How does tight sportswear affect performance?

It’s quite tight, but supposedly increases performance: compression garments. But what exactly is the purpose of the tight functional clothing?

You see them more and more often in the gym and some athletes swear by them: compression clothing. Whereas compression stockings used to have a dusty senior image, a real hype has now broken out around functional clothing with a compression effect. Whether running, cycling, weight training or swimming – compression garments are now found everywhere.

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Compression clothing – how does it work’s?

This form of sportswear describes tight-fitting trousers, stockings, shirts or even full body suits that exert a certain amount of pressure. This is intended to facilitate the venous return of the blood and thus improve performance, accelerate regeneration and also reduce the susceptibility to injury.

What are the benefits of compression garments?

Bei Kompressionskleidung ist vor allem eines wichtig: Wohlfühlen. One thing is particularly important with compression garments: feeling good. © Mooshny /

Opinions are divided on this – also in science. Although some studies confirm the effect of compression, it cannot be clearly proven due to the varying quality of the research results. One thing is certain, however: the venous return flow of the blood has been unanimously proven. Compression clothing is useful for long-distance runners, for example, who can use special stockings to support their muscles and blood circulation.

This often makes them feel more enduring and also allows them to recover more quickly after sport. In addition to the objective findings of science, it is therefore clear that the subjective feeling when wearing compression garments is more important. The keyword here is well-being. Because if you feel good in your sportswear, then you have better conditions to perform even better.

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Does compression garments help with weight loss?

Press into tight sportswear and automatically slim down? I wish. But compression garments alone have never made anyone slimmer, of course. Only in connection with sports can tight sportswear have an indirect effect on your weight loss success by stimulating the metabolism and thus boosting fat burning. But to put on functional clothing just to lose weight is nonsense.

Finding the right functional clothing

The guarantee for a perfect fit is a correct body measurement. This is usually easiest with compression shirts, as they are similar in size to normal T-shirts. For everything else, suppliers provide size tables. When buying compression stockings, for example, you should consider gender, shoe size, calf and ankle circumference at the ankle.

How do I wash my compression garment?

Make sure that the compression garment fits properly and is tight. © Jacob Lund /

You have decided on compression garments and have already tested them extensively in sports, but now the question arises: How do I wash them properly? The important thing is not to wash the high-tech fabric too hot. The best way is to use a gentle wash cycle at up to 30 degrees.

Why does functional clothing stink of sweat?

No matter if scientifically proven or not – as long as compression garments have an effect on your well-being and motivate you during training, the super-tight parts are definitely recommended!