PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – You’ve seen those stretchy, resistance bands used for working out and strengthening muscles.
Now, there’s clothing with those resistance bands sewn in to amp up your workout and tone your body.
The Zumba craze has taken over Curves on Banksville Road in Pittsburgh where women mix the Latin aerobic dancing with strength machines.
Instructor Nikki Hurtack, Curves member Samantha Savoy, owner Denise Carothers and KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen all tried different brands of the new toning workout clothes.
They’re designed to target certain muscles in your back, abs, legs and behind.
“When I’m lifting my legs or stepping forward or backward, I can feel the resistance within my pants targeting those areas,” Hurtack said.
Hurtack likes the Reebok Easy-Tone pants and shirt she tried out.
Sorensen tried out Fila, whose body toning system is designed to increase muscle exercise by as much as 50 percent.
Fila claims the special fabric compresses muscles, providing 41 percent more support than traditional athletic leggings.
That squeezing effect also makes you look smaller.
“Probably down one or two sizes definitely. The way it’s formatted to your body, there’s no way to allow room for jiggling,” Hurtack said.
“It holds you in and if you’re a fluffy girl like me, and you go to work out, you want to hide some of that fluff,” Savoy said.
The clothes are also supposed to improve posture.
“You feel like you want to stand up straighter, you feel more confident because you look better,” Savoy said.
“It helps my posture with being tight here, helps my back stay straighter which in turn helps my body stay in alignment,” Hurtack said.
But can the clothing really help tone your muscles?
One exercise physiologist said there’s no proof that compression clothing make muscles work harder.
They’re still new, so there are no independent studies on their effectiveness.
Hurtack, Savoy and Carothers all like them and plan to continue wearing them, even outside of the gym.
“I definitely think it would be great to wear pants cleaning around the home because it does support you and have back support and support to thighs and core of body,” Carothers said.
The toning clothes aren’t cheap, though.
Hurtack’s Reebok outfit is $135 dollars, and Sorensen’s Fila outfit was $95.
Savoy’s Rock Fit Shape-Tek outfit, sold only at Dick’s Sporting Goods, is $80.
“My health, you can’t put a price on that and I’ll pay $80 to see if it works,” Savoy said.
“If it makes you mentally want to feel good about yourself and you need that, it’s worth the money. But, do you need to have $80 pants on to lose weight? Absolutely not. You just need to come into a gym and give it time and work out,” Carothers said.
The apparel designer of Fila admits part of it is psychological.
She also said athletes have been using this compression technology for years. Marathon runners claim it helps them fight fatigue, and several professional basketball players often wear them under their uniforms.