Be it a long jumper, a sprinter, a long distance runner, or in general, any track or field event athlete, there is one common thing that you will notice in all of them. Nearly each one of them sports one of those tight-fitting, body-hugging suits or shorts underneath their regular sport uniforms. Not only runners or track event athletes, but cyclists, basketball players, baseball players, footballers, and cricketers too, make use of these body-hugging clothes during training and actual play. Well, for starters, this particular piece of clothing, in sports terminology, is formally referred to as ‘compression clothing’; and naturally, the aforementioned knee-length shorts are referred to as ‘compression shorts’. In the following sections of this article, we will have a look at the uses of compression shorts for running, and in general, various advantages of compression shorts.
So, why are these shorts increasingly being used by athletes and sportspersons all over the world? Also, are compression shorts for men different from those for women? Or is a pair of these shorts a unisex clothing product? Let us try to answer all these questions.
Basically, the fundamental principle behind compression clothing is to provide proper support to the different set of muscles that are actively being used by the athlete, and at the same time, to provide enough comfort to the athlete as well. As far as the design aspect is concerned, yes, compression shorts can largely be termed as a unisex clothing product. However, there do exist certain design variations that are designed exclusively or specifically for one gender. For example, a few designs for men are equipped with a frontal pocket, so as to hold an abdomen guard in place. Material-wise, a pair of compression shorts (or in general, compression clothing) is made up of a combination of nylon, Lycra, spandex, etc. They are stretchable and designed in such a way, so as to offer the wearer a snug, comfortable fit. Also, designs differ from sport to sport. For example, compression shorts designed for a cyclist would be different from those designed for a sprinter, cricketer, footballer, etc. Now, regarding the question as to why athletes wear them, well, the answers lie in the following paragraph.
✛ For any sport that involves a good degree of running, jogging, or jumping, there is a great deal of load and pressure that is exerted on the thighs and on the upper leg muscles. This point is further accentuated in the sport of cycling (in spite of it not involving either running or jumping). It is important to maintain the leg muscles in an optimum working condition so that the athletes are able to perform to their maximum potential. Compression shorts aim to do just that.
✛ Thanks to their material, they apply a uniform compressive force all over the thigh and leg muscles and keep them in place. This minimizes any wastage of athlete’s effort and energy on account of improper muscle positioning or movement.
✛ Many a time, an athlete may pull a hamstring, may suffer from muscle pain, or any other thigh-related injury due to improper cushioning or support to the thigh muscles. Using a suitable pair of compression shorts can reduce the chances of such incidents.
✛ Compression shorts also protect the thigh and groin from rubbing against each other and in the process, causing skin rashes or reddening of the skin due to friction.
✛ Owing to the compact support and firmness that compression shorts offer, many athletes find them to be a good way of improving their performance in their respective sport.
✛ Certain types of compression shorts are also able to provide odor protection. At the same time, they are designed to transfer sweat and moisture faster from the skin to the outer surface of the fabric.
✛ These types of shorts also aid in faster muscle recovery during the ‘cooling down’ period at the end of an athlete’s workout or training session.
So, if you’re an aspiring athlete or sportsman, you may want to head to the nearest sports store and buy yourself a pair.