A Guide To Gymnastics Underwear: What To Wear Under Your Leotard (When You’re On Your Period)

Not sure what to wear under your leotard during your period? We've got you covered with these helpful tips!

Image via Instagram (@yoni.care)

Knowing what to wear under your leotard if you’ve just started gymnastics or dance classes can be tricky. It’s a minefield — should you wear a thong or high-cut briefs? Should you even wear underwear at all? And what do you even wear on your top half?! Aaargh!

Literally a nightmare, right? Especially if you take into consideration that you can even have points deducted if your underwear is visible or if a judge thinks they’re inappropriate.

Luckily for you, we’ve got your back. We’re here to help with some top tips on what to wear under your leotard (and even how to survive getting your period at the same time!).

Gymnastics underwear

Image via Instagram (@yoni.care)

What do gymnasts wear under their leotards?

In lots of cases, professional gymnasts and dancers tend to not wear any panties under their leotards. This is because your panties can move around and show during your routine — which you can get marked down for — or even worse, ride up and give you a wedgie when you’re dancing. Visible wedgie + uncomfortable dancing = mega cringe.

Some leotards have built-in liners which can be removed and washed, and ballet dancers usually just use their tights as underwear.

Gymnasts and dancers can actually wear all sorts of things under their leotards — so you have a few options and you totally don’t have to go commando if you don’t want to!

If the idea of going pantie-less gives you the heebie-jeebies though, you can always wear a thong. This means no VPL, and you don’t have to worry about it bunching up under your leotard or showing at the sides.

But don’t feel pressured to wear a thong if you don’t want to! There are gymnastics high cut briefs that you can wear too that are lightweight and seamless so you’ll barely feel like you’re wearing anything, and they won’t show through your leotard.

Knixteen’s ‘Oh-No’ Proof Bikini is super thin and has a seamless design, so there’s no VPL to worry about when you’re out there doin’ your thang. They’re totally breathable too and have awesome anti-wicking technology to banish sweat, to help you feel calm and collected under pressure.


So the simple answer to this question is: wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. Your underwear — or lack of — shouldn’t be something that gets in the way of you owning that routine. Just pick whichever option suits you, and start practising those backflips.

Do you wear a bra with a leotard?

What to wear on your top half can be a bit of a nightmare too. If you’re comfortable not wearing a bra then that’s awesome, but some of us can feel a bit on show when we’re up there under the spotlights (urrr, nip alert, anyone?).

Some girls will go bra under leotard, but you need to make sure you’re choosing the right bra. Underwiring can dig into you during your routine and show right through your leotard. You can even lose points in competitions for having just one bra strap slip out of place — eek!

If you’re worried about the nip sitch and you’re fine not wearing a bra, then try out band aids or nipple covers like petals instead. This’ll help you feel covered up without having to go on a suitable bra hunt.

Don’t worry if you’ve got larger breasts and you need the support of a bra — then there are plenty of options for bras to wear under leotards. Stick to nude bras, and match your bra style to your leotard style. For example, if you’ve got a racerback leo, then go for a racerback bra that will match up.

The Knixteen Mo’ne bra is a comfortable racerback option to wear under your ‘tard. It’s also breathable and moisture-wicking, which is handy for when you’re performing.


What to do when you’re on your period too

As if the whole gymnastics underwear nightmare couldn't get any worse, what about when your period strikes?! If you’re super into sports where you have to wear something a bit skimpier like dance or gymnastics, getting your period can be crazy stressful.

Of course you don’t want to miss out on doing something you love just because your Auntie Flo’s come to visit, especially if it’s a competition you’ve been psyching yourself up for.

How to wear a leotard on your period is one of life’s great mysteries, but here are a few options that can actually help you solve it.

Avoid pads and try tampons

It’s probably best to avoid wearing pads if you’re on your period while wearing a leotard.

Even the smallest of pads can peek out when you least want them to, and then there’s also the added risk of the bright stage lights drawing even more attention to them. They also feel a bit gross and leaky if you’re moving around a lot during your routine.

If you’re comfortable with using tampons, this can be a good option for you under a leotard. Tampons feel more discreet so you don’t feel super self-conscious.

If you’ve been wanting to use tampons but you’re a bit nervous about where to start, then check out our guide on how to put in a tampon.

Give menstrual cups a go

If you’re worried about the string of your tampon poking out when you’re in the middle of practice, then you can try out something a bit different like the menstrual cup.

Once you get the hang of putting them in, menstrual cups are a great tampon alternative. They can protect you from leaks for up to 12 hours, but they can feel a bit uncomfortable or feel very there to start with.

Image via Instagram (@lunettecup)

Wear a pair of period panties

If the thought of leaking when you’re out there doing cartwheels and frontflips freaks you out, then check out Knixteen’s period-proof bikini.

The ‘Oh-no’ Proof bikinis are the perfect gymnastics leotard panties because of their leakproof capabilities. They can absorb up to two tampons-worth of blood — no sneaky leaks are getting past these panties!

Experiment with gymnastics outfits by popping on a pair of shorts or a skirt

It’s totally normal if you’re on your period to feel like everyone around you knows. But believe it or not, your coach is not equipped with a built-in period radar.

If you’re feeling particularly self-conscious or suffering from a pretty heavy flow, then there are plenty of cute skirts, leggings or shorts out there to pair with your leotard. You can even wear Knixteen’s period-proof boyshorts underneath for that extra feeling for security!


These uber comfortable boyshorts are super-absorbent so they’ll help you to tackle that dreaded gymnastics period head-on.

They also have odor-crushing technology that gets rid of any embarrassing smells so that you can feel fresh and in control when you’re twirling across a practice room or doing the splits.

It’s totally okay to sit this one out

It might sound crazy, but doing exercise will actually make you feel way better when you’re on your period. Exercise will improve your mood and reduce your stress because it basically increases the happy hormones in your brain. It also helps you to fight menstrual headaches and bloatedness. Sounds great, right?

But sometimes, no matter how badly you want to join in with your gymnastics or dance practice, your body just won’t let you.

Period cramps and heavy flows can be the worst, so you just need to trust your gut and do what you need to. Sometimes this just means curling up at home with a chick flick (here’s our list of best chick flick movies for inspiration) and having some you-time.

Doing gymnastics or dance while you’re surfing the crimson wave doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Choose the option that best suits you — although the Knixteen bikini briefs are our fave, obvs! I mean, they’re seamless, breathable and period-proof — what’s not to love?!

So what are you waiting for, girl? Get out there and SLAY.

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