- Keyon Rainey
Compression Gear: Does it Help Athletes?
As an athlete, wearing your normal, everyday undergarments during a sporting event can be uncomfortable. But, something as simple as changing the base layer could help change an athlete’s performance and comfort.
That is the reality of wearing compression shorts compared to traditional boxers or briefs. Compression shorts are a base layer that some athletes wear under shorts or pants that are similar to spandex shorts.
A 2017 report published by Allied Market Research, entitled “Compression Wear and Shapewear Market by Product, Application, End User, and Distribution Channel: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022,” said “... the global compression wear and shapewear market is expected to reach $5,576 million by 2022.”
Compression shorts have several benefits. Some athletes say they prevent injuries because they keep “everything” in place and reduce the risk of awkward injuries.
In a Business Insider article, Reed Ferber, who has a doctorate of philosophy in biomechanics, said compression gear is “trying to either clear blood more quickly from areas, or it’s trying to prevent injury in the first place, by not allowing the body to move in specific ways.”
“I love compression clothing especially, shorts and the pants because it is more comfortable while playing,” said freshman basketball player Obie James.
Compression clothing is a trend. Any athlete can wear any form of compression clothing, from Michael Phelps in the water, to Usain Bolt on the track, to Lebron James on the court.
Swimmers wear compression caps to protect their hair from the water. For track athletes, it keeps hamstrings warm and thighs protected from chafing. Professional cyclists wear compression gear as well to stay warm and fit as they bike.
For basketball players, compression shorts and pants may be worn for fashion, but also have performance benefits. “I would take compression gear over my everyday underwear every day. I just can’t hoop in my regular underwear anymore - it’s too uncomfortable and I will be too focused on pulling my underwear down from riding up, that I can’t even play the game,” said sophomore Deondre Dobbins.
Wrestlers wear compression for comfort too. “I like to wear compression shorts because they do not ride up while I am practicing or working out,” said freshman wrestler Noah Teague.
According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Stewart, (in 2017) the National Federation of State High School Associations’ approved and then set down size rules for compression shorts. Walker wrote that the “committee approved the use of the alternate uniform in hopes of increasing participation in the sport.”
Men are not the only athletes that wear compression clothing. Women who play tennis, basektball, volleyball, and run track also wear compression clothing.