Every athlete knows the satisfaction of a good workout — as well as the disappointment that comes with sore muscles, injuries, and fatigue that often come in the following days. But athletic wear isn't what it used to be. Instead of throwing on a pair of old shorts that you don't mind getting sweaty wearing, compression shorts can enhance performance while reducing the risk of injury and speeding up recovery time without sacrificing comfort.
Whether you're a runner, biker, weightlifter, gym class fanatic, or play an organized sport, compression shorts have become increasingly popular among competitors of all levels, and they deserve a spot in your workout wardrobe for their many benefits.
What Are Compression Shorts?
Compression shorts are a piece of clothing worn on your lower body during physical activity. Unlike some athletic shorts, they are skin-tight — and for a good reason. Their snug fit helps support your glutes, quads, and hamstrings to optimize performance and recovery.
What are compression shorts made of?
Compression shorts are made of stretchy material to fit your body like a second skin. CW-X makes compression shorts for both men and women featuring patented EXO-WEB technology, which mimics kinesiology-taping techniques that trainers apply to injured muscles. The body fabric is made of 70% Polyester and 30% Spandex while the CW-X EXO-WEB is made of 80% Nylon and 20% Lycra® Spandex to give every wearer ultimate support for their muscles. The breathable and moisture-wicking fabric also aids in keeping the body dry during sweat sessions.
How do compression shorts differ from basic athletic wear?
While traditional running or athletic shorts are loose, compression shorts are fitted — allowing free range of movement and flexibility while providing support to your leg and glute muscles (in addition to lower back and abdominal panels in CW-X's apparel) that isn't found in your everyday sports shorts. In addition to having moisture-wicking fabric not found in traditional athletic shorts, compression shorts also prevent chafing. Compression shorts also provide warmth in cold temperatures, which helps prevent muscle strains and pulls. In addition, compression shorts help contain the movement of the area, providing more comfort during a strenuous workout.
How do compression shorts work?
Because compression shorts firmly hug your hips and legs, they provide an extra layer of stability during a workout. Their fit also improves performance by improving blood flow, and encouraging fluid movement in the body means getting rid of waste products from exercise quickly. Compression gear can also help minimize muscle oscillation, vibrations in the body caused by impact during physical activity that can cause muscle damage. All of this means a quicker recovery from your workout and a reduced risk of injury.
What Do Compression Shorts Do?
The benefits of compression shorts range from keeping muscles warm during cold weather workouts to improving oxygenation in the body. These elements help athletes achieve optimal performance and quicker recovery time.
Muscle Support and Stability
CW-X's compression shorts feature unique EXO-WEB technology, which mimics kinesiology-taping techniques used on injuries. When this technology is applied to muscles and joints, it creates an exoskeletal support system that improves biomechanics while in motion. This is especially helpful for injury and recovery, no matter the activity.
Maintaining Optimal Body Temperature
Compression shorts help regulate body temperature, especially in cold weather. Whether worn as a base layer or alone, keeping muscles warm when the temperature drops can help prevent injuries such as strains or pulls. In warm weather, compression shorts offer moisture-wicking material to prevent an uncomfortable feeling due to sweat build-up. CW-X's compression shorts also feature UV protection for daytime activities.
Better Muscle Oxygenation
The tight fit of compression gear improves blood flow to the muscles — in the case of compression shorts, the targeted muscles are the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. By exerting pressure on these muscles, oxidized blood flow is increased. Since more oxygen is reaching the muscles, they are able to heal quicker — so no athlete has to worry about sitting out a training session.
How to Choose the Right Compression Shorts
The right pair of compression shorts or compression tights should feel snug yet comfortable enough to wear for a long duration, providing flexibility as well as stability during your workout. Since compression clothing is meant to be tight to reap all the benefits, it can take some trial and error to find the perfect fit for your body.
Finding the proper fit
Compression wear should fit like a second skin, form-fitting and applying pressure to your muscles without restricting movement. Take your measurements and refer to a brand's size guide to choose the right pair — even if you're a medium in every other item of clothing, it never hurts to double-check against the particular piece of clothing's unique metrics. If you aren't feeling any pressure, you likely need to go down a size. If you are restricted in your motion, you might want to size up.
Choosing the right compression level
Compression shorts can range in the pressure they provide to your muscles, from mild to extra firm. Compression is rated in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). CW-X products are rated 18-20 mmHg, which is considered athletic-grade compression while the medical compression rate is usually above 20 mmHg.
Picking the appropriate material
When choosing compression shorts, keep in mind the activities you'll be doing in them. It's often important to choose breathable and moisture-wicking material when you get sweaty, while it's also important to choose body-regulating fabrics during cold weather activities. Most of all, the fabric should feel comfortable against your skin.
How to wear compression shorts
Compression shorts can be worn as both a base layer and alone. Weightlifters, team sport athletes, and those who want to reduce movement may wear compression shorts under athletic shorts. Meanwhile, cold-weather athletes such as skiers and snowboarders may wear compression shorts under their ski pants. For runners, bikers, and others looking to improve their aerodynamics, compression shorts can be worn alone.
Compression shorts won't just enhance a workout — they provide comfort, stability, and temperature control to help you reach optimal performance while reducing recovery time and the risk of injury.
CW-X compression shorts offer a variety of selections depending on your preferences. And while there are many compression shorts on the market, only CW-X has patented EXO-WEB™ technology that creates an exoskeletal support system that improves biomechanics during motion, from warming up the muscles ahead of a workout to maximizing support during peak training zones to accelerating rest periods. Not only is this technology in CW-X compression shorts but also their tights, sports bras, and sleeves for both women and men looking to achieve their full fitness potential.