Fuck Compression Tights

By Mike Warkentin

In Equipment

March 10, 2013

PDF Article

Mike Warkentin believes special equipment will never take the place of practice and effort.

I have little use for the gear debate about which shoes are better for which workout, whether tights help anything at all, which speed rope is best, what wicking system will keep my crotch drier, or whether I’ll produce 2 percent more power lifting off plywood instead of stall mats.

Who the fuck has time for this?

I like gear. I regularly buy things I don’t need for my gym, but deep down, I know I probably don’t need to mess around with the safety-squat bar all that often. I probably just need to squat.

I also know a brand new speed rope isn’t going to improve my double-unders if I don’t practice with it relentlessly.

I honestly think that much of the time spent worrying about equipment could be better spent practicing, and I think any minute performance gains might be overwhelmed by simply trying harder during a workout. Could you push 2 percent harder in any workout?


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40 Comments on “Fuck Compression Tights”


wrote …

The title of this article hurts my feelings because I bought a new pair of compression tights last week.
What should I do?


this is a great article. And my wife thinks she coined the term "Placebo Dust" for the chalk bucket. I think she and you are correct.


wrote …

FML lol


wrote …

Fuck yes lol!!!


wrote …

I could both relate to, and resemble this article... Now I'm off to sip my gourmet pre-workout cocktail of which a month's supply is equal to another CrossFit monthly membership!


replied to comment from Edward Hughes

But on the flipside I've also been working out in the same 5 pairs of shorts for 3 years, so I pick my battles.


wrote …

Haha... Agreed. Love how direct this article is.


wrote …

Mike this is fucking awesome. Well done, as always sir. May the jump ropes disintegrate at your will, and may Vibram Five-Fingers disappear from the face of the earth.


wrote …

Dude! Seriously, you really need to lay off the compression bashing. Say what you will about ropes, shoes, yada, yada, yada, but I looovvveee compression stuff. What? No, not for my ever lovin', overweight, masters division, never gonna' get a 3 minute Fran behind. It's for all those other behinds out there. (If Camille, or Christmas start showing up in sweats I'm holding you personally responsible.)


wrote …

That was fun!


wrote …

This made me laugh big time. At the end of the day do the work and hit the showers.


wrote …

LOL I like it when people rant its awesome!


wrote …


Wear the damn tights then!

The article was not targeting equipment, but the trend of equipment buying itself. (Most) all of the equipment that people use has a functional application. Mike say's it perfectly, "... a brand new speed rope isn’t going to improve my double-unders if I don’t practice with it relentlessly." If you're an Olympic lifter, you wouldn't spend $1000 on an Eleiko competition barbell before you've mastered your movement with a $5 piece of PVC—and even then tens-of-thousands of reps on a standard barbell. For instance, think to yourself: "Would I benefit more from this $80 speed rope, or 80 minutes of double-under practice" or, "would I benefit more from these $100 recovery tights or sitting down every day for 10 minutes and working on mobility".

I know compression gear has it's great advantage as I swam "competitively" from age 4-18. Although I had some great races in expensive suits, one of the greatest feelings was stepping up in a finals race, wearing a regular speedo while the next 10 lanes are wearing compression/speed suits, and beating every one of them. I know I could have had a slightly faster time if I wore then same suits that cost them (read: their parents) several hundred dollars— for a race that would last less than 50 seconds. It felt amazing knowing that I trained and worked harder than everyone in the race, and it all paid off.

You should not use equipment as a short-cut or crutch; money and equipment will never trump raw training and practice— in CrossFit at least.


wrote …

Classic Mike.

Now where can I get some of that chalk?


wrote …

Love it... The barefoot lifting part of my psyche loves the article(e.g. Screw vibrams just lift in socks, it has always worked for me!). My inner gear whore hates the article. Macho at 25 may leave you banged up at 40... As someone nearing 40 (like me) can attest.

All kidding aside I think certain elements of safety equipment are needed in certain circumstances. For example, I have had 4 knee surgeries and wear my Rehband knee sleeves nearly always. Raw is great but I see people with wrist pain refusing to wear wrist wraps because "it will make them weak". No, it won't make you weak it will keep your wrists from getting pissed off. Also, people refusing to wear gloves who have a nasty rip.

Like most things there just needs to be a little common sense applied to the situation. Also, screw compression gear just wear some thin long underwear if you need the warmth.


wrote …

I lost it reading about throwing the jump rope against the wall. I've done that...more than once.

Just the other day I said, "I think I need a longer rope." You know what though, you are absolutely right. I simply need to practice more. One more inch won't make a difference if I never practice!


