Why You Shouldn’t Wear Underwear When Working Out

By Kendra Whittle
Aug 15 2023

Why You Shouldn’t Wear Underwear When Working Out

Because…laundry. Because…wedgie. Because…breeze is nice. OK. End of article now.

Kidding, kidding. There is actually more to say about the ultra-important undie debate. A lot more. And it goes beyond panty lines on your favorite Barbell Beauties gym shorts (but let’s be real, these llamas are adorable and they don’t need lines). 

So here I stand, for the point of argument’s sake, staking a flag in Club Commando. And here are the reasons you should (with commentary with others from our Barbell Beauties Facebook community – y’all had me cracking up! You’re the best!).

It’s Better For Your Health

For care down there, some doctors argue bare might be best. According to Dr. Jodie Horton in a recent Popsugar Fitness article notes that sweat and underwear mix in the worst way possible – they provide a yummy, warm, moist, hospitable environment for yeast and bacteria to grow and thrive. The undies add an additional layer of fabric that can trap moisture and lead to irritation (think: itching and burning). Ew. 

It gets worse, especially in summer. According to the Urology Specialists of the Carolinas, as the temps rise and your body naturally sweats more and makes you more susceptible to that aforementioned bacteria growth, which can lead further to a nasty UTI. And FURTHERMORE – if you’re going to break a sweat, don’t sing the Thong Song. They tend to slide back and forth, causing additional friction and heat (UTI-city), and can draw bacteria from the anus to the vagina and urinary tract.

As Nicole Valezquez succinctly put it, “I hate underwear, to begin with, but I can’t imagine the amount of wedgies you’d get from working out.” 

Me either, Nicole. And so much more uncomfortable than that…

Frankly, It’s More Comfortable

Because there’s nothing beneath your leggings to bunch, ride up, sag, or generally be a nuisance! 

Zoe Bottrill points out, “So much less readjusting needed.” 

Dolores Reed Little takes honesty a step further. “I got tired of digging my undies out of my crack while at the gym (talk about embarrassing looks!),” she confesses. She’s not wrong…

Not to mention, the undie-free freedom can help you be more flexible in your movements due to less discomfort – which can be especially nice when you’re doing gymnastics movements where you can’t readjust easily (looking at you, toes to bar and muscle ups) or movements with lots of up-downs (BURPEES. ‘Nuff said).

You’ll Smell Less

Sweating in your vaginal area is just par for the course during a CrossFit workout. And perspiration allows skin bacteria in those areas that grow hair, which leads to body odor. Without the extra fabric barrier to trap that smell close to your body, you *should* technically have less of that stink. 

THAT BEING SAID – that means your leggings or your yoga pants will take the brunt of that sweat and *ahem* other bodily fluid (is this a good time to mention you’ll still want to don undies during your period? If not – note that here). And that’s a breeding ground for infection as well/ So strip off those sweaty clothes IMMEDIATELY after getting home, wash after every use, and shower off (for goodness sake). But, really…you should be doing that anyway…

It Just *Might* Protect You From Injury Down There

According to an article by Healthline, tight underwear made of artificial fabrics can chafe and irritate the labia, which is made up of delicate tissue similar to that of your lips). That chafing/irritating can damage skin and expose your to injury, bleeding, or even infections.

So, why risk it?

But, If You’re Going to Go Commando, Consider…

  • Don’t wear tight clothing. As Steph Falls reminds us all, “When going commando… please make sure your pants aren’t sheer in the rear.” Also, as Kate Gillroy’s story teaches us, “One time I backfired when I ripped my leggings in the crotch…”
  • Wash your gym clothes. Every. Single. Time. Bonus points for using a delicate or fragrance free detergent.
  • Darker clothes *might* be your friend. 
  • Still wipe down equipment you sit on. Rowers, assault bikes, GHDs. Please. In fact, just do that all the time – commando or not. 
  • Look for bottoms with strategic stitching to prevent, well, you know… I like these shorts from Barbell Beauties in every color. 

If You’re Still Wearing Underwear…

The decision to go commando or don a fresh pair of undies is a personal choice. And underwear still can have its place in the gym – if that’s what makes you comfortable. But here are some moments where it might be good to have little somethin’-somethin’.

  • When you’re on your period
  • When your pelvic floor is weak, like after having a baby. Which also begs the reminder – have you done your kegels today?
  • When you have a major athletic event, like a marathon or triathlon. But select your pair carefully to avoid chafing. 

Experts recommend if you’re going to wear underwear at the gym, to select pairs that are the following:

  • Cotton or a sweat-wicking material
  • A brief or hipster style (avoid thongs. See above.)
  • Clean. Every single day. 

We asked The Barbell Beauties Facebook community for best underwear options, and here are a few faves:

The commando vs. undies debate rages on in the Barbell Beauties Facebook community. Come join in!

1 thought on “Why You Shouldn’t Wear Underwear When Working Out”

  1. I have been going commando For a few years now and it’s way more comfortable and healthier. Thank you for this article it is spot on!

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