Best Compression Shorts for Weightlifting

6 Best Compression Shorts for Weightlifting in 2024

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Reviewed by Sergii Putsov

Could lifting compression shorts be the secret tech behind weightlifting performance? Seasoned lifters and coaches swear by them, noting their ability to support key muscle groups, stimulate blood flow, and reduce fatigue to make exercises easier and more comfortable.

Here are the best compression shorts for weightlifting.

IN A HURRY?

Our Best Choice!

The Virus Men’s Compression Shorts are crafted from a quality bioceramic fabric made from a mix of polyamide (quality nylon) and spandex. This makes the shorts tight-fitting but also highly stretchable, supporting your lower-body muscles without restricting movement.

Top 6 Best Compression Shorts for Weightlifting Reviewed

  1. Virus Men’s Compression Shorts – Top Pick
  2. Rehband QD Thermal Shorts – Runner-Up
  3. Nike Women’s Pro Compression Shorts – Best For Women
  4. Under Armour Men’s HeatGear® Compression Shorts
  5. Neleus Men’s Performance Compression Shorts – Budget Pick
  6. Brooks Source Men’s 9” Short Tights

It’s easy to think of compression shorts as mostly the same. Almost any pair will indeed do the job well enough, but each pair has its positives and negatives. It’s also important to consider the fabric used, price point, and additional features that set them apart. Before we get into the individual compression shorts reviews, here’s a quick table overview of our picks in case you’re looking for a specific brand.

ProductTotalTextile QualityComfortElasticityProtectionDesignValue for Money
Virus4.95554.555
Rehband4.854.5554.55
Nike4.75554.54.54.5
Under Armour4.754.54.54.554.5
Neleus4.64554.545
Brooks4.5455544

1. Virus Men’s Compression Shorts

TOP PICK

Virus Men’s Compression Shorts

Our Ratings: 4.9

Textile Quality: 5

Comfort: 5

Elasticity: 5

Protection: 4.5

Design: 5

Value for Money: 5

Starting off the list with our top pick, we have the Virus Men’s Compression Shorts. Virus is a brand specializing in compression apparel and a sponsor to many cross-trainers and weightlifters, among other athletes.

  • Material: Polyamide & Spandex
  • Inseam: 9 inches
  • Length: Depends on the size
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL
  • Rise Style: High rise
  • Color palette: Black

The Virus Men’s Compression Shorts are crafted from a quality bioceramic fabric made from a mix of polyamide (quality nylon) and spandex. This makes the shorts tight-fitting but also highly stretchable, supporting your lower-body muscles without restricting movement. The material is also breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick drying, so you won’t be bothered by excess sweating or heat building up inside them.

The shorts offer a high rise, meaning there’s plenty of room in the lower trunk area. They come in a wide range of sizes, so pretty much anybody can find their ideal fit. If they feel too loose, the waist size can quickly be adjusted thanks to the hidden internal drawstring. Overall, it is a quality product, albeit at a slightly higher price than average.

Pros

  • Made from quality bioceramic fabric
  • Internal drawstring for waist adjustment
  • Quick-drying
  • High rise, roomy

Cons

  • Above-average price point

2. Rehband QD Thermal Shorts

Runner-Up

REHBAND QD THERMAL SHORT

Our Ratings: 4.8

Textile Quality: 5

Comfort: 4.5

Elasticity: 5

Protection: 5

Design: 4.5

Value for Money: 5

In close-second, we have the Rehband QD Thermal Shorts. They are mid-rise, unisex, thick compression shorts with a good selection of sizes to fit all body types.

  • Material: Neoprene & SBR
  • Inseam: 10.5 Inches
  • Length: Depends on the size
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Rise Style: Mid rise
  • Color palette: Black

These shorts are made from a 1.5 mm thick blend of neoprene and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR). This is the sort of material you’d see on professional diving suits. It offers excellent support and warmth, making the shorts a reliable choice for athletes working out both indoors and outdoors. You can easily use these both for a cold swim session, outdoor run, or weightlifting. The only drawback is that they might feel a bit too warm at times, particularly if you work out in the summer heat.

Their mid-rise design is meant to be unisex, but it does come with a lack of proper contouring specific for male and female bodies. They’re easy to clean since they’re machine washable with other dark clothing at 40°.

