There’s a lot more to getting fit than counting reps and grams of protein. Choosing the right clothes can completely transform your training experience. One essential article of fitness clothing you should add to your closet is the classic compression shirt.
Compression shirts are designed specifically for exercise. Depending on the brand, some even keep your muscles warm and engaged during a training session. As a result, you’ll experience less muscle exhaustion during your next HIIT, strength, or cardio session.
Some big-name companies claim that their compression shirts might help speed up recovery, so you’ll be less sore after each workout. A compression shirt might also help sustain a good posture to help you breathe better while running or performing other cardio exercises.
Today, we’ll cover the top seven compression shirts for men in 2020. Many fitness pros use these to maximize their results at the gym, so let’s see how you can too!
Top 7 Best Compression Shirts for Men in 2020
1.) SKINS Men’s A400 Compression Short Sleeve Top
This product by SKINS offers maximum performance using the company’s signature DNAmic gradient compression. The gradient compression combined with the biomechanical panels increases blood circulation and delivers oxygen to your muscles during and after your workout, boosting your overall performance and aiding with recovery.
The multifunctional HeiQ Technology assists with regulating your body temperature to reduce sweating. Whether it’s cold or hot outside, the SKINS Men’s A400 Compression Short Sleeve Top will keep you at the right temperature to maximize your training all year round.
However, the shirt length is a bit long, and if you have a shorter torso, that could be an issue. After all, you want a compression shirt, not a compression tunic!
Even so, overall, this is a great compression shirt that offers a range of different benefits while training. Its strong point has to be its intuitive design that helps essential muscle groups recover faster post-workout. Check price here.
2.) Wonderience Compression Shirt for Men
Looking for a shirt that will improve your posture, reduce sweat, and help burn more of that stubborn belly fat? The Wonderience Compression Shirt for Men does just that and more.
This shirt reduces gynecomastia and sweating around the chest area, giving you the comfort and confidence you need to power through an epic training session. It even has steel bones on the backside that support proper posture while you train.
There’s a nice zipper in the front of the torso, making it extremely easy to put on and take off. The fabric is 60% nylon and 40% spandex, offering maximum comfort in or out of the gym.
You can wear the Wonderience Compression Shirt under any form of exercise clothing, including yoga and cycling gear. The only downside is that, because of the steel boning, it can't go in the washing machine.
Altogether, this is an ideal shirt for just about anyone. The material is comfortable and reduces sweating while the two steel bones promote better posture and reduce muscle fatigue. Check price here.
3.) Nike Men’s Pro Cool Compression Shirt
Since you’re dealing with a leading fitness brand like Nike, you know you’re getting good material. It's sweat-resistant and easy to keep clean.
Some people claim that the Nike Men’s Pro Cool Compression shirt is too tight and hard to put on. With that in mind, a well-functioning compression shirt should be a bit on the tighter side, but only to some extent.
Knowing that this shirt by Nike runs a bit small, it would be wise to order one size larger, but the cooling material is well worth the trouble. Even if you’re going for a jog on a hot summer day, you’ll still feel cool enough to continue.
When trying to find high-quality athletic clothing, you can’t go wrong with Nike. The Pro Cool is both comfortable and highly effective, and it’s a safe choice for anyone. Check price here.
4.) Baleaf Men’s Compression Base Layer
Baleaf is a global sports brand that produces high-quality sportswear, including compression shirts. You can get a similar quality you’ll find at big-name brands for a fraction of the cost, making them a budget-friendly choice for those looking to upgrade their training experience.
The Baleaf compression shirt fits perfectly with your body and has a suitable torso length to prevent roll-up. Its material is completely sweat-wicking and reduces body odor during and after a workout.
However, much like the Nike Men’s Pro Cool Compression shirt, the regular size is slightly tighter than average, so you might need to order one size up.
Baleaf is an economical choice if you’re trying to save when buying your next compression shirt. The reviews are positive, and the quality is still outstanding. Check price here.
5.) Defender Men’s Thermal Compression T-Shirt (Long Sleeve)
It’s tough to find a comfortable, stylish, and affordable compression shirt that’s suitable for the winter months. That is unless you’ve stumbled upon the Defender Men’s Thermal Compression T-shirt.
Whether you’re going for a run, snowboarding, or playing any outdoor sport during the winter, the Defender Thermal compression shirt is the perfect base layer to keep you warm and eliminates the need for bulky layers. It’s incredibly lightweight, and the polyester fabric fits tightly around your body.
