Should I Wear Compression Shorts During Workouts?

Posted on May 18, 2021

If you're an active person, wearing clothing that helps you perform better is essential. Compression shorts and compression clothing in general are designed to help your muscles feel less fatigued. 

Is this the first time you've heard of compression activewear? Don't worry. In this guide, we'll go over why you should wear compression shorts and the various benefits they provide. 

Why Should I Wear Compression Shorts?

Compression activewear is made from spandex-type fibres woven together. It's skintight, compressing your muscles. By compressing them, compression clothing provides support and increases blood circulation

The fabric used for compression clothing is high quality. It's usually made from a blend of:

  • Spandex
  • Lycra
  • Nylon
  • Polyester

Other fitness clothing options like loose tank tops and sweatpants can get in the way of athletes and other active people. It can get tangled in a person's limbs, creating unwanted drag. If you're trying to sprint, you don't want a baggy shirt weighing you down. 

Compression shorts are one of the most popular types of compression clothing. However, there a variety of options available, including:

  • Socks
  • Leggings
  • Shirts
  • Sports bras
  • Underwear
  • Bodysuits

Why shouldn't your clothing provide you with added benefits instead of simply looking good?

Things to Look for in Compression Shorts

There are certain features you should keep in mind when purchasing a pair of compression workout shorts.

Consider the following items when you begin your search:

  • Additional Features: Hidden pockets, special waistbands, and cooling gel inserts can provide additional comfort and benefits 
  • High-Quality Material: Look for compression leggings or shorts made from fabric that is sweat-wicking, breathable, and stretchy
  • Customer Reviews: Look through customer reviews on the product before you purchase it as they can provide additional information about the product

If you're investing in a quality pair of compression shorts, you want to make sure they hit the mark on all aspects. Thoroughly reading the product description and noticing features that are important to you will ensure you buy a product you're happy with. 

The Benefits of Compression Clothing

Why shouldn't your clothing give you extra benefits, especially when you wear it for exercise or sporting purposes? You want to use every tool in your arsenal to ensure you're performing optimally. Compression clothing provides a wide array of benefits for every wearer. 

Reduced Muscle Soreness

If you're looking for a way to decrease the amount of soreness you feel after exercise, get a pair of compression shorts. They can reduce the amount of pain you feel by a significant amount.

Additionally, if you want to increase your performance and work out for longer, compression shorts can help. Extend your workout time without worrying about muscle soreness while you wear compression shorts. You'll reap the benefits during and after your workout. 

Decreased Muscle Fatigue

Gone are the feelings of muscle aches and fatigue while you wear compression clothing. Compression shorts improve your body's blood circulation.

Improved blood flow results in increased oxygen levels in the muscles of your legs. The time it takes for your muscles to get stiff during workouts will reduce. Your overall performance will improve as your body continues to feel good while you're active. 

Increased Flexibility 

You want your workout clothes to be stretchy. You move around a lot during exercising activities, like extending, lifting, and stretching. Your clothing should move with your body and not inhibit your actions.

Compression shorts won't hold you back in any way. They allow your body to easily perform various activities without your clothing getting in the way. 

Decreased Chafing

Chafing in the groin area is a common occurrence for athletes that engage in intense activities. Chafing can cause extreme discomfort throughout a workout session and after. 

Compression shorts can help with that. They're constructed with flat seams which minimize irritation between your thighs. 

Regulate Your Body's Temperature

Compression shorts are made from breathable fabric. This allows air to circulate through the fabric to your body, helping you stay cool while you exercise. It may be tight but the fabric is comfortable. 

Provides Additional Support

Compression clothing provides added pressure to your muscles while you exercise. It works to support any strain your muscles may be under.

Additionally, some compression shorts are made with cup pockets that provide support in the groin area. It's a comfortable way to protect the more sensitive parts of your body. They're a great choice for football or baseball players. 

Improve Aerobic and Anaerobic Threshold

As an athlete, you need to perform optimally at all times. Compression shorts help both your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds:

  • Aerobic Threshold: A consistent output of effort that you can uphold for several hours
  • Anaerobic Threshold: The moment when the lactic acid in your body beings to rapidly build up in your blood, making it more difficult to exercise

Compression shorts can improve the levels of both thresholds by as much as 6.2%. Sustain your energy for longer periods of time while you wear compression shorts. 

Should I Wear Underwear Under Compression Shorts?

In short, no. Your body produces a lot of sweat during intense workouts. If you're wearing underwear while you exercise, it'll absorb all the moisture and sweat from your skin. 

This will cause your compression shorts to be damp. If they're damp, they're not providing you with the benefit of being breathable and wicking your sweat away. They'll also not be able to control your body's temperature. 

You'll end up sweating more while exercising and feel fatigued more quickly. It's also very uncomfortable wearing damp underwear while you're working out. When wearing compression shorts, leave your underwear out of them. 

Types of Compression Clothing

We've mostly been talking about the countless benefits and features of compression shorts, but there are a variety of types of compression clothing. No matter your style of working out, you'll find something that suits your lifestyle.  

Compression Leggings

People don't wear compression leggings only during their workout sessions. They'll wear them pre and post-workout to continue receiving their benefits during their warm-up and recoveries.

Compression tights or leggings will feel tighter than regular leggings but they should feel comfortable. You can start with a pair that has a lower range of compression to get used to the feeling.

To test how well they wick away moisture, drop a little bit of water on the inner fabric of the leggings. If it truly is moisture-wicking, the water will quickly spread out. If it beads on the fabric, you'll likely feel sweaty while exercising. 

Compression Shirts 

Wearing a compression shirt will help reduce the vibration in your skeletal muscle. That reduction will contribute to less trauma to your muscles. Pairing a compression shirt with compression shorts will support your body more than any other type of fitness clothing. 

Compression Sports Bra

The compression sports bra provides the breasts with added support. Women can lunge, jump, and run without dealing with extra discomfort from their breasts moving around. 

Compression sports bras come with functional features, but also fun ones like an open or criss-cross back. You don't have to settle for a boring sports bra if you go with a compression one. They come in a variety of colours to match with your other exercise clothing pieces. 

Additionally, compression sports bras may also have high neck or layer cups to provide added support. If you fall between sizes on a sports bra, look for an option that has adjustable straps and hook-and-eye closures. Your fit will be more comfortable with those added features. 

A quality compression sports bra will also be made from moisture-wicking fabric. The bra should provide enough stretch so you're comfortable but still hold everything in place while you move around. Feel more comfortable and decrease the amount of pain you feel while working out with a compression sports bra. 

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