As an amateur rugby player, as much as I love the game it can sometimes be incredibly hard to motivate myself to invest in any new gear. Currently I’m still playing most weeks in the same pair of torn Nike under-shorts that I have had for far longer than I care to remember. To be completely honest the only new investment I have made in playing gear has been a new pair of boots having been stupid enough to have left mine behind in some relic of a clubhouse somewhere South of The-Middel-Of-Nowhere.
To be fair though it seems I am not the only one who feels like this with many of the guys I play with wearing similarly jaded kit. It seems for a sport that is primarily watched and played by the middle-classes that we are not too keen to part with our cash for new kit. Now in fairness this is completely understandable given the outrageous cost of most major kit suppliers given their relative quality.
Personally I have no issue paying for something that I know is decent quality and likely to last (that’s the Scot in me). My issue however is that although rugby is the kind of sport that will put clothing under some serious strain throughout games, most kit makers fail to compensate accordingly (remember the numbers falling off England’s kit in the 2011 World Cup?).
I therefore jumped at the opportunity to test out some of the gear from emerging sportswear brand Muscle-In. For those of you who haven’t heard of Muscle-In, they are an emerging performance sports and leisurewear brand based in the North West helping some of the countries elite athletes compete at the very top level.
So the Muscle-In team sent over a couple of their compression tops, some fleece pants and one of their rugby shirts for me to put to the test. As a 105 kg forward who spends more time in the front row than I would care to, it seemed the perfect opportunity to really put the kit to the test on the rugby field.
In terms of actual performance I was most interested in seeing how the compression wear top would work out on the rugby field. The Goshawk compression top proved to be a nice snug fit as you would want but with plenty of give thanks to its 12% elastane content. This meant that it was incredibly comfortable to wear for the duration of a game, even when having to scrummage or lift in the line-out.
The other benefit (particularly as we hurtle into winter) is that the top genuinely keeps you warm. This is a point that my girlfriend in particular will attest to having stolen the top for a recent fireworks display on something of a frosty evening in North Manchester. She found the top so comfortable that she barely remembered having it on but remained warm enough all evening. My only issue now is that I no longer seem to be able to find the thing!
The other compression wear top I received was the Shrike Zipped top. Now this isn’t the type of compression wear you’re likely to be wearing during a game but is absolutely ideal for training and warm-ups. The Shrike top is great for getting your body temperature up and ready for explosive activity during games. Again the top is incredibly comfortable to wear and does not hinder any movement despite its close fit.
For me personally, the great thing about the Shrike top is that it is the kind of thing you would happily wear out to the shops as much as you would wear it to training. The simple design means it is the ideal top to wear over a pair of jeans, particularly in or around the club house. (I will definitely be making sure I keep this one for myself though.)
With In The Loose being a rugby site it was also inevitable that I was given the opportunity to try out one of the Rook Ruggers in black. The rugger is produced in a tailored fit which makes it ideal for anyone with a rugby-esque physique (although props may want to beware). The rugger is a really comfortable fit that has a simple design making it easy to wear as a smart-casual dress item. The Rook Rugger is rapidly becoming a firm favourite for round the house and down at the club as it is much comfier that some of the other supposed ‘designer ones’ I have worn recently.
Finally I have also been testing out a pair of the Falcon Fleece Pants which might just be my favourite item of clothing ever. Pretty much the first thing I do every evening after getting home from work is to throw on these fleece pants so I can lounge in comfort. Even better is that they don’t look cheap and tacky like a lot of other sports brands pants meaning I’m happy strolling down to the shop in them. My only slight criticism is that it would be nice if the drawstring around the waist was slightly longer although this may just be a case of personal preference.
To be completely honest with you, having now had the chance to try out a range of the Muscle-In gear I am well and truly sold. Not only is the performance gear light-years ahead of well-known high street brands but the products look and feel great. I’m as happy wearing the clothing in and around the house as I am to the gym or down to the club house on a Saturday afternoon.
The biggest criticism I can now level at the Muscle-In team is that they’re got me well and truly sold. Having tried just a few of their items I have been left wanting to get my hands on the rest of the range. Even better is that they have confirmed there will be compression shorts and hoodies for sale very soon so keep your eyes peeled.
If you would like to find out more about the brand or check out their range then visit the Muscle-In site where you can receive an exclusive 20% discount using the code INTL1!