warming garment is to hold onto muscle temperature following the warm-up to ensure the cyclists get onto the start line with a higher muscle temperature than their competitors, which we know is important during elite track cycling.
“We have tested the suit extensively in training and the fact that all the sprint cyclists have altered their preparation to incorporate the garment shows that the garment has a positive effect on performance.”
Sir Chris Hoy added: “I have definitely been feeling the benefits of the ‘hot pants’. As soon as you take them off immediately before you do your standing start or flying effort, your legs feel like they are ready to go. You feel like you did at the end of a warm up but not out of breath or fatigued from it. It gets you in the optimum state for training and competition.”
You can view the hot pants in action here.