Pros

  • Thermal properties make them suitable for outdoor or winter sports
  • Unisex fit
  • Machine washable up to 40°

Cons

  • Machine washable up to 40°

3. Nike Women’s Pro Compression Shorts

Best For Women

Nike Women’s Pro Compression Shorts

Our Ratings: 4.7

Textile Quality: 5

Comfort: 5

Elasticity: 5

Protection: 4.5

Design: 4.5

Value for Money: 4.5

Up to this point, we've covered the best men's compression shorts and one versatile unisex option. Now we’d like to mention our top pick for female lifters. Nike and Rogue Fitness collaborated to make this great pair of comfortable, stylish, and functional shorts.

  • Material: Nike Dri-FIT (Polyester & Spandex)
  • Inseam: 3 inches
  • Length: Depends on the size
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, Xl
  • Rise Style: Low rise
  • Color palette: Black, Charcoal

The shorts are made from Nike’s original Dri-FIT fabric, a blend of spandex and polyester that’s lightweight, comfortable, flexible, and highly durable. The material sits softly on the skin and is effective at absorbing and wicking away sweat, ensuring you stay cool throughout your workout. Thanks to the flat elastic waistband they fit nicely around the waist without digging in or rolling up during dynamic movement.

With a mere 3-inch inseam length, they provide a snug fit around the glutes while granting complete freedom and promoting airflow to the rest of your leg. Although the color options are limited to black and charcoal, they seamlessly complement most gym outfits. Pair them with your favorite Nike weightlifting shoes, such as the Savaleos, and you have yourself a stylish and functional lifter outfit.

Pros

  • Collaborative design between two industry leaders (Nike & Rogue)
  • Tailored to fit female contours
  • Made from Nike’s original Dri-FIT fabric
  • Flat waistband, no rolling up

Cons

  • We’d like to see more color options

4. Under Armour Men's HeatGear® Compression Shorts

Men's HeatGear® Compression Shorts

Our Ratings: 4.7

Textile Quality: 5

Comfort: 4

Elasticity: 4

Protection: 4.7

Design: 5

Value for Money: 4

It’s hard to find a fitness gear top list that doesn’t mention Under Armour at least once. UA is well-known in the weightlifting world for some of the best compression apparel on the market. These shorts are the first choice of both professional and recreational weightlifters.

  • Material: UA HeatGear® (polyester & elastane)
  • Inseam: 6 inches
  • Length: Depends on the size
  • Sizes: Regular (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL, 4XL) & Tall (SMT, MDT, LGT, XLT, XXLT, 3XLT, 4XLT)
  • Rise Style: Mid rise
  • Color palette: Black, White, Gray, Brown, Green, Lime, Royal, Navy, Blue, Red, Dark Red, Orange, Light Blue

These shorts are made from Under Armour's original HeatGear® fabric, which offers a snug fit, moisture-wicking properties, and multi-directional stretch. It's also quick-drying and can be machine-washed if needed. There's a convenient drop-in pocket on the right side for holding items like a smart device. The regular-sized shorts have in inseam length of 6 inches, while the Tall sizes have 8 inches.

What's notable about these shorts is their versatility. There are 13 different color options to choose from, and they come in both Regular and Tall sizes, offering a total of 15 size options. The waistband is wide and features the recognizable Under Armour logo. Moreover, despite the quality and brand, these shorts are surprisingly affordable.

Pros

  • Made from UnderArmour's original HeatGear® fabric
  • The wide elastic does not dig into your skin
  • Biggest selection of sizes
  • 13 different color choices

Cons

  • With so many sizes, it can be confusing to find your ideal fit

5. Neleus Men’s Performance Compression Shorts

Budget Pick

Neleus Men’s Performance Compression Shorts

Our Ratings: 4.6

Textile Quality: 4

Comfort: 5

Elasticity: 5

Protection: 4.5

Design: 4

Value for Money: 5

For our budget pick, we chose the Neleus Men’s Performance Compression Shorts. If you don’t care too much about the name brand and want something that works well for the price, these shorts are an excellent choice. 

