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What Are the Benefits of Wearing a Rashguard for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?: Enhanced Performance and Protection

In this post we’ll breakdown the benefits of wearing a rashguard for Brazilian jiu jitsu – why they’re recommended, as well as other common questions regarding fit, and how to choose a rashguard.


Rashguards are beneficial for BJJ (Brazilian jiu jitsu) training because they are moisture wicking, stay tight to your body to avoid getting in the way of training, and can also denote your belt rank color.


Top Ten Benefits

  1. Skin Protection: Rashguards help protect the skin from mat burns, scratches, and abrasions that are common during grappling.
  2. Moisture Wicking: Rashguards do not hold moisture and are sweat wicking. Since they are often made from spandex or polyester they do not hold moisture as much as cotton based fabrics.
  3. Hygiene: They provide a barrier between your skin and the mat, reducing the risk of bacterial and fungal infections such as ringworm and staph.
  4. Muscle Compression: Rashguards can offer slight compression which may help in reducing muscle soreness and fatigue, potentially aiding in performance and recovery.
  5. Temperature Regulation: The material used in rashguards is typically moisture-wicking, helping to keep the body cool during intense training sessions and warm when resting between matches.
  6. Reduced Friction: The smooth surface of rashguards allows for less friction on the mat and against an opponent, which can make certain techniques easier to perform.
  7. Comfort and Mobility: Rashguards are designed to fit snugly without restricting movement, ensuring comfort and full range of motion during training.
  8. Uniformity and Professionalism: Many BJJ schools and competitions have dress codes that include rashguards, promoting a uniform and professional appearance.
  9. Rash Prevention: True to their name, rashguards help prevent rashes caused by the repetitive rubbing that occurs during grappling exchanges like from rubbing against the mat or gi.
  10. Personal Expression: Rashguards come in various designs and colors, allowing practitioners to express their personal style or represent their team.

Simply put, rashguards are strongly recommedned over T-shirts for training since they don’t retain moisture, do not get snagged on you or your training partner during training, and still prevent excessive skin on skin contact.

Enhanced Skin Protection

Wearing a rashguard during Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training provides multiple layers of protection for an athlete’s skin. It’s designed to shield against common physical contact issues and environmental factors present on the mat.

Prevention of Mat Burns

Rashguards create a barrier between the practitioner’s skin and the rough surface of the BJJ mats. This protective layer helps prevent mat burns, which are common when skin rubs against abrasive surfaces during grappling maneuvers.

Reduced Friction Burns

By fitting snugly to the body, rashguards minimize the amount of skin exposed to friction. This notably reduces the risk of friction burns, which can occur during the intense and repetitive skin-to-fabric or skin-to-skin contact in BJJ.

Protection from Microbial Infections

The moisture-wicking material of rashguards is beneficial in reducing the risk of microbial infections such as ringworm or staph, which thrive in warm, moist environments often found in martial arts gyms. It acts as a shield, keeping the skin drier and less susceptible to these types of infections.

Improved Athletic Performance

Wearing a rashguard while training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provides athletes with several benefits that directly enhance physical performance. These include optimizing muscle function, effectively managing sweat, and regulating the body’s temperature during intense training sessions.

Muscle Compression

Rashguards apply a consistent pressure on the muscles, which can lead to enhanced muscle support and a potential reduction in muscle fatigue. This compression helps BJJ practitioners to perform at a higher level for longer periods, and may assist in reducing the risk of muscle strains.

Moisture Management

The material in rashguards is designed to wick away moisture, keeping the athlete dry and comfortable. In an intense sport like BJJ, effective moisture management ensures a practitioner’s grip and mobility aren’t compromised by sweat, thereby maintaining optimal performance during training or competition.

Temperature Regulation

By maintaining a layer of dry fabric against the skin, rashguards also assist in temperature regulation. They help keep the body cool when the temperature rises and can also retain warmth when training in cooler environments, ensuring the athlete’s body stays at an optimal temperature for performance.

Increased Comfort and Mobility

When practitioners wear a rashguard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), they benefit from enhanced comfort due to the specialized fit and materials. This apparel is specifically designed to cater to the dynamic movements of BJJ, supporting better performance during training and competition.

