Whatever your involvement in rugby, whether you’re playing, coaching or indeed just spectating, we still need to keep in shape – and it’s a helluva lot more enjoyable to hit the gym, the road or the training pitch when you’re wearing gear that not only keeps you cool and comfortable, but also looks sharp to boot. Canterbury thinks its new Vapodri range fits the bill on both counts, but there’s only one way to find out – to test it to the limit.
Last week, Canterbury invited 50 competition winners to take part in The Ultimate Training Experience, where they would spend the day being pushed to their limits by CCC ambassadors Kevin Sinfield, Rob Vickerman, David Wallace and Adam Jones, in a series of drills that would enhance their speed, power, strength and endurance.
Rugby Shirt Watch was kindly invited to join the fun (or pure misery, depending on your point of view) and we knew we couldn’t just send anyone. We needed an athlete, we needed a physical specimen, we needed a hero… we needed Adam Rees.
So, Adam joined the rest of the Ultimate Training Experience participants at a specially kitted out space in trendy Shoreditch ready to test the Vapodri gear to its limits… and probably himself, too – let’s hand it over to the man himself…
“I arrive at the Ultimate Training Experience just as Adam Jones, Sir Kevin Sinfield and David Wallace are getting snapped demonstrating their stations. Unsurprisingly, the pros are making the classic CCC logo tees look pretty sharp, but they’re making the various lifts, pulls and jumps are looking pretty effortless, too – not sure the rest of us will find it so easy…
“Today is going to be a real test of my ability, but the real question is whether the new Vapodri gear will be able to cope with the fact your reviewer is bald – it’s a scientifically proven fact that we sweat more – and that I’ve left my training towel at home. What’s more, it’s raining outside, and as the room starts to fill with participants, it’s immediately clear that is going to be one humid workout. The perfect test drive then for the Vapodri gear.
“I open my designated locker and find the all-important gear tucked away in a gym bag within. From the first glimpse, we’re impressed with the all-blue ensemble Canterbury has picked out for us – the navy shorts with green lining ooze quality, while the geometric fade shirt is as cool as you like: modern, but classy. Most important of all is the sticker labelled ‘quick drying’, which given what I saw Sir Kev and co demonstrating for the cameras a few minutes ago, is going to be rather essential…
“After chats from Will Greenwood and sports coach supreme Steve Black, we’re split into four colour-coordinated teams for the workout proper. As much as I liked my all-blue number, and the slimming qualities a darker outfit doubtless offers, a nod to the lucky group who got kitted out in the blood orange and brown ensemble – choice.
“Our first challenge couldn’t be a tougher test for both our own fitness and the Vapodri gear. David Wallace’s Power station involves lifting, tossing, dragging, throwing and slamming ViPR weights across the room, working every conceivable muscle. Within minutes I’m drenched… time for a break? Nope, it’s on to Adam Jones’s Strength section: deadlifts.
“Now, a confession – generally when lifting weights, I prefer to wear loose-fitting clothing to get a full range of motion. Given that my palms are now sweaty, and of course, no damn gym towel to dry them off, I’m not exactly brimming with confidence at showing my best in front of the Wales and Lions legend.
“But, to my pleasant surprise, this is where the Vapodri gear really impressed. It not only felt comfortable, light and unrestrictive despite the fitted design, but it wicked away the moisture in minutes. By the time I’ve nailed a personal-best 130kg deadlift, you’d never tell that I’d been subjected to a torrid 30-minute workout before I’d even put my hands on a barbell.
“Look, I’m not going to exclusively credit the Vapodri gear as being responsible for me pulling out a lift that has seriously impressed RFU Strength Coach Neil Taylor (ahem), but the importance of elite training kit can’t be overstated when you’re doing heavy, technical lifts mixed with brutal cardio action.
“After a quick water break and a protein bar, it’s time for the final one-two knockout blow of Sir Kev’s Endurance circuits and England Sevens flier Rob Vickerman’s Speed station. It’s an hour of remorseless exercise that soaks up every last bit of strength I have, and covers the floor in sweat, spit and, looking around, possibly a few tears, too…
“Again, the Vapodri gear holds its own on the Endurance platform, as I cycle, pull and do body weight exercises – maintaining a comfortable fit through the full range of motions.
“However, such is the intensity of those final Speed drills – what did you expect from Messrs Sinfield and Vickerman, really? – the shirt and shorts are pretty much stuck to me by the end of the final half hour session. Has the Vapodri gear met its match?
“Well, no. Somewhat miraculously, after the cool down and a quick refuelling stop, it’s clear that the shirts have done an incredible job of drying out – our faces are red, our brows are damp, and everything hurts from toes to temple, but everyone is still looking remarkably sharp.
“The Ultimate Training Experience was, as the name suggests, a hugely demanding physical experience – but the Canterbury Vapodri gear was more than up to the challenge. It kept me comfortable for an astoundingly long time, and I still felt fresh and dry at the end of the day. I truly cannot recommend it enough!”
So there you have it – Adam not only survived the Ultimate Training Experience, but he came away hugely impressed with the Canterbury Vapodri gear. Having had the chance to test it out in a slightly less insanely demanding environment, we came away with an equally positive review of the quality, look and fit of the range.
Swanky training clothes won’t make you a better athlete – it won’t make you faster, or stronger, or more handsome (well maybe a little bit more handsome). But if you’ve compared the two, you’ll know that training and working out in proper gear is a significantly more comfortable and enjoyable experience than not.
So if you’re looking for top-notch professional calibre training apparel, you’d be smart to check out the Canterbury Vapodri range – it’s as good if not better than anything we’ve used in the past, and it looks damn fine, too. What’s not to like?
Check out the full Canterbury Vapodri Training range at Canterbury.com