Dustin Kreidler wrote …

It's the same issue we always end up fighting: Looking for the easiest way to improve by a 1/2%, while forgetting that the other 99.5% comes out of blood, sweat and tears, not necessarily in that order. Working with kids classes, this will become a repeated theme: the equipment (mostly) doesn't matter; only the work matters.

And frankly, unless you're actually in (or trying to realistically qualify for) the World Series of Fitness... does the .5% even matter? Did the shoes really move my Fran time from 7:45 down to 7:43? Does it even begin to matter?!

That said, my favorite line from the article:
"What shoes are you going to wear for this workout?"
"Comfy ones that look bitchin'. "


wrote …

Excellent! My inner demons still battle though. I NEVER use chalk, but I always bring my inov8s; I love my cotton tees, and always use my special socks; never tape my hands, but always take my fish oil; never use a belt, but always pee pre WOD!!


wrote …

It would be great if CFJ remained WFS, at least in its article titles. (and corresponding Facebook posts)


wrote …

Love this.


wrote …

.. hilarious


Absolutely agreed. This was a great article, full of truth. But at least drop the F-bomb from the title, or gimme a F$%#, so I don't have to lunge at the screen so my kid can't see it.
This was an awesome article. Great information, and full of truth. It is not authentic because of the shock language, but because of the content.


Joseph Alexander wrote …

This article is totally awesome...what a fun read. Made me laugh my ass off. Fun for the whole family!


wrote …

Mike - Enough said my friend!!
"...if you believe in the placebo effect—and I don’t fault you if
you do—then please contact me for the ultimate workout
chalk." I got loads of chalk when Mikes out... because we know you'll run out!! LMAO


wrote …

Great stuff Mike. We have the same philosophy, grip it and rip it!!!


wrote …

As the owner of 4 compression bottoms, 4 compression tops, and 4 pairs of workout shoes, I believe I need 4 bars of your specialty chalk. Ocd??? Nooooo
Love my gear but will never forget it only helps me do more stuff more often and the stuff is what counts. Great article!


wrote …

Good and Bad...
Yes,we all need more practice and should be pushing that 2% harder every WOD.
But if Compresaion tights/sleeves, or different shoes or recovery tights or whatever the gear is allows us to train that much harder with better form. And possibly take less recovery days through the year; doesn't that extra training that the gear helps with or allows make it worth it?
Whether the reasons are scientific or just placebo effects, either way I will take the help were I can get it.


wrote …

Great Article,

I was just saying the same thing to a friend a few weeks ago. It seems like the "movement" has gone from this cool underground culture where people worked out in garages and basements with minimal equipment to a mainstream fitness program where you need the latest Reebok shoes.

I thought the whole premise was that it is supposed to make you face any given challenge in life with greater ease . . . but that's kind of hard to do if you need to take a moment to get the right gear on before you do it.


wrote …

I like this tid-bit,
I'm sure it might matter in the big numbers (ie. Squatting 600+ lbs). But for the rest of us who just want to live a long and healthier life; simple gimmicks like these "Compression gear" need not apply. Although, I do use my Vibrams for EVERYTHING fitness related and my legs are destroyed after volleyball. But maybe that's just me.


wrote …

My favorite lifting shoes are an old pair of oxfords that got too banged up to wear with my dress casual to work. They're perfect--no padding at all, half-inch wooden heels. Plus they look great in shorts with white tube socks. Need another repair with Liquid Nails, though; one of the soles is flapping around again.


wrote …


Sure, some things have more value than others, but it can be easy to lose sight of what actually gets you fit......Intensity.


wrote …

So good and so true! I'm sticking with my 5 fingers though, I love them for everything but double unders.


wrote …

Lol.. Fuck em!


wrote …

Very disappointed to see an article titled with the F-bomb. I assume that somebody got a giggle out of it, but its unnecessary.


wrote …

Very disappointed to see an article titled with the F-bomb. I assume that somebody got a giggle out of it, but its unnecessary.


wrote …

Long live Chuck Carswell's black Chuck Taylor's!


wrote …

Loved this article. Totally on point. Recently, Rogue came out with the Bamboo bar - I love the idea of this, but have no idea how much benefit I would see from it. And certainly not enough (for me) to justify the price. So I made my own. Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/61829008.


Parker Robbins wrote …

Great article.


wrote …

Has anyone tried these compression pump devices for faster recovery? They are getting popular and range in price from around $500 to $5000. Check out the RevtiaPump www.revitapump.com or the PowerPress Pump on Amazon.com.


wrote …

I had to wear Compression stockings because of trombosis and I'm glad to be rid of them after two years. I'll never wear them ever again.

So Love this article :)

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