In the past few years, we got used to seeing a good number of NBA players wearing a long pair of tight shorts or even full-length leggings under their shorts. Today, we’ll take a deep insight into why do basketball players wear leggings and what benefits to our game could we expect from it.
First of all, these leggings are called compression tights or shorts. They’re supposed to absorb sweat, warm the body and benefit the prevention of muscle strain and allow for maximum blood flow during and after the activity.
Compression garment has been studied for years to help athletes improve performance and comfort, and with time it’s grown in popularity, especially in the basketball world.
Unfortunately, the appliance of tights in basketball has turned from performance and support to mere aesthetics.
For example, AAU players started to wear them because of their NBA role models, and it’s not a rare case that the NBA players wear it to cover up for imperfections they may have.
I have compression pants (exactly this Under Armour model) and compression sleeves. Pants are for running, cycling, or playing basketball and sleeves are for one of my hobbies – rock climbing.
I noticed that they keep my muscles warm between activities (for example, when I go from gym to basketball court), and help in preventing muscle fatigue. Good enough for me.
Without further ado, let’s get to the point. We’ll now go over seven reasons why basketball players wear compression tights and why should you too.
1) Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
So-called muscle fever can appear around two days after exercise, especially with activities that contain much eccentric contraction (e.g., gym work). Genetics is a substantial factor here, along with sleep and some other biological stresses.
Medicine, for now, can’t explain delayed onset muscle soreness. Massage is what many basketball players believe that helps, along with taking ibuprofen to edge the pain. If you happen to have excessive DOMS, you’re maybe vitamin D, or you lack sleep.
Using compression tights during the training session can help reducing muscle oscillation and therefore micro-tears that cause delayed muscle soreness.
With proper nutrition, basketball players manage electrolytes and glycogen easing soreness after exercise. It is also believed that curcumin (consuming orally, 2.5 gram, twice daily) reduces it, but there is still more research to confirm it.
2) Prevents deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
It is a condition that happens when blood clots form in veins. DVT usually hits lower legs or even tighs, and it can really happen to anyone, no matter how old.
Deep vein thrombosis causes swelling and pain, and the skin may feel warmer than usual. Those who had some kind of surgery or trauma are in greater danger, as well as smokers and overweight folks.
There was a study with 1681 people that showed compression garments help especially after surgery, as only 9 percent of those who were wearing compression leggings under their shorts developed DVT and 21 percent of those who didn’t.
This is a dangerous condition, as a blood clot can go all the way to lungs and block an artery. Doctors usually recommend compression pants to reduce swelling and improve blood flow.
3) Extends the benefits of stretching
Sometimes the basketball game goes into OT, and there’s more of playing time. Since most of the players stretch at the beginning of the game, muscles can get tight as the game goes on.
Interesting way of looking at compression tights is that it helps extending advantages of stretching throughout a game.
When there is a lot of stoppage time (e.g., time-outs), players might get cold, and compression garments do a pretty good job of keeping them warm.
4) Keeps everything in place
Except for performance reasons, many basketball players love to wear compression leggings to keep everything in place.
It can be pretty uncomfortable to run in boxers and shorts when your little buddy dances around like it’s on an open field. Besides, people notice stuff.
Keeping your genitals in check and pressed against your body will save you from discomfort you might feel when running and jumping.
Some compression garments are made with padded sections which are another great thing, so don’t hesitate, you’ll feel so much better during the competition. No matter if you’re a professional or just playing pick-up, compression tights are the way to go.
5) Compression tights can ease injuries
They can, that’s for sure. That’s like a secret benefit of wearing compression tights. If you fall, at least you got something under your shorts.
When a basketball player is knocked down or needs to run and dive for the basketball, compression garment can ease the fall.
Usually, these kinds of dives would give you a nasty burn due to court’s grip made of hardwood.
And as we already mentioned, padded sections are an excellent addition to compression garments. If you want extra protection, you can have it.
6) Compression pants maintain body temperature (keep you worm)
The body is using sweat to cool down itself. Since compression tights keep body temperature, it means they help in faster cooling of the body.
