How Tight Should Compression Shirts Be? A Comprehensive Guide

Written by: SA1NT Layers



Time to read 3 min

"…if you want to take your performance to the next level, no matter what your game is, compression clothes are the way to go."

Getting the right fit is pretty important if you want to get the most out of your compression shirts. Too loose and you're basically wearing a normal t-shirt. Too tight and you can barely move. So how do you find that sweet spot?

A compression shirt should be tight throughout the entire fit, applying gentle pressure to your chest and torso, with firmer graduated pressure on the arms. However, it shouldn't be so tight that you start to feel uncomfortable and your movement is affected.

That's the quick answer, but there's so much more to wearing a compression shirt! So keep reading to discover all the awesome benefits of compression garments if you plan to up your athletic game.

The Science Behind Compression Shirts &Clothing

So how does it all work? Basically, compression garments exert pressure on the muscles and venous system to help increase blood flow and potentially aid the delivery of oxygen to your muscles. This can result in better endurance and decreased muscle fatigue during exercise, allowing you to perform at your very best.

When you wear compression clothing it supports your muscles and reduces muscular vibration. This helps to reduce the swelling and soreness that often comes from pushing yourself, which may prevent the dreaded onset of injuries and cramping.

So if you want to take your performance to the next level, no matter what your game is, compression clothes are the way to go. Check out our guide on what compression sleeves do for more detailed info on how compression can help improve sports performance.

Measuring for the Perfect Fit

While you should always refer to the size chart listed on a manufacturer's website, here's a quick guide on measuring your fit for different types of compression wear.

  • Compression shirts: Measure around the fullest part of your chest.
  • Compression shorts: Measure the widest part of your hips.
  • Compression stockings: Measure around the thickest part of your calves.
  • Compression socks: Compression socks usually fit true to size, so go with your normal fit.

The Benefits of a Properly Fitted Compression Shirt

Wearing compression clothing only enhances performance if you have a quality brand and wear them right, otherwise you might as well be wearing normal gym clothes! We've already mentioned how wearing the right compression clothes can help enhance athletic performance and improve recovery, but that only happens if you're wearing them correctly, and the quality of fabric and garment can deliver adequate pressure. Remember not all compression is created equal, so take the guess work out with a market leader like SA1NT Layers.

A tight-fitting compression shirt will support your muscles and enhance blood circulation, particularly in the arms, supporting your body during an intensive workout. It also prevents chafing while allowing your muscles to recover faster. A well-fitted compression shirt will help make sure that your body is always ready for that next round.

Compression & Muscle Oscillation

Signs of a Good Compression Shirt Fit

  • The compression shirt feels snug but without any discomfort.
  • Pressure is distributed evenly across the torso, with graduated pressure increasing down the arms
  • You still have a free range of movement.
  • The fabric feels smooth across your entire body without bunching up.

Balancing Comfort and Compression

When you first try on a compression shirt it's going to feel tight. Really tight. You might be initially thrown off by the snugness of compression shirts, which is totally normal.

Compression garments need to be tight so they can do their thing, but there still needs to be a balance between effectiveness and comfort. You might find that going a size up works best for you, and that's completely okay. It's about what works best for you as an individual.

So if you're just breaking into the world of compression wear, try on different sizes and see what works. Compression shirts are meant to feel like a second skin but sometimes that takes some getting used to.

Compression Leggings

Putting Compression Shirts to the Test

Compression shirts are a relatively new phenomenon that's still being researched, but the science has produced some compelling results so far. A 2014 study tested the effectiveness of compression garments on nine trained men performing resistance exercises.

The results found that those wearing compression garments had a significantly faster recovery time. Within 3-8 hours after exercise, their upper body muscles had recovered much faster than the group wearing normal workout gear.

The ongoing research into compression shirts is continuously changing the game, and athletic wear will continue to evolve as we discover more about the benefits of compression gear.

Check out the full range of SA1NT compression gear for the latest in modern athletic wear.

Compression & Performance

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