Compression apparel seems to be very popular with athletes. Brands like Under Armour and Nike show athletes in different sports wearing their apparel.

Personally, I wear compression apparel when I'm playing sports or training, but I haven't worn it enough to notice a significant difference. I'm sure those who are athletes for a living have more insight on this than I do.

What are the benefits of compression apparel?

4 Answers 4


The main benefit for me is in preventing body fluids from pooling in my legs (I have very low blood pressure). This is billed as assisting in recovery post exercise.


Firstly, compression means less work needed by stabilisers to maintain the position. An example is powerlifting. Secondly, it improves the post-recovery particularly in athletes who have very low recovery HR. Thirdly, they are timeless. Different compression clothes originates from nursing and old people care where for example compression stockings are used to improve the blood flow in legs during night and usually removed on the morning. They can be used in different age groups and different activities to improve different kinds of performance, sometimes it is just ability to walk, sometimes it is the ability to lift heavier and sometimes it is the ability recover faster. Fourtly, they can be super sexy. Compression stockings are almost like fashion gimmick but they do help with recovering from walking with high-heels, particularly with amateurs and if not they can make you look better.


  • The compression allows Powerlifters lift with larger weights, example about the champion Jarosław Olech below

    enter image description here

  • Running: the compression stockings improve the circulation and your legs feel less heavy. This is partially mentioned in other answer: "The main benefit for me is in preventing body fluids from pooling in my legs (I have very low blood pressure). This is billed as assisting in recovery post exercise."

  • Endurance training and particularly their interval training: the compression stockings help to deal with achilles tear and its development worse, one of the most common injury in sports such as running and skiing.

  • Old people care

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  • Compression stockings can also make people look sexy, more slimmer legs and more blood in the core.

enter image description here


This is similar to my answer to this question but I felt that it was also appropriate here.

Livestrong has a great page that illustrates a lot of points and references medical studies to support it.

Some key points:

  • limits extra muscle motion, or "oscillation" ... [which] reduces the amount of energy you are expending

  • assist[s] the hamstrings in controlling leg movement at the end of the swing phase ... delay[s] muscle soreness by compressing the muscle tissue enough so that less damage occurs

  • reduces impact force to muscles by 27 percent

  • increases the amount of lactate retained in muscles and thus reduces the amount that is released into the blood

  • Compression from the shorts may protect against a venous thrombosis

  • Compression shorts may help cool the body by wicking sweat from the body and allowing it to disperse faster

Take a look at the page for more details.

From a personal opinion standpoint, I've found that I personally perform much better (running and soccer are the main events I use compression). The shorts also offer much needed support for the man-specific area.

Additionally, I use compression sleeves for my calves. I suffered from shins splints and the compression sleeves seemed to almost completely alleviate the shin splints when I would run. I've spoken with therapists about this and the reason I was given was because the compression sleeves keep the muscle attached to the bone during running (shin splints are micro tears of the muscle away from the bone).

  • 2
    Good answer, good personal insight, but please refrain from passing off others work as your own. See this for more info.
    – user527
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 1:35

From Wikipedia

The main benefits of compression sportswear is that it keeps the muscles warm to prevent muscle strain and fatigue, and wick sweat away from the body to prevent chafing and rashes. In addition, there is some evidence that compression shorts may enhance athletic performance. Compression sportswear also helps to keep undergarments in place, and for certain sports, like baseball and softball, come with padding at the hips to protect players from injuries due to sliding.

Compression shorts are also popular among female athletes, especially among those who wear skirts or kilts during games. In those situations, athletes wear compression shorts under the skirt so if they fall over and their skirts ride up, their underwear will not be exposed. This is seen particularly in women's lacrosse, field hockey and roller derby, all being sports in which players often wear skirts.

The alleged benefits of wearing compression tights are:

  1. Improving athletic performance by maintaining repeated jump performance
  2. Reduce muscle movement and vibration and focus the direction of the muscle
  3. Reducing the risk of sports injuries
  4. Maintaining body temperature and moisture wicking
  5. Reducing the build up of Creatine kinase which is an indicator of muscle tissue damage.
  6. Reducing the time taken for muscles to repair themselves
  7. Reducing muscle soreness during post workout recovery
  8. As an alternative to compression stockings they can be worn during long flights to reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) caused by pooling of blood in the lower legs

These factors allow an athlete to increase both the duration and intensity of training and competition.

  • 5
    While I like mine, its good to point out that there's no real evidence that they actually provide these benefits. So its probably wise use the same phrasing as Wikipedia used: "The alleged benefits of wearing compression tights are:". Have a look at my answer on Fitness for more info
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 15:27
  • 6
    Please don't just quote wikipedia wholesale. Give your own answer using quotes where necessary.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 17:00
  • @waxeagle 3 downvotes in 10 min? seems a little bit intention.. No קncouragement in our days.. I guess none of my other answers or question is not deserved to up vote
    – Dor Cohen
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 17:18
  • 2
    @DorCohen are you admitting your other answers "quote wikipedia wholesale?"
    – user527
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 19:14
  • Wikipedia is a legit source! and if it answer the question it's great as any other!
    – Dor Cohen
    Commented Jul 14, 2012 at 11:24

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