We all know how frustrating it can be to spend your hard-earned cash on new sports gear, only to be let down by the quality or performance provided. Brands make big claims around their products, but they often don’t live up to expectations. Aside from the logo, it can be hard to distinguish one brand from another.
At O+A we believe that the clothing people wear for sport and training should do more than simply cover the skin. It should provide some functionality, working with your body to actively enhance aspects of performance or recovery.
O+A exists to innovate towards your ultimate athletic performance. We pair kinesiology insight and innovative technology to engineer apparel that serves as a support system for conscious athletic performance.
What makes Reflex unique?
Reflex is not just another range of compression baselayers.
All Reflex garments are anatomically engineered with our patented Neuromuscular Performance System (NPS). Combining performance grade muscle-mapped compression with an integrated flexible skeleton, sensory nodes and grippy silicone cuffs to create garments that truly work with your body during exercise. Helping you connect with every movement, support key muscles and joints and train with optimal efficiency.
We’ve been through years of research and development to perfect our concept, patent our technology, develop and produce sportswear designed to perform for you.
A unique combination of biomechanics, kinesiology, anatomy, and fabric technology knowledge has gone into the design of our performance system, to the point where we’re pretty confident you will truly feel a difference when you wear O+A.
How our patented Neuromuscular performance system works
The O+A Neuromuscular Performance System is exactly that: a system. Rather than a series of individual features working separately in an attempt to benefit human movement, each aspect of our technology works together. Every element is enhanced and optimised by the others. Ultimately combining to serve as a support system for conscious athletic performance.
Only by diving into some of the science behind human movement can we fully conceptualise and understand the full system, and the benefits it could provide for you.
UNDERSTANDING HOW HUMANS CONTROL MOVEMENT
Human movement is initiated from the motor cortex of the brain, which generates movement-specific signals, and transmits them through the spinal cord and motor neurons to the muscles. These muscles then contract, and the body moves. Every movement the body makes requires communication between the brain and the muscles. This is generally initiated by visual input and internal action representations, or models of how a particular movement should happen. In motor control, this is known as feedforward control.
But feedforward control isn’t the only mechanism in play. The body also relies heavily on feedback control, allowing the motor system to react to sensory input and effectively adapt movement according to changes in the environment or deviations from the planned motion.
During movement, receptors located in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and skin send signals back to the nervous system, providing real time information about the body’s position, movement, and forces being applied. This sixth sense through which we perceive our body’s position and movement in space is known as proprioception, and efficient proprioceptive feedback is critical to generating precise and powerful movement.
This feedforward and feedback loop is happening constantly, relying on the brain and nervous system to process vast quantities of information and guide movement. Once the neural pathways are well developed, and assuming the brain has a strong internal representation of the body, this happens so quickly it becomes subconscious or reflexive.
In a sporting environment, advanced proprioceptive skill makes an athlete seem stable even in unstable environments, adaptable, and in control of movement. They are able to react to changes in their surroundings faster, moving with freedom and effortless flow, making challenging motions safely and with ease.
REFLEX GARMENT FUNCTIONALITY
All Reflex garments are designed with performance grade muscle-mapped compression, providing a locked in compressive fit against the skin. During movement the garment stretches with your body, being held in place at each opening by grippy silicone cuffs and hems. Imagine wearing a pair of leggings; as you bend your knee the fabric over your quad stretches, while the fabric over your hamstrings and the back of your knee relaxes. As you straighten your leg this pattern is reversed.
Sensory nodes positioned over superficial stabiliser or active muscles, and connected by sections of the integrated flexible skeleton, gently grip the skin. These skeleton sections, that run along working muscles or over target joints, are stronger than the base fabric, resisting extension and delivering an active recovery towards the neutral position. Try folding your leggings in half and stretching the double layer of fabric, and you’ll get the picture.
REFLEX AMPLIFIES PROPRIOCEPTIVE FEEDBACK
This resistance to extension and recovery towards the neutral position, combined with gentle grip at either end of the skeleton sections, causes mechanical deformation of the skin at the sensory node sites. This interaction with the skin aims to stimulate tactile mechanoreceptors, effectively amplifying afferent feedback to the nervous system. In other words, providing a novel sensory input, making the brain more aware of the position and movement around that specific location.
