Why I Switched From Loose Shorts to Compression Shorts for Workouts
I’ve been a short guy all my life. While one might accurately assume that I’m referring to my height (5’7″), I’m actually talking about clothing. Even as a kid I preferred shorts over pants in temperatures that most people consider too cold for wearing. They’re comfortable, non-restrictive, and easy to throw on in a hurry. Plus, as a man who runs hot, I want my body to breathe. That’s why you’ll also never really see me wearing long sleeve shirts. Although, I can’t avoid jackets during the bitter-cold winters here in eastern Pennsylvania.
When I started exercising and working out on a regular basis, my collection of polyester shorts were a key component of my workout gear. In fact, on most occasions, it was the only component other than underwear. Since I workout at home inside, I feel no need to wear a shirt. I’m also certainly not going to wear socks or shoes. That just leaves the shorts.
While these style of shorts are comfortable for me during exercising, I never fully realized how much of a hinderance they were. If I’m performing mid and upper-body kettlebell exercises, my shorts didn’t really affect me. It’s when I start moving around and going to the ground with the kettlebell that problems occur. Allow me to explain.
The Problem With Loose-Fitting Shorts and Exercising
The photo above photo shows a typical pair of shorts I would wear while working out. The color might be different from each but the material is the same. As you can see, they are pretty standard as far as shorts go. Nothing out of the ordinary. So what exactly is my problem with them then? It’s the excess material that gets in the way of my kettlebell exercises.
Perhaps the most annoying issue I have is when I do kettlebell figure 8’s. That’s when you pass the kettlebell in between your legs with one hand and grab it on the backside with another. The pattern mimics a figure 8 in that you’re transferring from one hand to the other as you go between your legs. There’s not a whole lot of room and time to make a clean transfer as it is. However, when I have loose-fitting shorts on, it’s almost a guarantee that my grabbing hand will catch some of the material and screw up the momentum. Or worse yet, cause me to drop the kettlebell and have it crash to the floor.
Take a look at the photo below of me grabbing the shorts at the bottom. All that excess material is great for allowing breathability. What it isn’t great for is giving me adequate space to perform figure 8’s. I have to either awkwardly angle the kettlebell to limit interference or have a very wide stance which isn’t proper form.
Excess Material Getting In the Way
You might think, “Who cares? I don’t really like figure 8’s anyhow.” That’s fair enough, it’s not like it’s one of the more popular kettlebell exercises. However, what you might not realize is just how distracting that excess material is when doing other exercises. Complex kettlebell workouts sometimes require a lot of concentration.
Basically, when you’re performing multiple exercises in a set and counting various reps, it takes a little effort to keep track. Keep in mind that while exercising your body is tiring and thus it’s not as easy to remember as if you were counting and watching someone else workout. When you’re doing kettlebell squats, swings, or any exercise that causes even a slight bend, that excess material is going to bunch up.
Even if it doesn’t come into contact with your hands, the movement of the material is still felt and causes a distraction. It might not seem much but I think if you switched to tight-fitting shorts, that distraction then becomes very noticeable. So the solution is to get some shorts that fit snugly but also are comfortable and not suffocating. For this very reason is why I wanted to try some men’s pro combat compression shorts.
How Compression Shorts Differ From Other Shorts
Obviously, the most apparent difference is, of course, how they fit. From the waistband all the way to the bottom there should be no free hanging material. In fact, the material composition is pretty similar to my regular shorts. Those are usually made up of 100% polyester compared to compression shorts which are typically 90% polyester and 10% spandex. So you still get that comfortable feeling with a snug fit. There are also usually many tiny holes in compression shorts in the thigh area. This is important as it allows sweat and heat a place to escape.
When I first put these compression shorts on, I was very impressed by how they felt. Now I understand why they’re so popular with cyclists and pro athletes. I always used to associate them with more finesse exercising like yoga and pilates. I would think to myself, “That’s not my style, why would I wear that?”. However, their benefits aren’t about style. Rather, it’s the functionality they offer which makes them so appealing.
Apart from how they hug your legs and waist, there’s another major difference that separates them from standard shorts.
No underwear needed
Can you imagine working out in shorts without having your “package” secured? Most men will likely need some underwear between their body and workout shorts. Compression shorts, by their design, eliminate the need for any underwear. They keep your privates in one spot while also conforming around your body. Since they are so close to your legs and body, virtually no chafing will occur. If you’re a sweaty guy like I am, I know you’ll appreciate that.
One concern that men have has to do with compression short bulge. That was something I worried about too. I want to work out and not advertise my junk, you know? I exercise at home so the concern for me isn’t related to how I appear in public. Although, I do share plenty of exercise videos of myself on this website as well as Instagram.
It would be extremely embarrassing having my private area on display like that. Thankfully, as you can see in the photo, the black color and the design of these shorts help to obscure visibility in that region. Obviously, this depends on your girth and the brand you choose. In my case, these men’s pro combat compression shorts give me some peace knowing that bulging isn’t a problem.
Why I Chose These Particular Compression Shorts
It comes down to value and quality. Since I workout every weekday, I wanted to get several pairs of compression shorts. Purchasing a name brand can cost you upwards of $20 or even $30 per pair. The ones I purchased came in a 3-pack which is equal or even less than the price of a pair from said name brands. That settles the value part but what about quality? For that answer, you simply only need to read the manufacturers description along with the many positive reviews.string(57) "The ItemId B07PRZ7P1F provided in the request is invalid."
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So you want to see these shorts in action? I made a fun little video of myself doing kettlebell figure 8’s with them on. Make sure you turn on your sound for a good laugh!