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The Ultimate Gym Buddy: Which Type of Underwear is Best for Working Out?

It’s just like a spotter — only for your frank and beans

It’s amazing to think that just a couple of generations ago, men only had three distinct options when it came to undergarments — tighty-whities, boxer shorts and jockstraps

Personally speaking, my first experience with jockstraps was as memorable as it was unpleasant. As a locker room attendant during my initial stint at the executive club of Bally Total Fitness, I was obligated to routinely wander into the men’s room, cart the bins full of club-loaned T-shirts, shorts, socks and jockstraps past the pool and through the door leading to the laundry-room area. From there, I would don a pair of rubber gloves, sink my hands deep into that hot, steaming collection of fetid undergarments and shove them into the washing machine, all while holding my breath. For the life of me, I could never figure out why a man would want to wear a jockstrap that was likely to have secured a substantial selection of sweaty sacks. 

But hey, that was years ago now (and the jockstrap wasn’t exactly the one to blame). So while the stench may never leave me, I can certainly still explore all of the options that are available to men for safeguarding the most sensitive parts of their anatomy while working out.

I’m a classic briefs man, and I don’t see what the problem is.

Oh really? So how come I can see you vigorously clawing away at your crotch from all the way over here? Classic cotton briefs do exactly one thing well, and that’s hold water. Seriously — cotton can hold 25 times its weight in water. This may come in handy if you want to soak up a spill on the floor, but as you consider how effortlessly your cotton towels constrain water, remember that this is also a fair representation of what your cotton briefs are doing with the sweat that pours forth from your privates — collecting every drop of it the same way Mr. Game & Watch collects your projectiles in Super Smash Bros. — and then using it against you (also like Mr. Game & Watch). However, there’s nothing even remotely entertaining or humorous about the jock itch festering in your undies.

So rather than wasting valuable fitness time fumbling around with a fungal infection in your frontal region, you may want to lean on an underwear option that doesn’t leave your gym pants feeling like they were just used to mop a floor.

That’s fair. So what about boxers? Those should be perfect. After all, aren’t they designed for boxers?

You’re taking that title a little too literally. Boxer shorts received their name because they emulated the boxer-style trunks that replaced leather-belted boxing trunks in the 1920s. However, aside from resembling the trunks worn by fighters, there’s nothing about boxers that’s designed to aid athleticism. In fact, the looseness of traditional boxer shorts has made them famous for their tendency to allow your valuables to hang and swing freely. This is a favorable attribute in terms of the general comfort it provides in casual settings, but also a regrettable characteristic when it’s time to showcase some vitality. Not only are your goods likely to flop around uncomfortably, but they’re also more likely to find themselves pinned or trapped if they don’t quite manage to work their way clear from the rest of your anatomy during a burpee

Yikes! That’s the sort of tug my manhood could certainly do without! So what should I wear?!

You only really notice your underwear when it’s inviting calamity into your workout, and so, your best bet is to go with the option that’s going to eliminate the three primary sources of underwear discomfort — tightness, moisture and a lack of support.

To simultaneously redress all three of these groin grievances, you’re going to want to get yourself a reliable set (or several sets) of sport boxer briefs. An ideal set will park your package securely away from the rest of your limbs, while also possessing moisture-wicking fabric that reliably maneuvers the perspiration away from your parcel. Also, I’m sure you’ll agree that adding some odor-fighting agents to that fabric would be advantageous as well.

Always remember, the key to recognizing the greatness of your workout undergarments is when you fail to notice that you even have them on. Speaking of which, we failed to address the option of going “commando” in the gym, but I don’t know that this is really a viable option. Not only does it fail to correct any of the problems that emerged when we initially mentioned your unmentionables, but you’re definitely going to be suffering from a noticeable lack of support. And, if anyone else notices your lack of support, you might lose your gym membership. 

Sometimes it’s best to leave your package wrapped.