You can think of this as closing your eyes and having someone pinch the skin on your arm while you move; suddenly you become far more switched on to what’s going on in that area. Remember, all this happens pretty much subconsciously, and of course the sensation isn’t anything nearly as obvious as being pinched, but you will feel the difference.
REFLEX PROVIDES TARGETED SUPPORT
When positioned over a joint, for example the shoulder in the Reflex tops, the skeleton structure provides physical resistance against certain unnatural motions, effectively supporting the area against over-extension. You can think of this as a form of athletic strapping or taping around the joint, working to stabilise and promote controlled movement.
In the case of the Reflex tops, this has the added bonus of encouraging a strong dynamic posture, guiding you towards the perfect position for athletic performance. This also applies in the Reflex Thrower’s sleeves, where the skeleton actively resists against potentially damaging hyperextension motions particularly during overhead activity.
Much the same is true when applied over a muscle, although the feeling and application might be less obvious. With the skeleton section along the length of the muscle, it actively resists against over-extension, also sending feedback to the brain as the stretch increases. This not only promotes efficient muscular control, but also stability and targeted compression around the working area.
Reflex limits muscle vibration, fatigue, and damage
When we exercise, particularly in high-impact activities involving repeated contact with the ground, our muscles experience vibration or oscillation. The more impactful the exercise, the greater the vibration. Repeated or long-term exposure to these vibrations can have detrimental effects  including muscle damage, pain, loss of function, and impaired motor unit recruitment.
In order to minimise these detrimental effects, muscles exhibit a level of tuning in response to impact forces. Essentially the activation in that muscle increases  to dampen soft tissue vibration, thus increasing the energy cost of movement and decreasing movement economy.
By combining performance grade muscle-mapped compression with anatomically positioned skeleton sections, Reflex garments work to attenuate soft tissue movement and decrease muscle vibration during dynamic activity. Through this simple mechanism, Reflex garments minimise the detrimental effects of vibration on muscle fatigue and damage and work to properly align the muscle for linear action. Also decreasing the reliance on muscle tuning, supporting enhanced muscle function and improved movement economy. Ultimately meaning you can train more efficiently, smashing each session while experiencing less fatigue and soreness.
In the case of our leggings and arm sleeves, this compression is also graduated from proximal to distal, meaning that the pressure is greater the further you get from the heart. This has been shown to have some benefits to blood flow, muscle oxygenation, and venous return .
Finally, by limiting vibration and decreasing the reliance on muscle tuning, Reflex garments act as a filter for non-useful afferent information  to the nervous system. Imagine the messages being sent from the muscles towards the brain. In high impact exercise where the muscle experiences substantial vibration, these messages become noisy and scrambled, with receptors sensing both intended movement and resulting oscillation. By reducing this vibration, the signals to the nervous system immediately become clearer and more useful, enhancing feedback, and allowing for efficient precise movement even under fatigue.
how reflex will make you feel, and What this means for your athletic performance
At O+A we aim to advance the conventional, disrupting the status quo to replace the traditional with something precise, connected, and efficient. We are obsessed with performance and empowering people to evolve. Wearing O+A shows that you are serious about athletic performance and health. Reflex is all about giving you the confidence to perform, helping you consciously connect with your body’s movements, ensuring you feel supported, stable, and locked in ready to smash every session.
THE FEELING OF WEARING REFLEX FOR THE FIRST TIME
Reflex garments do have a compressive fit, and the combination of integrated flexible skeleton with sensory nodes might feel different to anything you’ve worn in the past. It can take a little while to get used to wearing Reflex, but give yourself 15 minutes and you’ll be amazed at how totally natural the feeling becomes.
Athletes’ experiences of wearing Reflex for the first time do vary, with feedback ranging from “I can definitely feel something going on” to “wow, it really makes me feel connected to my body”. Once you get moving, you can expect to experience some benefits immediately. Whether improved running efficiency, a locked in feeling each time you contact the ground, support around that area that’s been bothering you, or simply a spring in your step. All we can recommend is to give it a go, we’re pretty sure you’ll feel the Reflex difference as soon as you put it on.