Unlike many other compression shirts, the Defender Thermal is machine washable. On the downside, it also has a shorter trunk than most, but the long sleeves offer total coverage.
The Defender Men’s Thermal Compression T-Shirt is everything you need to stay active in the winter months. Check price here.
6.) Insta Slim Muscle Compression Tank
Compression shirts aren’t just for the gym. Sometimes you need something to keep you comfortable and sweat-free at work, school, or around the house. The Insta Slim Muscle Tank does just that with its elasticity and soft fabrics.
One notable thing about the Insta Slim Muscle tank is its impressive length. It provides enough torso and trunk coverage to make it suitable for tall people, which is tough to find in other products. It also comes in a pretty impressive range of sizes—you’re sure to find a perfect fit!
These compression tanks are a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for, which in this case is high-quality materials that provide ultimate comfort and mobility.
Whether your goal is to crush it at the gym or stay comfortable at work, the Insta Slim Muscle Tank is a great under layer to keep your performance high. Check price here.
7.) Under Armour Men’s Heat Gear Sonic Compression T-Shirt
Just like Nike, Under Armour is known worldwide for its high-end sportswear. The Heat Gear Sonic T-Shirt is a compression shirt for serious athletes.
Aesthetically speaking, this shirt does a fantastic job of showcasing those hard-earned muscles. From a performance standpoint, the firm fabrics are a bit tight, but they provide the compression you need to maximize your performance.
One fantastic feature about this compression shirt is that it retains its stretchiness and compression even after you wash it. We do feel it gets a bit hotter than other compression shirts, but it still reduces sweating and body odor somehow.
Under Armour is another household name that continuously produces top-notch fitness gear. Its Heat Gear Sonic T-Shirt is another example of why Under Armour is leading the fitness world. Check price here.
Complete Guide to Choosing Compression Shirts for Men
You might have an idea of what kind of compression shirt you want, but here’s a quick breakdown about the different styles and how they can benefit you.
The Tight Fits: If your main goal is to look good while working out, the thin, stretchy compression shirts might be the best choice. They do a great job of showcasing abs, biceps, and chest gains. However, these are generally better for those who already have an athletic build.
The Cover Ups: Sometimes, excess body fat in certain areas can make you feel self-conscious, and that’s normal. Specific compression shirts are great at making your chest and stomach appear flatter, giving you the confidence you need to crush your next workout. Also, these shirts are designed to help reduce gynecomastia or man boobs.
The Hardcore Compression: All compression shirts offer compression, right? Well, some compression shirts are a bit more intense than others. In this case, they not only help you feel more comfortable or look better during a workout, but they also aid your muscles during recovery.
Choosing the Right Length
If your goal is to shed a few pounds of fat, you’ll want to choose a compression shirt that’s a tad bit longer than your average t-shirt. The reason being is that long compression shirts are more comfortable to tuck in and won’t roll-up while training.
Some companies make use of unique materials that prevent roll-up, one of them being the Wonderience above.
Find a Shirt That’s Easy to Put on and Take Off
There’s nothing worse than getting stuck inside your sweaty gym shirt after a long workout. With that in mind, most compression shirts are tight and can be tough to get into and take off. However, the best brands have a way around this problem.
If you want to avoid this frustration, find a compression shirt with a zipper on the front side of the torso. This way, you can slip in and out of it at your convenience. The only downfall is that the zipper is easy to spot if you have a tight outer layer.
Armholes Are Everything When Choosing Your Next Compression Shirt
Sometimes compression shirts can make unwanted areas appear bulgier. One place where this occurs is the armholes. Luckily, many brands design their compression shirts to minimize this effect. To be safe, make sure the armholes are placed high up on the shirt. Also, look for the appropriate sleeve length to prevent bunching in the underarm.
Compression Clothing and Recovery
After every workout, your muscles need to recover. The strain of heavy lifts and build-up of lactic acids causes damage to the cells. Your body needs to heal this before you can train again.
The recovery is an extremely important part of the training cycle. This is when your muscles become stronger and bigger than they were before. So while you might think your progress depends on better exercises or supplements, it's more likely that you are not recovering optimally.
There are 4 phases in the muscle recovery process.
- Nourishment and hydration brought in by the blood supply.
- Flushing waste products through the lymphatic system
- Regeneration through Myokine production and release
- Remodeling of the repaired tissue.
Phases 1 and 2 are critical before the actual muscle building can begin. And the speed of these phases depends on how good your circulation is.
More circulation means more nourishment and better waste removal. Less circulation means your muscles will be starving and poisoned by their own waste products.
This is where you can greatly benefit from a compression shirt.