  • Material: Polyester, Spandex
  • Inseam: 8 inches
  • Length: Depen
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL
  • Rise Style: High rise
  • Color palette: Black, Gray, Blue, Red, Navy, White (3-packs)

These shorts, like most quality compression wear, are crafted from elastic, quick-drying fabric that wicks away sweat, inspired by Under Armour's HeatGear®. They provide a snug fit for your leg muscles and feature a highly stretchable waistband that won't dig in.

One of the noteworthy positives of these shorts is their exceptional price. Sold in packs of three, they come at a considerably lower price compared to name brands. Additionally, you have the option to choose from single-color or multi-color packs to suit your style. Sizing is available up to 3XL, ensuring a comfortable fit for larger athletes too.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Comes in 3-packs
  • Multiple color combinations

Cons

  • Sizing is atypical, so watch out for the sizing chart

6. Brooks Source Men’s 9” Short Tights

Brooks Source 9" Short Tights

Our Ratings: 4.5

Textile Quality: 4

Comfort: 5

Elasticity: 5

Protection: 5

Design: 4

Value for Money: 4

Last but not least, we have the Brook’s Source men’s weight lifting compression tights. With a slightly longer inseam, these will fit great for taller athletes or those with naturally longer legs.

  • Material: Polyester
  • Inseam: 9 inches
  • Length:
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Rise Style: Mid rise
  • Color palette: Black, Navy, Asphalt

Brooks is renowned for their high-quality running shoes and gear. While these shorts are primarily designed for outdoor running, they also offer good muscle support for resistance training. They come with convenient drop-in pockets on each side, providing easy access to essentials near your dominant hand.

The fit is comfortable around the legs, and the inner drawstring allows for easy waist adjustment. The seamless side design ensures a chafe-free workout experience and reduces the risk of tearing on the sides.

Even though the material is breathable and sweat-wicking, it’s worth noting that these shorts are predominantly made of polyester. This, combined with a slightly higher price compared to our top picks, may affect their overall value for money.

They can be machine washed, but be cautious as they may bleed color if washed with fabric softener. It's advisable to wash them with dark synthetics, especially when they're brand new.

Pros

  • Two side pockets
  • Inside drawstring for waist adjustability
  • Chafe-free seamless design
  • Excellent for cross-training

Cons

  • Made entirely of polyester

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What Are Compression Shorts Good For?

Compression shorts are tight-fitting athletic shorts made from an elastic material meant to tightly wrap around (compress) and support lower-body muscles, particularly the thighs and glutes. They are commonly used by athletes involved in sports and/or exercises that require generating force from the legs: running, cycling, basketball, weightlifting, martial arts etc. Here’s how they work and why they’re beneficial:

1. Muscle Support

Compression shorts apply gentle pressure to the muscles, which can possibly help reduce muscle oscillation (vibration) during weightlifting — resulting in greater stability and control over your movement.

A study examining the impact of thick compression shorts on vertical jump performance revealed a significant improvement in mean power output when participants wore the shorts compared to not wearing them.

So, how does this translate to weightlifting? Simple: the major muscle groups involved in jumping are also the ones that activate during popular weightlifting exercises. They mainly include the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

Therefore, it can be equally beneficial to use compression shorts for squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts. Additionally, both movement types activate core muscles for stability and power transfer, which is essential for both lifting heavy weights and executing explosive movements like a vertical jump.

Olympic lifts especially benefit from this effect, as they incorporate both lifting the weight and jumping to add explosive power — another good reason to use Olympic weightlifting shorts.

2. Muscle Awareness

Closely tied to our previous point, the tightness of typical lifting compression shorts results in enhanced muscle awareness. This creates a sort of feedback loop between your muscles and brain, allowing for a heightened sense of proprioception.

Proprioception is the body's ability to sense its position and movement within space without needing to look at the body parts used. 

For weightlifters, this is extremely beneficial as it aids in utilizing proper exercise techniques, enhancing spatial awareness, refining balance and coordination, and reducing the likelihood of injury.

It’s particularly advantageous for beginners, as they often tend to look down because their brain subconsciously seeks visual feedback to comprehend what actions it needs to take.

Looking down may help you start the movement, but it requires bending your spine, which can compromise exercise technique and balance.

3. Improved Blood Flow

Just as with muscles, the snug fit of thick compression shorts gently applies pressure to the blood vessels, leading to improved circulation and the benefits mentioned above.