With that said it’s logical to conclude that compression sleeves and pants keep the body warm. And in sports like basketball, which requires sudden bursts of strenuous activity.
After exerting a sudden force on a muscle, there’s a higher possibility for injuries. This, in turn, keeps the muscles loose and can help basketball players not to strain or pull muscles.
What are the leggings that basketball players wear?McDavid 748X Teflx ¾ – Pro athletes use 3/4 length tights for expanded coverage and the compression benefits of muscle stabilization/warmth
7) Some say it just feels right (comfort)
Some basketball players don’t even think about benefits when wearing this kind of garments. When you think about this one, it does make sense.
For them, it’s enough that they feel good in them, play good, and while they are injury-free, they don’t change a thing.
Except for comfort, they look good in compression tights, and they don’t even care how other people will perceive them for wearing them.
Basketball players are people, just like everyone else. And no basketball player is the same, remember that. What may work for some players, won’t work for others.
What compression tights won’t do for you
After we mentioned benefits compression tights bring, it’s time to hear what they won’t do for you.
First of all, they won’t help you perform better.
None of the compression garments won’t serve you regarding actually playing better basketball. You won’t run faster, you won’t shoot better, you won’t jump higher.
You will though play better if you stay injury-free, and they can help you with that.
Secondly, compression gear doesn’t guarantee that you’ll stay injury-free.
There’s always a way to get injured. You can twist your ankle, get nose broken by accident or fall while diving for the basketball.
You’re never completely safe.
And finally, they won’t make you look that much better. At least by my experience. Try it, see how you feel. But don’t ever wear them just for the aesthetics.
And by the way, it takes time to adjust and get used to compression leggings, especially if you’re used to baggy shorts and boxers underneath. Go slow, give it time.
What are compression tights made of?
It’s 2018, and all kinds of compression shorts and tights for basketball players overflooded the market. They’re produced in different colors and sizes, but the material stays the same.
Quality compression tights are made of tight and stretchable to allow for support, whether it’s about your thighs or lower legs.
Elasticized material that clings close to the body is known to be snug, and can’t get wet or sweaty. Compression gradually applies the most pressure to critical areas.
Best brands use a cloth with antimicrobial properties and some resistance. The goal is of course to extend the tights’ lifespan.
What you should look for in your basketball compression shorts
When searching for perfect basketball compression tights that will actually fit you, there are some features you should look at first. Remember that the choice should come down to how comfortable it feels when you get used to wearing them. It’s important to give yourself time to adapt.
Choose sweat-wicking fabric which won’t become smelly due to sweat exposure. It will keep you cooler and healthier.
Basketball players wear all kinds of compression tights, some like shorter, some longer. If this is your first time thinking about compression garment, choose short compression tights first. It’s less of a shock if you haven’t wear them yet, and you can always order full-length when you get used to this kind.
- Style and color
If you’re in the team, it’s best that all teammates have the same manner and color shade.
If you’re buying alone, make sure that the colors go well with the color of a basketball uniform.
No matter what, invest in quality.
The most compression and durability comes through the garment of a higher price range. It is what it is.
Of course, you will find cheaper compression tights on the market, but don’t be surprised if they end up in the garbage can too soon. Invest in your health; it’s a much safer option.
We hope you’re now aware why basketball players wear compression tights under their shorts. As you can see, compression pants are not some miracle that will solve all your problems. It’s like any other training gear – it has its benefits and a few negatives.
We’re positively sure that it keeps your muscles warm, which in turn leads to better execution.
We can also agree on increased blood flow, as the Australian study from 2011 showed on runners and triathletes example.
Some studies reported inconsistent findings, but that’s fine too because, as we know, science doesn’t stop. We’ll know the answers soon enough, and Improve Hoops crew will make sure you know about them too.
And don’t be pressured by naysayers who say that this kind of gear will alter your sexual orientation. Those are the ones who are most insecure about their own sexuality.
To learn is it worth to invest in custom-made basketball mask if you need one and what are the best protective face masks right now, in this article we dive in deep into the subject so make sure to check it out.