Leicester

Loughborough University develops 'hot pants' for Team GB cyclists

Sir Chris Hoy wearing battery-powered trousers
Image caption Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy has won five Olympic gold medals in his career

Loughborough University has helped to develop battery-powered "hot pants" for Team GB cyclists to help keep their muscles warm between events.

The clothing, worn by British cyclists including Sir Chris Hoy, have heated strips in the fabric which keep legs warm.

The university's research team said the Adipower muscle-warming pants would offer a "real benefit to performance".

British Cycling and Adidas have also helped to develop the heated trousers.

'Sprinting power'

After the track sprint cyclists finish their warm up, they put the trousers on over their racing clothes before they start racing.

PhD student Steve Faulkner, a member of the university's research team, said: "By keeping the cyclists' muscles warmer we found a substantial increase in sprinting power that would be of practical benefit to the Team GB cyclists."

The clothing is thought to perform a job similar to tyre warmers in Formula 1 racing, designed to improve performance.

University professor George Havenith said: "We did several studies measuring the muscle temperature decline that occurs after the cyclists end their warm-up.

"We were able to show that with added heating in the insulated trousers it was possible to slow down the decline in muscle temperature while the athlete waits for the event to start."

Prof Havenith, who spent three years with other experts developing the technology, added that he hoped the trousers would help contribute to the success of Team GB.

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