Remember how your mom always told you to sit up straight? You should've listened. Bad posture, according to many experts, can have a major impact on your health – especially if you're a pro athlete.
It's for the millions of us who refused to heed wise maternal advice that sports physician Dr. Tim Brown (a.k.a., "The Beach Doc"), developed a posture-enhancing technology called Specific Proprioceptive Response Taping (a.k.a., "SPRT"). The basic concept – now taught to thousands of doctors and therapists – came from years of applying tape to the bodies of pro athletes and noticing astonishing results when he aligned soft tissue injuries in a specific direction and force.
But the tape would last no more than a few days – and Dr. Brown was flooded with requests for his services. So late one night, the Beach Doc, who lives in Newport Beach, California, decided he would have to invent a more durable solution. He cut up some of his wetsuits and used his medical kit to stitch together various pieces into a posture-enhancing shirt. The IntelliSkin was born.
The science behind the IntelliSkin lies in its five-part construction. Two panels stretch and relax overused chest muscles, while two others stimulate the muscles of the upper back to roll the shoulders down. A central, vertical panel stimulates the muscles that keep the spine lengthened and aligned directly underneath your head. Donning the IntelliSkin, you immediately notice a change in posture: You'll want to arch your back and stand up straight – slouching actually becomes uncomfortable.
Since 1998, Dr. Brown has been selling and refining the IntelliSkin shirt. Valuable feedback has come from a roster of clients that would be the envy of a sports agent: pro surfers Kelly Slater and Taylor Knox, Olympic Silver medal winning athletes Peter Varellas and Merrill Moses, five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher. All credit the IntelliSkin as an important component in their award-winning performances.
Professional surfer (and IntelliSkin brand ambassador) Taylor Knox has worked with Brown for more than 20 years. The 41-year-old has been surfing since he was eight and feels the effects of repetitive motions like paddling – over three decades of competition. He calls IntelliSkin the "secret weapon" that keeps him on the pro circuit. "Before Tim created IntelliSkin," Knox said, "I never knew that shirts could actually improve posture. It makes so much sense for me, because my shoulders get rounded in and strained from paddling out. IntelliSkin does a great job of keeping pressure off my spine and preventing injury."
And Knox claims that the effects are more than just preventive. "If I'm traveling for 15 hours to an event, wearing the shirt allows me to get off the plane feeling fresh and ready to surf. I speak from a surfing background, but I can see how the shirt would be helpful for a football or baseball player, along with people at the gym and in front of the computer. On the treadmill, IntelliSkin does a great job of keeping me upright and becomes that posture reminder through time."
We'll take his word – and the enthusiastic endorsements of athletes from almost every high-impact sport, from pro football to pro volleyball. Now if they could only come up with pants that can burn calories while sitting down. [$105; intelliskin.net]