This enhanced circulation allows oxygen and nutrients to reach the muscles more swiftly, resulting in increased energy, reduced fatigue, and improved performance in physical activities.

Additionally, it maintains high blood flow even during periods of rest, ensuring sustained readiness and facilitating better energy recovery during downtime.

Research looking at the effects of compression sports apparel found that it stimulated blood flow, muscle oxygenation, and venous return (the repetitive journey blood takes from the muscles back to the heart).

The same study also concludes that weight lifting compression tights were most effective, possibly due to a larger area of coverage. These effects are especially important during powerlifting, where athletes typically go through short periods of vigorous exercises followed by long cooldowns.

4. Faster Recovery

The study examining the impact of compression clothing on athlete performance and recovery produced the following results: when worn for post-exercise recovery, compression garments demonstrated modest to moderate effects in terms of enhancing strength and power recovery, reducing muscle swelling and perceived pain, improving blood circulation, and “managing” body temperature.

Faster blood circulation improves lactate removal and it can be really important in many cases, as blood lactate production rises with the intensity of the exercise. Lactate forms when the body breaks down glucose for energy in the absence of sufficient oxygen, which the body uses as an additional fuel.

From this, we can conclude that wearing weightlifting compression shorts can affect recovery in the following ways:

  • Quicker and more efficient recovery between sets, reducing muscle fatigue and failure, and better potential for maximum reps or weight lifted.
  • More effective post-workout recovery, enabling a faster return to exercise and mitigating the risk of overtraining injuries during subsequent workouts.
Best Compression Shorts for Weightlifting

What to Look for in Compression Shorts for Weightlifting?

1. Stretch

Compression shorts should feel tight, but the material itself must be stretchable. It should not restrict your range of motion. Lycra or spandex, which are blends of polyester and elastane, are your safest bets and most commonly used.

2. Breathability

Quality compression shorts are made from breathable materials, meaning you should feel airflow around your lower body when wearing them. Additionally, they shouldn’t raise the temperature underneath while you’re idle. Some shorts have strategically placed mesh pockets for additional breathability.

Pro Tip:

Weightlifting is a demanding sport that often pushes your clothing without you even noticing it. The right apparel can truly make a difference with both exercise comfort and performance. One must consider the following factors when choosing the best compression shorts for weightlifting:

3. Sizing

Picking the right size for your lifting compression shorts is crucial for both comfort and effectiveness. A size too big might fit too loose, defeating the purpose of the shorts, while a size too small may fit too tight, compromising the material durability and even restricting movement and blood flow.

4. Moisture-Wicking Material

Moisture-wicking materials pull sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry and preventing overheating beneath your weightlifting compression shorts. This helps prevent discomfort and chafing during intense workout sessions.

Female Compression Shorts for Weightlifting

Do You Need Different Compression Shorts for Different Activities?

The majority of compression shorts are designed to be versatile and suitable for activities ranging from weight lifting to cardio. It's important to check labels though, as manufacturers may specify their intended purpose.

Basically, unless you have shorts specifically designed for a specific sport like cycling shorts with extra padding or some specific suits for lifting, most of the compression shorts you can use for “all” sports.

Put simply, they can be used interchangeably, you can use the same pair of your Under Armour that you usually use as powerlifting compression shorts, for cycling sessions, basketball, martial arts or Cross training.

Length of the shorts if not chosen because of the weather/environment  will be more a personal preference rather than a specific intervention.

Weightlifting Compression Shorts

FAQ

Should You Wear Underwear Under Compression Shorts?

No, compression shorts work as your underwear replacement. Wearing a regular pair of, for example, cotton underwear will defeat the purpose of breathability and moisture-wicking of compression shorts.

Do Compression Shorts Stop Chafing?

Yes, compression shorts effectively prevent chafing by serving as a protective barrier between your skin and clothing. This helps maintain skin dryness and shields it from the friction caused by loose clothing.

Is Compression Clothing Good For Weightlifting?

Yes, by squeezing the muscles and blood vessels in your body, compression clothing supports your muscles, stimulates blood flow, and facilitates faster recovery, among other benefits.

Do Compression Shorts Help Build Muscle?

