England Reportedly Training in Lizard Heat Pants for World Cup

England players arrive on the pitch during a training session on June 25, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

To help keep muscles warm and prevent injury, England’s national team reportedly has been training in battery-operated, far-infrared heat pants. These Lizard Heat compression pants are made from a bio-ceramic fabric and claim to prevent injury by keeping legs toasty during periods of rest or light work, such as meetings and warm ups. Maintaining a steady temperature is known to reduce the risk of a soft-tissue pull or tear.

The Daily Mail wrote about England’s use of Lizard Heat, noting that inventor Chris Ashdown visited the home of English soccer, St. George’s Park, to consult with team physician Dr. Robin Chakraverty for input on the design. Premier League clubs such as Swansea City and Everton are listed as clients on Lizard Heat’s website, and the newspaper added that defending EPL champion Manchester City had placed an order for next season.

The Three Lions have been training for the World Cup in Repino, a small, beachfront division of St. Petersburg. Repino used to be part of Finland and sits along the eastern edge of the Baltic Sea where its northern climate remains cool even in summer. Recent temperatures dipped as low as 53 degrees Fahrenheit (12°C). Monday’s high was 65°F (18°C).

Ashdown developed the product based on research at Loughborough University by sports engineering lecturer Steve Faulkner, who earned his Ph.D. in the field of thermoregulation and exercise performance. Pro rugby players and cyclists have also worn Lizard Heat. Far infrared (FIR) clothing has also been used by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, both in his Under Armour sleepwear line and recovery glove he wore after injured his hand during the playoffs.

Russia’s varied climate means the England team is facing a huge range of weather conditions. While its training location is cool, the temperature during it 2-1 opening win over Tunisia in Volgograd was about 91°F (33°C), and England’s 6-1 win over Panama in Nizhny Novgorod was only about one degree cooler.

SportTechie Takeaway

There is some research, including a 2015 study from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, published in the Journal of Athletic Enhancement, that using far infrared heat on muscles can help recovery. There is also a body of research into the impact of temperature on injury. A 2016 Bone & Joint Research article indicates that when muscle temperatures are below 90°F (32°C), “less energy is required to cause muscle tears.”

The Bone & Joint Research study seems to affirm England’s use of Lizard Heat, concluding that, “Muscle temperatures of 32°C are reported in ambient conditions, suggesting that it would be beneficial, particularly in colder environments, to ensure that peripheral muscle temperature is raised close to core levels prior to high-velocity exercise. Thus, this work stresses the importance of not only ensuring that the muscle groups are well stretched, but also that all muscle groups are warmed to core temperature in pre-exercise routines.”