Compression shorts are a category of sportswear that is designed to apply therapeutic compression to the hips, groin, upper thighs and gluteus.
Compression shorts come in two primary design categories. You can buy zoned compression shorts that apply higher levels of compression to specific areas than to others. Non zoned compression shorts, on the other hand, apply uniform compression levels to the entire area.
Although some individuals consider wearing compression shorts at night, we do not consider this beneficial. The benefits of these shorts (listed below) are at their greatest during periods of athletic activity. Worn at night, their disadvantages will likely outweigh their advantages as they may interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Benefits Of Compression Shorts
The compression applied by these shorts helps to improve blood circulation through the hip/groin/pelvis and groin area. As a result, any injured soft tissues in that area will benefit from an increased supply of freshly oxygenated and nutrient rich blood that will help to accelerate healing. Thigh (quadricep and hamstring) strains as well as groin and hip strains will all benefit from this feature.
The enhanced circulation will also help to reduce the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness and shorten the period before you are ready for another training session. You will be able to train for longer periods and will require shorter recovery periods in between training. Over the long term, this will boost your athletic performance.
Compression shorts also reduce unnecessary muscle vibration, making sprains and strains a lower risk than would otherwise be the case.
Finally, they help to increase proprioception, so that the body has a more finely tuned sense of the relative positions of various limbs and how to position them for lower injury risk. It also has a better sense of how to arrange the various parts so that you can carry out athletic movements with greater efficiency than before
Studies Into The Efficacy Of Compression Shorts
We will now summarize the results of a couple of recent studies into the effectiveness of wearing compression shorts to obtain the benefits listed above.
2019 Study Of The Effects Of Compression Tights On Recovery After Exercise Induced Muscle Damage
The participants in the study were 19 German handball players who were randomly assigned to a group wearing compression tights or to a control group not wearing these tights. The first group were assigned compression tights to wear immediately after completing a combined lower extremity resistance training and electromyostimulation (aka EMS).
The results of the study demonstrated a statistically significant superiority in recovery times and other parameters in favor of the “compression group” i.e. the group wearing the compression tights. The results were significant at levels of 0.3% and 0.1%, meaning that there was a less than 0.3%/0.1% chance of observing differences of the size seen in the absence of any effect of compression tights on recovery.
This study focused on the benefits of wearing compression tights rather than compression shorts. However, the benefits of the two types of sportswear are expected to be very similar due to the similarities between the designs. Compression tights apply compression to the entire lower body instead of the hips, thighs and groin as do compression shorts.
2016 Study Of the Benefits Of Compression Clothing As Experienced By Runners
The investigators concluded that there were no statistically significant mean effects on some aspects of athletic performance as a result of wearing compression clothing. Small positive effects were observed for other measures of athletic performance, including time to exhaustion, running economy, clearance of blood lactate levels and others.
The conclusion of the study was that runners “may improve variables related to endurance performance (i.e., time to exhaustion) slightly, due to improvements in running economy, biomechanical variables, perception, and muscle temperature.” The investigators also concluded that runners should benefit from reduced muscle pain, damage and inflammation.
Risks Of Wearing Compression Shorts
In general, wearing compression shorts is not a bad thing. However, there are some precautions that you should observe:
You should consult with your doctor before wearing these shorts if you have been told that you have poor circulation or any medical condition that might restrict your circulation;
If after putting on the shorts, you experience any loss of numbness, tingling or other unusual sensations, remove them immediately and seek medical advice before putting them on again.
You should also not wear these shorts over any broken or damaged skin;
If you are an older adult (over age 65) we suggest checking with your doctor before you begin using compression shorts.
Choosing The Best Compression Shorts
In general, when choosing the best pair of compression shorts, we suggest the following:
Where possible, choose shorts made from breathable, moisture wicking material. They will allow your perspiration to migrate through the material and evaporate on the outside. Your skin will remain dry and comfortable under the shorts;
In addition to keeping you cool and dry, breathable shorts will allow your body to retain its natural temperature. This too will be a tremendous contribution to long term wearing comfort;
For greater long term wearing comfort, look for shorts with antimicrobial treatment. This feature will help to keep unsightly stains and unpleasant odours away, even after prolonged use.