Compression sportswear

Compression sportswear is clothing usually worn by athletes. They may be shorts, tights or underwear. They are form-fitting garments and when worn cover the athlete's waist to mid or lower thigh. These garments are often made from a spandex-type material.

The main benefits of compression sportswear is that it keeps the muscles warm to prevent muscle strain and fatigue, and wick sweat away from the body to prevent chafing and rashes. In addition, there is some evidence that compression shorts may enhance athletic performance.[1] They are also used as a way to keep the male genitalia in place. Compression sportswear also helps to keep undergarments in place, and for certain sports, like baseball and softball, come with padding at the hips to protect players from injuries due to sliding.

There are many types of compression garments that serve a similar function, such as compression t-shirts, socks, sleeves & tights. Common brands are Nike, Under Armour, Skins, McDavid, Easton, Zensah, and Adidas.

More recently, jockstraps have fallen out of favor with young male athletes, and garments such as compression shorts have seen an increase in popularity, arguably because of their comparable function and less embarrassing looks.[2]

Compression shorts are also popular among female athletes, especially among those who wear skirts or kilts during games. In those situations, athletes wear compression shorts under the skirt so if they fall over and their skirts ride up, their underwear will not be exposed. This is seen particularly in women's lacrosse and field hockey, both being no-contact sports in which players often wear skirts. In this situation, compression shorts are often referred to as spandex shorts, the material they are often manufactured with.


The alleged benefits of wearing compression tights are:

  • Improving athletic performance by maintaining repeated jump performance
  • Reduce muscle movement and vibration and focus the direction of the muscle
  • Reducing the risk of sports injuries
  • Maintaining body temperature and moisture wicking
  • Reducing the build up of Creatine kinase which is an indicator of muscle tissue damage.
  • Reducing the time taken for muscles to repair themselves[3]
  • Reducing muscle soreness during post workout recovery
  • As an alternative to compression stockings they can be worn during long flights to reduce the risk of Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) caused by pooling of blood in the lower legs

These factors allow an athlete to increase both the duration and intensity of training and competition.

See also


  1. ^ Doan BK, Kwon YH, Newton RU, et al. (Aug 2003). "Evaluation of a lower-body compression garment". J Sports Sci 21 (8): 601–10. doi:10.1080/0264041031000101971. PMID 12875311. 
  2. ^ ""Where have all the jockstraps gone?". Slate Magazine (2005-07-22). 
  3. ^ Kraemer, WJ; Bush, JA; Wickham, RB; Denegar, CR; Gómez, AL; Gotshalk, LA; Duncan, ND; Volek, JS et al. (2001). "Influence of compression therapy on symptoms following soft tissue injury from maximal eccentric exercise". The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy 31 (6): 282–90. PMID 11411623. 

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