BJJ Rash Guard guide for Beginners

What is a BJJ Rash Guard

A BJJ Rash guard is a type of rash guard, typically worn in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and MMA. This type of rash guard is made of highly durable material. This material is sweat-wicking and able to withstand the daily trials of BJJ and MMA training sessions. You are not required to wear a rash guard if you don’t want to. It is highly suggested to give it a shot though, due to all the benefits having one on during training has on your performance. We will talk more about this later on. 

 At first glance, a BJJ Rash Guard is quite similar to compression apparel, but has quite distinct differences when it comes to its purpose and features: 

A compression shirt is a category of athletic wear that enables your body to stay warm and loose during workouts and other physical activities as you can see here. It is tight-fitting and is supposed to apply pressure to your body, promoting better blood flow and increasing the amount of oxygen your muscles receive. All these qualities aid in a better recovery process for your body so you can train harder and longer for better performance.

These all sound like pretty good points that can definitely enhance your performance in BJJ and MMA. But here’s the catch: Compression shirts are not designed for the rough nature of combat sports. The frequent yanking, tugging, and grinding of bodies may damage and cause the compression shirt to wear out at an accelerated rate. You may be able to use it for a few sessions. Over time,  you will soon come to realize that the material just isn’t built for these types of activities. 

But don’t worry. We are here to be your beacon of information and help enlighten you on the proper gear you should be wearing during BJJ and MMA classes. 

Benefits of wearing a BJJ Rash Guard

Material made for Combat Sports 

BJJ Rash Guards are made of a combination of spandex, nylon, and polyester. This makes it lightweight to wear, flexible, and quick-drying. The material used in rash guards is usually built stronger and thicker than other types of compression apparel. This gives you the peace of mind of not having to worry about buying new pairs of training gear every few weeks 

Most BJJ Rash Guards are usually built with anti-slip gel panels, which prevent your rash guard from riding up during intense rolling sessions. They are also made with flatlock stitching, which is a type of stitching that guarantees a good, snug fit on your body while reducing chafing during intense activities. 

One thing to note is you may see some similarities between BJJ Rash Guards and Surfing Rash Guards. While it is safe to say they are hard to tell apart. But surfing rash guards are made to retain heat so surfers don’t get cold in the water. BJJ Rash Guards are built to release body heat and provide sweat-wicking qualities to keep you dry and cool. 

Prevents staph and other infections

The biggest opponent of every martial artist is not the person that stands in front of them during sparring and competition. The biggest opponent of every martial artist is the infections that are found everywhere, on every corner and every mat. And more notably, it lives within you as well if you are not hygienic. 

Staph and ringworm are the two most common infections that plague the combat sports training ground. These infections are contagious and such a burden to heal from once you have them. That is why cleanliness is a necessary trait to have if you want to train and improve in the long run. You don’t want your performance hindered because you were out recovering from a sickness or infection.

BJJ Rash Guards give you a better chance of protection from Staph and ringworm. Infections like these thrive in moist environments. BJJ Rash Guards are built with quick-drying and sweat-wicking qualities that will keep your skin and body dry throughout all your training sessions. This enhances your performance by minimizing the risk of catching infections, thus keeping you in the training room longer.

Recovery

Just like other compression apparel, BJJ Rash Guards are also used to aid in the recovery process of martial artists. The fit of these rash guards is snug and tight. It is somewhat comparable to the compression shirts that were explained earlier. This is to improve the blood circulation in your body as well as provide more oxygen to your muscles. This helps you perform better in training, as well as helps you recover right after, 

Types of BJJ Rash Guards

There are two types of rash guards you can get your hands on as you could see here. These are the long sleeve and short sleeve rash guards. Both types of rash guards have their respective benefits. It is best to choose a rash guard that fits what you are looking for.

Benefits of long sleeve Rash Guards 

  • Give you better protection against staph and infections because it covers a bigger surface area on your body. 
  • Better protection against mat burns in no gi training, as well as friction burns caused by the gi. 
  • The whole upper body is kept dry, even your forearms.

Benefits of short sleeve Rash Guards

  • Cool to wear during hot training sessions
  • Easier to perform escapes: Opponent has less friction and grip to hold on to you when you are getting submitted
  • Easier to perform chokes: There is no material and friction that may hinder your ability to sink in the choke. This gives you an easier time slipping those nasty chokes from different positions. 

Designs

The modern BJJ culture in the past decade has accepted the use of rash guards and spats as a way to express yourself and your style on the mats. It won’t be unusual to find no gi BJJ classes filled with practitioners who are wearing rash guards, spats, and MMA shorts of any, and every design, theme, and logo you can think of. 

Competitions are another story. The biggest Jiu Jitsu competition organizations have rules about what kind of rash guards you can wear. For IBJJF, you can only wear plain colored rash guards that represent your current belt rank. This is to add uniformity and professionalism to the sport, organization, and everyone who competes in it.

Rash Guard Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, here are a few tips that will increase the lifespan of your BJJ Rash Guards:

  • Wash your rash guard in similar colors  – Just like normal clothes, rash guards can get stained with other colors if you wash them all together. Be sure to separate everything by color before you throw it in the washing machine!
  • Hang dry only – Using a dryer may damage and break down the fibers of your rash guard. Due to the heat, this may even cause your rash guard to shrink a few sizes.
  • Do not bleach your rash guard – This will definitely cause the material to weaken and wear out over time. 
  • Don’t iron your rash guard – The material of rash guards is not meant to withstand high heat. It is recommended to never iron your rash guards as this will destroy the material and cause it to rip, tear, or burn.   

Read here for more information on rash guard maintenance

Ariston Palacios

Ariston is a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and instructor under Carpe Diem BJJ. He is also a Coach at two UFC Gyms in his home country. Discovering BJJ at the age of 18, his passion for the sport usually ends up with most of his time doing all things BJJ related from training, teaching and writing articles. On occasion, you can catch a glimpse of him at a local competition to test his mettle, but you will usually see him sharing his knowledge and passion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to clients of all ages wherever a mat can be found.