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Ask a Young Woman: What are the best pants to lift weights?



Dear Swole Woman,

This may not give you enough meat to really sink your Swole Woman's patriarchy cooks (and the answer might just be on IG and not in your actual column), but: What are good Pants to train those are not leggings or the lil booty shorts? How, track pants? Jogger? Any recommendations or links to stylish women's IG accounts are welcome. Thank you for your column, you are the reason why I can almost lift my body weight!

– Karen

It's hard to overestimate how confident I was when I first started lifting . I wore literal layers in the gym, shorts over leggings, hoping to attract as little attention as possible. After a while, I realized that nobody really cared what I was wearing, and as we know, no amount of clothing will scare off people who have the will to harass you (moreover, there was almost no harassment, and it turned out In essence, I was invisible to other people in the gym, which is all I ever dreamed of!). Now I'm one of the monsters who are into leggings and a sports bra.

BUT. But. I'd just like to briefly point out some of the practical reasons people wearing a lift often wear those garments that are just right for them to look great – not to argue with you, but to illustrate just a few of my experiences workout clothes.

While loose clothing is comfortable, it can be more easily caught or tangled in dumbbells, pulleys, plates, braces, etc. that you find in a weight room. Loose clothing hides your body, which makes it harder to see if your shape is correct. With a baggy shirt, it's hard to look down and see what your lower body is doing during a deadlift. The fact that you can see everything in more form-fitting, stretchy clothing actually has a functional benefit. Secondly, even if the clothes are loose, there is a chance that they may assemble and restrict themselves during certain movements in all wrong places. Squatting in loose sweatpants that can not move with you and tie in the creases or restrict your buttocks can actually be more uncomfortable than squatting in a stretchy leggings. Similarly, if the clothing is snug but not stretchy, like a pair of cotton joggers, lifting can cause it to expand strangely.

After all, wearing stretchy, tight-fitting clothing does not stand in the way of a leg hole that hangs open while you're lying on a bench so you accidentally let someone flash. It's not even about being in uncompromising positions. In many gyms, there are mirrors everywhere, and in the end, people see strange angles they are not even looking for (this happened to me when I once wore loose sofi shorts on a leg press, never again!).

Next, thanks to all the above points, there is always a whole bunch of guys working in compression pants and shorts without other coverage in my own gym (which is fair and more athletic than aesthetically oriented) I do not think so they try to show their tailprints (necessarily); Stretchy fit pieces really make many of the practical lifting elements easier for anyone, regardless of their biology or geometry, and I think many people make that transition not out of narcissism, but out of some kind of necessity. We are a traveling people, and we come in peace.

Now to your real question: There are certainly alternatives! For the reasons mentioned above, I would argue against non-stretchable sports pants and joggers, at least if you do something with your legs. Stereotypically, men's sportswear is a good starting point for inspiration. no reason to limit yourself to the wear and tear of women. If you want to wear loose shorts, I would recommend looking for mid-length shorts that are stretchy, preferably with one of these underwear-like mesh liners. Honestly, I would copy some of them from Nike or these from Mizuno . It's a bit more complicated to find lined or two-ply shorts, but they're out there. I would suggest something like these sweet ones by Lululemon .

You could do this yourself and make a loose short on a customized booty short, but then you pay for two of your own shorts. One way to accomplish this would be to invest in mostly loot shorts because they are closest to your body and are likely to need more frequent washing, and loose trousers to overwhelm them when you're exercising. You may prefer longer cut training pants that will never trigger the sausage-leg effect of short shorts rolling into your crotch. These or these look comfortable. Always look for a gusset in any matching undergarment and buy the correct size to avoid camelina symptoms. Sheer fabric in the buttocks can be a problem with short shorts and leggings. However, if you wear a dress, you do not have to worry. There are a handful of options that should suit your needs here and a set of shorts with matching fit here .

In the same direction, if you go with trousers, even loose Look for a fabric that stretches; Here is such a pair of A7 and another option from Target . You can throw a rock on fitness Instagram and hit like 10 sports brands. since I am a confident leggings person, I have not personally tried one of these products. I'd like to point out that many of them tend to be underpriced / under-dimensioned, disappointing, and even care to look for stretchy, ideally fourfold stretch fabric and some length in loose shorts and / or or lining up, so it's harder for them to open up to the world.

Well, footnotes for my leggings / spandex shorts: Some of my favorite cheap workout clothes were found only with Old Navy and Target random Amazon finds. The Joylab of Target has a plus-size line and Old Navy also carries oversize . Now that I've had pieces of both for years, I find that they're pretty high quality for the price: crushed and no bleeding in the buttocks during the squats. Although I have some fancy fitness clothing, and lifting is not a contact sport, any metal parts you deal with can endanger your Lulus or Alos. So, if you're going to do something like deadlifting, literally running a knurled barbell against your (covered, non-nude) shins, I'd be careful if you take your pretty things to the gym. Wear at least a pair of knee socks or something over a nicer leggings to avoid pulling on the fabric.


Casey Johnston is editor of The Future's Future section and a competitive powerlifter with a degree in applied physics. She writes the column Ask a Swole Woman for SELF. You can find them on Twitter: @caseyjohnston .


Letters to the AASW are edited by length and context, and the content of each AASW column is the author's opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the authors SELF or SELF editors.


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