Photo: VadimGuzhva

What to Wear for Indoor Training

Improve your workouts with the right apparel and footwear.

No doubt, you can wear just about anything for an indoor workout. But if you train hard and want to get the most out of the effort, a few key pieces can make a big difference. Here’s what to look for, whether you’re training at home or in the gym.

Footwear

Running shoes will work fine for most indoor workouts, but you might want to upgrade with one of these options.

Minimalist shoes: Footwear with minimal structure (sometimes called barefoot shoes) allows natural movement of the feet. Minimally cushioned, highly flexible shoes help your feet get stronger along with the rest of your body. Wearing them to weight train, do plyometrics (like box jumps), or other movements can also help build proprioception (awareness of your body’s position, and balance) and overall body alignment.

Weight-lifting shoes: For light- to medium-weight workouts, choose a shoe with cushioning that’s firm but not too thick. You want the shoe to allow your toes some wiggle room, and you want the shoe to flex for moves like lunges and heel lifts. For heavy weights, weightlifting-specific footwear is recommended. These types of shoes have an elevated heel, firm cushioning, and support to help maximize your power.

Agility shoes: If your indoor workout includes dance or anything with a lot of lateral movement, you’ll want a shoe with a supportive upper that will hold your foot comfortably and safely in place. Avoid sloppy-fitting shoes that allow your foot to slide around on top of the footbed. You also want a shoe that’s low enough to the ground to keep you feeling agile. Too much cushioning can feel tippy and make it easier to roll an ankle.

Photo: Jacob Lund

Tops  

A comfortable, wicking T-shirt is all you need for most workouts. Here’s what to look out for. 

Tank top-style: This might be a good choice simply to avoid overheating, but tanks also offer a functional advantage. They allow you to see your arm and shoulder muscles when working out in front of a mirror. This is not for vanity’s sake—it helps you achieve proper form when lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises.

T-shirt: If you’re more comfortable in a tee, just make sure it’s stretchy enough to move with you, doesn’t hinder arm mobility, breathes well, and doesn’t chafe. You can get away with cotton or cotton-blends when doing low-sweat workouts, but for higher energy workouts, you’ll want a technical fabric, like a polyester blend, that wicks sweat and dries quickly.

Pockets and zippers: Avoid shirts (and sports bras) with zippered backs, or knots, or other fancy features on the back. Indoor workouts often include floor work where you lie on your back for crunches, or stretches, or any variety of moves. Having a lumpy, pokey feature on your backside won’t feel good.

Cord management: If you’ll be working out while wearing corded headphones, it’s nice to have a top with cord management loops. (If not, run the cord underneath your shirt so it doesn’t get in your way or get caught on anything.)

Bottoms

Shorts, capris, or tights will do. It’s best to make sure that whichever you choose doesn’t have a zippered back pocket for the same reason mentioned above. Also look for the following features. 

Built-in compression shorts: These shorts underneath shorts (often called “2N1 Shorts”) offer modesty when stretching or doing full-range exercises like lunges. They also add muscle support.

Phone pocket: This is great if you’ll be listening to music or just carrying your phone. No pocket? A waist pack made for running works well and can also store your gym card and locker key. 

Phone Stand

If you’ll be doing workouts following instructions from a phone app, a stand that holds your phone upright will be welcome. 

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.