I’ve been a regular gym-rat for most of my adult life. While I’ll occasionally do a cardio interval session if outside weather isn’t cooperating, I dedicate most of my gym time to lifting weights. Dressing for lifting shouldn’t be hard, but based on what I’ve seen dudes wearing in the weight room, it seems some of you need some help. Here’s what I wear to the gym for lifting days and why. You’re welcome.


While a lot of guys like to wear compression shorts under their loose gym shorts, I’ve found that shorts with built-in liners are the best all-around short solution. If you work out during the day and need to change back into work clothes, shorts with liners allow you to not have to worry about schlepping an extra pair of underwear. This also means you’re doing less laundry and your underwear will last longer between washing sessions. If you only go to the gym once or twice a week, this may not be a big deal, but when you’re going 3+ times per week, it adds up. An added benefit for frequent travelers is that gym shorts with liners are great trunks for pool sessions at hotels. Our pick: The Under Armour Launch Stretch-Woven 9” shorts, complete with pockets ($37.99).


I’m boggled by the number of men still wearing cotton T-shirts to the gym. I cringe at the thought of peeling off a sweaty cotton shirt after a tough lifting session. Don’t do this to yourselves, guys. Get yourself a moisture-wicking, cooling, breathing tech shirt for the gym. Actually, no, don’t do that. Get yourself a ton of these things in different colors for different days of the week. Get some without sleeves to show off your guns. Get some in black for when you’re bulking up and feeling a bit pudgy. Either way, get yourself some. Our pick: The C9 Champion Men’s Tech T-Shirt. These can be had for as little as $6 at your local Target ($6+).


I used to wear super short, no-show socks because of my running days. Lately, after several bouts of scraped shins from deadlifting days, I’ve turned to crew socks. Even better, the look is starting to stick – you’re sure to see more guys sporting these things these days than ever. They’re comfortable, are easy to grab and tighten, and they’ll keep your calves warm in overly air-conditioned gyms. Our pick: The Classic Crew Light from Stance. They’re come in a fun variety of patterns and colors and are insanely comfortable ($12)


Most guys think their running shoes are perfect for everything they do at the gym. They would be wrong. When you’re doing compound core lifts like squats, deadlifts, and overhead press, you want a good platform from which to launch. Running shoes tend to be squishy affairs designed to bounce you forward. When lifting, however, you want a no-rise flat platform from which to push. You can go with standard flat sneaks like Vans or Converse, but if you want to take things to the next level, you’ll want Our Pick: The recently resurrected Adidas Adipower Weightlifting Shoes ($179).