Comfort is everything during your workouts…until it isn’t. During the last decade, a surge of constrictive fitness apparel has skyrocketed in popularity. So much so that you can find them being worn in the gym, at the coffee shop, and on airplanes.
Do these tight workout clothes deserve the attention they’re getting? Let’s review the benefits of both comfortable and compression exercise clothing, and define when it’s best to wear each.
What Are Compression Workout Clothes?
Compression clothing is designed to provide a specific amount of pressure on the muscle groups it covers. If you’re wearing a compression t-shirt, for example, you’ll feel a unique tightness – but not too much – around your chest, back, and arms.
This is not the same as ordinary tight clothing, or clothes that are too small for your size. For example, leggings might be tight, but they are not the same as compression clothing.
Benefits of Compression Apparel
Blood Flow: The most popular reason that compression clothing is worn by athletes and the Average Joe alike is that it’s been shown to improve blood flow. Better blood flow makes it ideal for the weight room as much as the long-haul bus trip.
Performance: With improved blood flow, many athletes have reported better performance. This could mean more repetitions in the gym or more laps on the track.
Recovery: Results come about from proper recovery. With upgraded blood flow, you might enjoy a higher nutrient uptake, ensuring muscular recovery. Combining compression clothing with the right sports supplements, you can expect a heightened recovery while not letting any of those ingredients go to waste.
When to Wear Compression Clothing
Walking and Running: The constrictive nature of compression clothing, especially compression pants, might help a runner’s performance. The improved blood flow can make a world of difference when delivering those much-needed carbs to long-distance runners. Not to mention the amped-up recovery that’s possible from wearing compression clothing.
Weight Lifting: Constriction around muscle groups has been suggested to enhance muscular hypertrophy (growth). Compression clothing worn during workouts can provide the right amount of constriction to enhance goals of muscle building. The improved blood flow that weight lifters get from compression clothing can help with post-workout recovery as well.
Traveling: One of the biggest risks of long-distance traveling is a blood clot from not being able to move around. Sure, you can do yoga on airplanes…if you want to be that person. Or you can wear compression clothing and take short strolls like most people. Compression clothing can help to decrease the risk of blood clotting by improving blood flow throughout the body.
Comfortable Exercise Clothing
The classic gym look, comfortable exercise clothing can be defined as loose fitting clothing that allows for a complete and full range of motion. The latter is the most important part. Compression clothing, while it has its benefits, can feel restrictive at times. On the other hand, clothing that is too loose can feel just as restrictive as it gets in the way of your movements.
There’s no special label for comfy workout clothing; t-shirts, shorts, leggings, and crop tops are all great examples of comfortable exercise apparel. We urge you to focus on quality comfortable clothes. It’s not enough to wear your old concert tour t-shirts. Fitness apparel has come a long way since shorts and high socks. Invest a little more in comfortable workout clothing designed to last.
Benefits of Comfortable Workout Apparel
Flexibility: Comfortable, non-restrictive workout clothes allow you to properly stretch and develop a high level of flexibility. This is important as it could help reduce the risk of injury during workouts.
Range of Motion: To see the best results in weight lifting, swimming, or traditional sports, you need to take the muscle group through a complete range of motion. Comfy workout clothes allow you to do this. Whether you’re in the weight room wearing a cut-off shirt or you’re on the track wearing shorts, you need the room to move.
Comfort Level: The most obvious benefit is that loose workout clothing is comfortable. Working out and playing sports is demanding enough, why should your clothing demand more from you?
When to Wear Comfortable Fitness Clothing
Martial Arts-Based Classes: Comfortable clothing is a necessity if you’re involved with any type of martial arts classes. From the casual cardio-kickboxing class to the more advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) classes, you need to be able to throw punches and kicks while being ready for groundwork. Comfortable clothing allows you the freedom of movement necessary for these high impact classes.
Sports Training: When you’re running for a goal or faking someone out on the court, the last thing you need is for your clothing to slow you down. Comfy fitness apparel allows you to max out your performance with complete range of motion.
Secondary Muscle Group Weight Lifting: Yes, compression clothing can be very useful during weight lifting, but comfortable clothing can also be used during days when you need maximum range of motion or when you’re focusing on secondary muscle groups. For example, restrictive clothing can help bulk up those quadriceps and hamstrings but if you’re focusing on calves, a normal pair of shorts will do just fine.
Which Do You Prefer: Compression or Comfy?
What types of workouts do you perform each week? Is your workout better when wearing comfortable clothing? Has compression workout clothes made a difference in your performance? Let us know in the comments below.