How to Make Gym Shorts Tighter

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Having properly fitted gym shorts is crucial for comfort and range of motion during workouts. However, it's common for shorts to become loose over time. Instead of buying new shorts, there are many DIY approaches to tighten up your favorite pair. With some simple alterations, you can achieve a snugger fit for better performance.

Assessing the Fit

Start by analyzing the current fit of your shorts. Do they ride up or feel loose around your thighs and rear? Can you easily pull the waistband away from your body? These are signs the shorts are too big.

Well-fitted shorts will feel secure around your hips and thighs without restricting movement. A tighter fit can give you more confidence during squats, sprints, and other active motions.

Choosing the Right Shorts

Look for gym shorts made of stretchy, lightweight fabrics like spandex, polyester, and lycra blends.

The four-way stretch offers compression while maintaining breathability. Shorter inseam lengths between 5-7 inches are ideal for preventing ride-up. At LYFTLYFE, we use performance fabrics and athletic cuts optimized for stretch and mobility so you shouldn’t need to make any alterations to your shorts.

If you have any doubts about the fit of your desired shorts, please contact us. We’ll do our best to help you choose the perfect shorts from our diverse options.

Easy Fixes

Before sewing, try quick DIY solutions:

  • Use safety pins on each side of the waistband to cinch in excess fabric.
  • Tighten the adjustable waist cord for a custom fit.
  • Wrap elastic hair ties around the waistband for temporary tightness.

Sewing for a Snug Fit

For a permanent slimmer fit, sewing is the most effective alteration. Gather sewing essentials like thread, needles, pins, scissors, and measuring tape.

First, put on the shorts and pinch any excess fabric, marking the areas to trim. Take them off and draw the new seam lines. Sew new side seams, and darts, or add elastic as needed. Hem the raw edges for a clean finish.

Sewing hacks like adding darts and elastic waistbands will help the shorts contour to your body. However, don’t attempt any complex sewing techniques if you’re not experienced. It’s usually better to have loose shorts than to accidentally ruin them with a stray cut.

Using a Sewing Machine

A sewing machine offers convenience and neat seams. Learn the parts and controls first.

Set the machine to a straight stitch with a moderate length and width. Sew along your marked inseam lines. Remove pins as you sew and backstitch at either end to secure the threads.

The machine will save time and result in professional-looking alterations.

Heat Bonding

Iron-on adhesive is another DIY technique to tailor shorts by folding them into the shape you want. Apply the adhesive tape to folded seams and use a hot iron to bond the fabric. This creates a reinforced seam to reduce width.

This is also a technique you should only use if you absolutely have to. Hard bonding is hard to get right and difficult to reverse.

Start in hidden areas first to get the hang of heat bonding. Just be careful not to singe the fabric.

Drawstrings & Elastic

Adding adjustable drawstrings lets you tweak the fit. Thread drawstrings through the waistband or side hems, using a safety pin. Knot the ends and trim any excess.

For quick tightening, sew 1/8” elastic strips to the waistband or leg openings. The elastic will create light compression.


Some fabrics like cotton and poly-cotton blends can be shrunk. Wash shorts in hot water and dry on high heat. We have a guide on how to shrink shorts if you choose to go this route.

Perform shrinkage in small increments, checking the fit after each cycle. While effective, shrinking may also distort logos and cause uneven tightening.


Wearing compression shorts or leggings underneath loose shorts will prevent ride-up and add tightness.

Style the outer shorts overtop for the illusion of perfectly fitted shorts with the comfort of leggings or tights.


Taking the time to adjust the fit of your gym shorts can drastically improve your workout experience.

From assessing the fit and choosing the right shorts to employing easy fixes, sewing adjustments, or using a sewing machine, there are many ways to make your gym shorts tighter.

Heat bonding, adding drawstrings or elastic, shrinking, and layering are other effective techniques. Remember, don't rush the process - take your time to make sure the alterations are just right.

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