What Are Compression Shirts?

By Rob Harris

Compression shirts use a strong, stretchy material to provide balanced pressure across your upper body. These shirts do more than help you show off your muscles. They also wick away sweat and help you maintain an even body temperature while you exercise. Although compression shirts have been touted to improve athletic performance by increasing blood flow to the muscles, study results are mixed.

Compression Shirt Effectiveness

Compression shirts wick moisture away from your body, unlike cotton shirts that absorb moisture and become damp. This feature helps you stay warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. Antibacterial versions also reduce the smell usually associated with sweating. The pressure applied by the shirts has been shown to help increase blood flow to the muscles in your upper body, which aids them in functioning efficiently and reduces soreness and recovery time after exercise. However, there are no definitive studies that show wearing a compression shirt improves performance, such as in terms of the amount of weight you can lift or how far you can throw a ball. These shirts work best while they're still relatively new; the more you wear and wash them, the less compression they're likely to offer, according to research scientist Maria Urso.

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