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percko lyne fit sports top

£99 via
percko.com

When it comes to back pain aids, it's safe to say we're in a good place to place judgement. We are now in the strength and conditioning phase of our back pain and it has been a long journey. Some things have worked, some things have come and gone. Our Shakti mat has a forever place in our home whereas our TENS and Nurokor machines are now collecting dust until and hopefully it will never return, the day we become immobilised. But we are always on the look out for other aids to help us by and we were approached by Percko to try their Lyne Fit sports top to see if it would help with day to day exercises...

The Research

So according to Percko, the 3 main benefits of the Lyne Fit are:

- relieving back pain through realignment and strengthening 

- protects your back by limiting shocks

- improves physical performance via opening up your chest

Those are benefits I'd happily invest in so my hopes were raised high with that brief. It is also a registered medical device and has recommendations from physiotherapists and osteopaths. In our of their own studies, out of 112 users who wear the vest twice a week, 81% reported a reduction in back pain during exercise. I can only exercise off the bike for so long before my back starts to moan so it had me thinking this could be something which allows me to go a little further in my progression.

First Test

Don't expect a loose fit! It also defeats the purpose because the tightness from the top is what gives it's foundation to do it's job. Only a small thing but it has a sticky rubber seam at the bottom of the top and I lost a few hairs when pulling it on! To achieve the correct level of pull for your back, you have 2 clips attached to the side of the vest like wings. These clips are pulled to the front and then clipped in. Don't overtighten straight away, I'd recommend easing into to to get used to the feel of the top.

 

Straight away, you can feel the chassis behind your scapula pull and open up your chest. It's like someone has put a harness on you and is pulling you from behind.  Now, I do not have an athletic look so my daddy fat is now poking out. If you're a little body conscious, it's something you'll have to work around but already I feel a sense of deeper breathing and I haven't even left the house!

The Climb

I've been trying to tick off the Mournes, I am so dedicated that I've even brought a scratch map. I've currently managed to scratch off 6 out of 70+ peaks so I have a lot of work to do. And because of the nature of hiking/climbing, wearing the Lyne Fit in the Mournes would make a good test and there is no better summit than the highest peak of them all - Slieve Donard.

Accompanied by my friend Tom who was over for the weekend, we set off from the slopes in Newcastle, Co Down to hit the 850m peak. As the weather looked a bit moody, I had a couple of layers over my Lyne Fit but an added bonus of the top is that it's a very good heat insulator! We took our time as we were in no rush and that the fact we were not professional hikers either. The slopes were steep and never let up. I was careful with my footing which meant slow pacing and also gave me opportunities to focus on position and posture of my back. I felt with the chassis of the top pulling my shoulders back, my walking position was being realigned so I wasn't naturally slouching.

On previous climbs which were much smaller than Donard, I always felt a shudder when dropping from a step but did feel a small reduction in jolts in my back. My back was a little knackered though but this was probably because we both had been walking for 4 hours!

The Ride

As mentioned before, I have a bit of Daddy fat at the mo which means jerseys are a little more snug than usual. But the riding position on a bike is not great for the core. I've learnt this the hard way. I wore the Lyne Fit on a few local rides and I didn't get the impression it made any change in my core position even with the pulling feeling from the shoulders. But it did no harm either. In fact, it did open up my breathing and I felt I was breathing with more depth up climbs. More oxygen = more work. I will keep using the top going on my rides but as it's a good heat insulator, it won't be joining for any sunshine we get up here!

Verdict

Something we always address in our reviews is VFM (Value For Money). £99 isn't your usual price for a sports top. I was wearing it with an added layer for weather reasons mostly but you can wear it as a stand alone top of course. Compared to all the other aids I have used, it's above price on what I have myself paid out for. But I am feeling the benefits. I feel more realigned. It reminds me of a back support I tried a few years ago but it wasn't very good. This however seems a big step up. I like the tightening adjustment from the clips so you can ease into the fit or increase the load. There's no getting away from a bit of belly showing if you're not ripped, suppose that's the sacrifice you have to make. I have only had this top for a month or so but I am very curious where I will be with my back if I continue to wear it alongside my strength and conditioning exercises. Hopefully up another mountain in record time and not sprawled out on the floor like a dead slug!