Are Stringers Good for CrossFit? A Closer Look at Their Benefits

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CrossFit is synonymous with high-intensity training that pushes the boundaries of physical performance. The right attire can make a big difference in these grueling workouts. 

Our favorite high-performance top that has always been popular with the CrossFit community is the stringer, also known as a gym tank top. 

But why are gym stringers considered good for CrossFit? In this article, we explore the benefits of this minimalist workout top, as well as some of its limitations. Read on to discover if a stringer could be the key to enhancing your CrossFit performance.

What are Stringers?

A stringer is a sleeveless shirt designed for workouts and athletic activities. Stringers are typically made of breathable, sweat-wicking fabric like polyester or spandex. They have large armholes and fit snugly to allow for maximum range of motion.

Stringers first emerged in urban fitness cultures and bodybuilding and were later adopted by the CrossFit community. They provide an alternative to traditional t-shirts, with a minimalist look that showcases the arms, shoulders, and back muscles.

Benefits of Tank Tops and Gym Stringers

There are several reasons why stringers have become a staple choice for CrossFit and high-intensity training:

Managing Sweat and Body Temperature

A major benefit of the stringer is ventilation and cooling. The large cutouts allow for increased airflow to regulate body temperature. 

The moisture-wicking fabric also pulls sweat away from the skin rather than having it soak into your shirt. This helps prevent overheating and allows you to work out harder for longer.

Massive Confidence Boost

Stringers have an undeniable benefit for confidence and motivation during training. The tight fit and exposed skin give a powerful body image for pumping up your workout. 

Seeing your muscles flexing with each movement can boost your mind-muscle connection. The right stringer can make you look and feel like a fitness model.

Exercises Where the Stringer Shines

The functionality of the stringer design makes it advantageous for certain CrossFit movements and many standard exercises.

Dumbbell Flys

The open sides allow for a full range of motion during flys without any shirt restriction. You can focus on engaging the pecs without interference.

Bent-Over Row

Stringers drape nicely in the bent-over position without riding up. You can sink into the low back stretch and row freely.

Farmer's Walk

The snug fit keeps the shirt in place during this intense full-body exercise. No need to adjust between reps.

HIIT Training

High-volume cardio intervals cause rapid spikes in body temperature. A stringer provides necessary cooling between sets of high-intensity training.

Olympic Lifts

Overhead lifts like the snatch and clean & jerk require your arms to lift fully vertically. A stringer moves seamlessly through the range of motion.


The rhythmic pulldown motion of the rowing stroke demands shoulder mobility. Stringers allow full extension and retraction without bunching up.

Goblet Squat

The front-loaded hold of a goblet squat requires total shoulder mobility. The stringer provides flexibility through the descent and recovery.

Potential Downsides of Stringers

While stringers excel for cooling, range of motion, and confidence, they aren't for everyone or every workout. It’s important to get a high-quality gym stringer that will fit your needs.

Here are some potential downsides to consider:

  • Limited sun protection - if you’re going to exercise outdoors on a very sunny day, stringers will leave your shoulders exposed. It’s always a good idea to wear sunscreen outdoors but pay special attention to exposed areas when wearing stringers and other minimal clothing.
  • Chafing underarms - some people feel that the open sides can lead to irritation during endurance training. Apply anti-chafe balm as needed.
  • Cold - it goes without saying that a stringer isn’t typical for use in the cold. Nevertheless, it’s not a bad idea to have one handy, since intense CrossFit workouts can get you warmed up and sweating heavily even on colder days.


When used for the right workouts, gym stringers provide an advantage over t-shirts for CrossFit and other high-exertion training. 

The lightweight, tailored stringer design allows your body to move and cool freely. Just be mindful of potential downsides like sun exposure and irritation. 

Ultimately, choose the top that makes you feel most confident and focused. The right shirt can take your training to the next level.

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