Compression Shirts: Holding Fat (or Loose Skin) In Place While Working Out

Should you wear compression shirts when working out? Let’s discuss pros & cons.

Working out is great for your body, mind & soul. It helps you feel more positive about life.

For those who either carry extra weight, or have lost a good deal of weight, fighting the movement (shaking) of extra skin or fat during cardio workouts can be troublesome.

This reader wrote in, curious what compression shirts would help him keep things in place while working out:

I have read through some of your posts and have a question more about holding the fat/loose skin in place for a cardio workout rather then just shaping.

Do you have a recommendation for a compression top for men (259#, 6′) that would allow me to be more active with running and jumping and feel like half my body is fighting me.

Thank you for you time.


Compression Shirts

hey steve,

good to hear from you buddy and thanks for your question!

in my experience, the light (or standard) “compression” athletic shirts don’t do a great job in holding things in.

of course wearing them is better than wearing nothing at all.

but if you’re looking for true support, they won’t usually perform well in that area.

my recommendation would be to visit, and look through their different compression levels.

i have several undershirts from them, and they definitely offer a good deal of hold-in support.

if you need a cheap-o alternative, you may want to find a compression shirt on amazon (link), and size down one size. you may need to remove the sleeves if the armholes are too tight on the smaller size.

hope it helps!

Adding Cardio. Body Hurts.

Steve writes back:

Thank you for your quick reply!

I have lost 140lbs so far.

I want to loose the last 40-50lbs but lifting is just not cutting it anymore.

So I started to do some cardio and walking and light jog are ok but anything above that hurts.

Thank you for the recommendation and I will look into it.

Have a great day!

Loose Skin & Compression Shirts

Here’s some great images of a young man who lost a lot of weight. He uses compression shirts to keep his excess skin in place.

Youtube (link)

A man showing his excess skin before wearing compression shirts. This man uses compression shirts to keep his excess skin in place.

Low Impact Running. Good Cardio, Happy Body

heya steve,

my pleasure buddy.

wowza!!! 140lb weight loss is so incredible — congratulations (:

i wrote an article about something similar a while back, so i figured i’d share the article with you:

outside of that, i do want to make a recommendation that may help you.

while i don’t have excess skin to deal with, i have a bad knee that prevents me from doing high-impact cardio workouts.

because of this, i have to keep my cardio workouts very low impact.

as you could expect, one of the things i do is use the elliptical, since it’s much kinder on my knees than walking or trying to jog on the treadmill.

i wanted to make sure my body didn’t get used to my workout.

so i started incorporating some treadmill time into my workout.

the problem i traditionally have with walking on treadmills, is that you can’t get your heart rate up unless you jog/run or set the incline pretty high.

the incline is pretty hard on my knees, so something occurred to me to try out.

what i do now on the treadmill, is that i will use my arms to support myself up, and i will increase my speed (or the speed of the treadmill) so i can get up to a jog or a full run.

i do this in intervals of 10, 20, and 30 seconds intermittently, over my 40-minute cycle.

by supporting myself, i don’t put the hard pounding on my knees, but i still get the benefit of pushing my heart rate up to a pretty high point.

my gym has a really cool self-powered treadmill called the curve, by woodway.

that treadmill allows me to use my arms to prop myself up, and then run to the speed i want, without having to worry about speeding up or slowing down the treadmill.

but, you can do this on powered treadmills too, you just have to be a little careful not to crash and burn while adjusting the speed (:

in essence, it’s low impact running.

also, it helps tone my arms some too, since i’m basically holding myself up while i’m running.

i’m throwing out this idea of low-impact running because it may provide a good cardio work-out that doesn’t cause your skin to move around as much as it would if you were full-on running or jogging on the treadmill.

that coupled with compression shirts could also be a great combination.

if you decide to try it, i’d love to hear back from you and hear about your experience doing that.

Low/No Impact Treadmills

While my gym doesn’t carry these, there are some high-end low-to-no-impact treadmills.

One is called the Orbiter which boasts a near $12,000 price tag, and there’s also GlideTrak.

Another is called the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, which looks pretty expensive as well.

I doubt the mass-market gyms would be able to carry any of these products due to their cost. But for those needing some special training equipment along these lines, it may be worth a closer look.

There are some low/no-impact trainers, which are good alternatives — like the commercial Precor AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer) which I have at my gym and the no impact running cardio machine from Octane Fitness called the Zero Runner (ZR7).

These are good alternatives. But I still feel I get a slightly more intense cardio workout on the Curve Treadmill, propping myself up, than I do on the Precor AMT.

Final Thoughts

Compression gear can be a great friend while working out.

It doesn’t matter if you’re carrying extra weight, or you’re just looking to reduce the stress on your muscles from the shock of some higher impact activities.

I’m not saying it’s the end all to be all, but if you need the extra assist, combining compression shirts with low-impact, high intensity cardio workouts can help you keep your stuff in place, and shed those last few unwanted pounds.

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