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Under Armour Performance Mouthwear: Part 1

Under Armour Performance Mouthwear: Part 1

[ Tue, 2010-06-22 13:57 ]
Under Armour Performance Mouthpiece
The claim: A small, custom-molded plastic mouthguard can make you a stronger, more powerful skier. SKI Magazine's fitness editor puts the device to the test.

After years as a fitness and gear editor, my gimmick meter is finely tuned. I've read and listened to countless product pitches that make wild and improbable claims, and I've become pretty good at sussing out the legit from the ludicrous.

I first heard about “performance” mouthguards while watching a pro football game last season, and, I’ll admit, I chuckled. According to Al Michaels, players throughout the league had started wearing the custom-made mouthpieces, designed not only to protect their teeth during collisions but to realign their jaws and, subsequently, their entire kinetic chain. Trainers and athletes, Michaels noted, were realizing noticeable gains: The players were jumping higher, running faster and performing longer while wearing the guards. They even claimed increased flexibility and quicker reaction times. I was skeptical but curious—if the NFL’s BS meter wasn’t redlining, maybe the concept held water, though there was certainly more to it.

Upon further research, I learned that Under Armour is one of a few brands behind the “performance” mouthwear movement, and athletes at every level in all sports— including Olympic skiers—are using the devices. I’ve always appreciated the level of R&D UA puts into its products—from compression base layers to running shoes. So, I emailed my contact to request more info. She went one step further and arranged for me to have my own ArmourBite performance guard made.

Can this little piece of malleable plastic make me a better athlete and stronger skier? I’ll put it to the test. In the coming months, I’ll check in with periodic progress reports about the mouthguard and its results in the gym, on my road bike and on the slopes.

Click here to read part 2