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Workout Pants 101: The Squat Test and Beyond

Are your workout pants a disaster in the making? Despite a very famous scandal involving yoga pants that turned a little too sheer when you bent over, a few manufacturers still haven't gotten their butt coverage completely dialed in.

That's the bad news. The good news is that with a simple squat test and a little savvy shopping, it's easy to make sure that your workout pants really do have you covered, even when you're in the middle of a deep squat or downward dog.

The Squat Test

First, let's talk about the famous squat test, which simulates the most revealing moment in the gym before you leave the safety of your home. Believe it or not, this starts with your underwear: Make sure you wear the same undies for the "squat test" that you're planning to wear in the gym, then find a mirror that'll let you get a good look at your own backside.

Put the workout pants or leggings on, then squat or bend over and take a look in the mirror. Does your underwear or skin show through the fabric of your pants as they're pulled taut by the squat? If anything shows through, either the fabric on your pants is too thin or the pants themselves might be cut a little too small.

This is also a great chance to check a few other fit points: The waistline of the pants should stay put, with no underwear (or backside!) showing above the hem. And if the fabric on your pants sags or tugs strangely when you do a few other stretches, like lunges or high knees, it's a sign that the fit probably won't hold up over time.

If your workout pants pass this squat test, there's one more angle to consider: lighting. Make sure you do the squat test in either direct sunlight or the light from a flashlight, because either light source will reveal weaknesses in the fabric that might not be obvious in the typical lighting at home.

Going Beyond the Squat Test

Now that you know how to tell if your workout pants might let you down, here are some tips for choosing workout pants that will pass that all-important squat test:

Start With the Best Fabric

The thicker the fabric on your workout pants, the less likely your goods will show through — especially after a few dozen washings.

Don't worry, you can still get soft, sleek-looking fabric that's thick enough to hide your underwear. Look for wicking, synthetic materials, because they're less likely to show embarrassing sweat stains then cotton.

The very best pants will have four-way stretch fabric, which lets them give more in every direction without turning sheer. Here's a bonus: The four-way stretch also heads off the tears or strained seams that can come up with repeated wear.

What Are Your Pants Made For?

Guess what? Some pants just aren't meant to stand up to the demands of repeated deep squats, lunges or downward dogs. Running tights, for example, are made for things like reducing friction and cooling down your body, not for protecting your modesty when you bend over. But that doesn't mean you need a different pair of pants for everything you do. If you get something versatile like a solid pair of yoga pants or leggings, they can go almost anywhere — including the squat rack in the gym.

Do you dream of a world where you can buy workout pants without having to worry about whether your underwear or skin will shine straight through the minute you bend over? We do, too! That's why we created YogaClub, where you can receive high-quality, squat-proof workout clothes in the mail every month. And they're cute, too! Take our style quiz and get started today.