Compression shirts and pants were originally developed to improve circulation for people with medical problems. They work by creating a varying pressure gradient over your body. You can think of it as extra motivation for the blood to flow to the muscles that need it the most.
When you wear a compression shirt, more blood will flow to the muscles helping with the nourishing and hydration of your cells.
And the compression also stimulates the lymphatic system to remove more waste. It's like a double-edged sword but in a good way!
That is why professional athletes so often use compression clothing. They know the importance of recovery all too well. Faster recovery means more gain and less pain. And who doesn't want that?
So, if you want to increase the recovery and growth of your upper body, you can't go wrong with a compression shirt.
Compression Shirts and Performance
Many professional and serious amateur athletes report that they perform better with compression apparel. If you go to the gym or race, you are sure to see people wearing it.
But how much of this is really true? And how much is perception?
So far, there has been no conclusive evidence of increased performance.
A study involving rugby players in 2008 by the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance didn't see any improvements in performance metrics from using compression garments.
The players did feel like they were able to perform better, though.
In 2013, the same journal did another test and found moderate improvements in specific movements like jumping and sprinting. They also found positive effects on recovery like lower DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), less swelling, and better lactate removal.
The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine studied the effect of posture improving compression garments on cyclists in 2014. Many of the test subjects said that they felt they were able to perform better. They felt their posture was better and they recovered faster. They also felt less discomfort in their spines after long rides.
Even though scientific evidence is still not clear, you can't ignore the many people claiming great results.
Let's take a look at what compression garments can do to improve athletic performance.
The first benefit is better circulation. The pressure on your body parts makes it easier for your blood to flow to the extremities. It also helps the lymphatic system to remove waste products.
More blood flow means more oxygen. This can help your muscles to work longer and harder. It can also help recover in between sets.
Another benefit of compression clothing is increased joint stability. Many people experience more stability and better movement patterns. They also feel like they are less likely to get injured when they wear compression gear.
If you do activities that require great body awareness, you might also benefit from leg or sleeve compression. The skin is the most sensitive body part and the tight clothing helps you feel better where your limbs are. Your coordination will be better, and you will be less likely to lose your balance.
Many people also experience a better posture when wearing compression clothing. And manufacturers also produce specific men’s compression shirts that correct posture.
If you struggle with keeping a good posture during your workouts, this might be a great solution. Bad posture is a major cause of sports injuries and long-term health problems.
And lastly, a great number of athletes report that they feel faster and stronger compared to wearing normal sports clothing. Feeling faster and stronger helps build confidence and motivation and that leads almost always to better performance.
Compression Shirts FAQ
Do Compression Shirts Really Help You with Recovery?
In short, a compression shirt promotes blood flow to particular areas after an excellent workout. During exercise, your blood pumps pretty hard, so it’s normal to have limited blood flow post-training. This little boost from the shirt can tremendously help your muscles with the blood they need to recover properly.
Also, it will engage specific muscles during a workout. This helps other areas recover and reduces the chances of forming overuse injuries. If you want to get top performance in the gym, aim for a shirt that offers hardcore compression, like the Nike Men’s Pro Cool Compression Shirt above. For more information, read the section about compression clothing and recovery.
When Should You Wear a Compression Shirt for Recovery?
If you want true compression, you should wear your shirt for a few hours after your workout. These are the hours when good blood supply is most critical to give your muscles all the proteins and energy for fast recovery.
The first phase of muscle recovery is the delivery of nourishment and supplies. During this phase, the increased blood flow from the compression is very helpful.
It’s important to know that your body can adapt to the shape obtained from your compression shirt, so try not to wear them for too long.
Will a Compression Shirt Make My Skin Tighter?
Although a compression shirt won’t tighten loose skin, it will make working out with loose skin more comfortable. If you’re concerned about your loose skin, the right long sleeve compression will protect you from bouncing, jiggling, and painful rubbing.
Conclusion: What Is the Best Compression Shirt for Men?
No doubt finding the right compression shirt will drastically upgrade your fitness experience. It can help keep you cool, warm, comfortable, healthy, and looking good while working out. Just remember that you need to consider your goals if you want to choose the best one.
For those who want to look good, there are plenty of tight-fitting compression shirts that will expose your muscles and keep you comfy while hitting the gym. If you need something more optimal for comfort, find one that’s easy to put on and take off.
Once you have your goals in mind, choosing the right compression shirt will be a piece of cake. Be sure to look at all the features closely before buying, as the last thing you want is to be stuck in a tight, sweaty shirt!