Not significantly. While compression shorts may not directly stimulate muscle growth like adding extra weight to your reps, they do offer some benefits that enhance exercise performance and recovery, just keep in mind that in your regular gym lifting sessions besides extra comfort (which is important) you should not expect fireworks.

Conclusion

Those are the best compression shorts for weightlifting to get. The Virus Men’s Compression Shorts are our highest recommended buy, but do check out the other picks for their unique upsides.

Weightlifting compression shorts provide small aid in ways of muscle support, improved circulation, and faster recovery, among other benefits but it won’t be a game changer, most importantly they improve comfort during lifting weights which can make a difference and it’s more than enough to justify their use.

We’d also like to hear from you. What's your favorite weightlifting exercise? Also, do you use compression apparel to enhance your workouts? Let us know by leaving a comment and remember to follow our social media pages for more informative fitness content.

References:

  1. Dennis-Peter Born, Billy Sperlich, Hans-Christer Holmberg, “Bringing Light into the Dark: Effects of Compression Clothing on Performance and Recovery,” International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 8, no. 1 (2013): 4-18.
  2. J.L. Taylor, “Proprioception,” Encyclopedia of Neuroscience 2009, 1143-1149
  3. “How to Prevent Chafing During Hot Runs,” Asics,
    https://www.asics.com/us/en-us/blog/how-to-prevent-chafing-during-hot-runs.html (accessed 19 Oct. 2023)
  4. Shane F. O'Riordan, Rod McGregor, Shona L. Halson, David J. Bishop, James R. Broatch, “Sports compression garments improve resting markers of venous return and muscle blood flow in male basketball players,” Journal of Sport and Health Science 12, no. 4 (2023): 513-522.
  5. Stanley Brown, Walter Thompson, John Bailey, Kent Johnson, Larry Wood, Mark Bean, Deon Thompson, “Blood Lactate Response to Weightlifting in Endurance and Weight Trained Men,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 4, no. 4 (1990): 122-130.
  6. “What Is Nike Dri-Fit?” Nike
    https://www.nike.com/help/a/nike-dri-fit (accessed 19. Oct 2023)
  7. William J. Kraemer, Jill A. Bush, Robert U. Newton, Noel D. Duncan, Jeff S. Volek, Craig R. Denegar, Paul Canavan, John Johnston, Margot Putukian &Wayne J. Sebastianelli, “Influence of a compression garment on repetitive power output production before and after different types of muscle fatigue,” Sports Medicine, Training and Rehabilitation 8, no. 2 (1998): 163-184.
  8. Young D. B., “Venous Return,” Control of Cardiac Output, Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences; 2010.

Why Trust Our Reviews? Our product reviews are meticulously curated by a team of seasoned athletes, certified coaches, and sports nutrition experts, boasting more than 20 years of collective coaching experience. In our mission to promote Olympic weightlifting and strength training, we engage in comprehensive testing and evaluation of weightlifting products and supplements, making certain that only the utmost quality items meet our rigorous criteria.

We take a hands-on approach, procuring and personally testing these products in gym settings, affording us genuine insights into their performance. Our credibility stems from the expertise of experienced athletes, supported by authentic photos and videos, offering you dependable assessments tailored to athletes of all skill levels.

Jacek Szymanowski

Author: Jacek Szymanowski

Performance architect, S&C movement specialist.

Jacek Szymanowski is a highly respected sports nutrition expert with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology. His innovative approach combines lifting and fighting strategies to help athletes optimize their performance. As a Strength and Conditioning Movement Specialist, he is dedicated to reducing injuries in athletes. His specialist training in Nutrition for Athletes equips him to provide expert advice on dietary habits and nutrition for peak performance.


Sergii Putsov

Reviewed by: Sergii Putsov

PhD in Sport Science, Olympic weightlifting, Strength & Conditioning coach and fitness expert

Sergii Putsov is a professional weightlifter with over 20 years of experience and multiple national medals. He was a member of the National weightlifting team, competing in the 94 kg weight class. Sergii holds a master’s degree in Olympic & Professional Sport Training and a Ph.D. in Sport Science. After his athletic career, Sergii transitioned into coaching and is now responsible for designing training programs, writing blog articles, providing live commentary for international weightlifting competitions, and hosting sport and fitness seminars worldwide.

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