Flexibility and Fit

Rashguards are made from stretchable fabric that hugs the body closely without restricting movement. This elasticity ensures that practitioners can execute a full range of complex BJJ techniques without any hindrance. The snug fit also prevents excess material from getting caught or snagged, which could impede mobility or present a hazard during rolling and sparring.

Minimized Chafing

The close fit of a rashguard significantly reduces friction and skin irritation, commonly referred to as chafing. During grappling exchanges, the smooth material glides more easily on the skin and other surfaces, which decreases irritation and discomfort that can occur with looser clothing like traditional T-shirts.

Durable Material

Constructed from materials such as polyester, spandex, or a blend, BJJ rashguards are engineered to withstand the rigorous demands of grappling. They are typically more resilient and less prone to tearing than cotton-based attire. This durability extends the life of the garment, ensuring it retains shape and function over time, which contributes to sustained comfort and mobility for the wearer.

Hygiene and Maintenance

When it comes to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wearing a rashguard is beneficial not just for performance but also for hygiene and maintenance. These garments are designed to reduce skin infections and are easier to clean compared to conventional clothing.

Ease of Cleaning

Rashguards for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are typically made from materials that are machine-washable. Their moisture-wicking property means they don’t retain sweat and grime like cotton shirts, making them easier to clean and maintain. Users can simply follow the care instructions, typically involving washing in cold water and tumble drying on low, to keep the rashguard in good condition.

Odor Resistance

Odor resistance is another significant feature of rashguards. The synthetic fabrics often have antimicrobial properties that help prevent bacteria growth, which can cause odors. Through consistent laundering after every training session, the rashguard remains fresh and less prone to developing persistent smells.

Long-Term Durability

Rashguards are engineered for longevity despite the rigorous demands of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The stretchable and durable fabrics resist tearing and over-stretching. Their reinforced stitching ensures that they maintain their shape and form even after multiple washes, offering practitioners reliability over time.

Versatility, Design, and Gym Requirements

Rashguards designed for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offer both functional benefits and aesthetic appeal. They come in a diverse range of styles and can be customized to fit the needs of any practitioner, denote rank, and even enhancing their experience across various martial arts disciplines.

Meeting Competition Requirements

Some organizations that regularly hold BJJ competitions like the IBJJF (Internation Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) require you to wear your belt color rank on the your rashguard.

Specifically for IBJJF competitions they require that your rashguard have a base color of white or black or black and white and then have at least 10% of it include your belt rank color (belt colors are white, blue, purple. brown, and black).

Gym Requirements

Some bjj gyms require you to wear specific rashguards for their no gi training or even gi training classes.

Gyms like Gracie Barra and Atos have their own brand of rashguards that you must wear to each class.

Other gyms like mine, 10th Planet San Diego, require that you wear your rank color on your rashguard for their competition classes.

Team Unity

Rashguards often serve as a symbol of team affiliation, with many featuring team logos or colors. This can foster a stronger sense of camaraderie and belonging among team members, which is crucial in a sport that relies on group dynamics and support.

  • Team Affiliation: Rashguards can be customized to represent a team or gym.
  • Camaraderie: Matching gear can strengthen group identity and mutual support.

Variety of Styles

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rashguards are available in a myriad of styles to suit any preference. They feature different sleeve lengths such as short-sleeve, long-sleeve, and even tank tops. A practitioner can choose from bold colors, intricate patterns, or minimalistic designs that reflect their personal style or team identity.

Customization Options

The design of a BJJ rashguard can often be personalized. Companies offer customization services where one can add team logos, surnames, or inspirational quotes to their gear. This ability to customize helps practitioners stand out on the mat and can also foster team unity.

Multi-Sport Use

While rashguards are a staple in BJJ, their versatility allows for cross-training use in other sports such as wrestling, surfing, and MMA. The durable and moisture-wicking material is beneficial for any activity that involves intense physical exertion and contact, making them a practical choice for a range of athletes.

How to Choose a Rashguard for BJJ

Here are some factors and questions to consider when choosing a rashguard:

  1. Gym Requirements – Does your gym require you to wear a specific brand or require your rank color?
  2. Fit – How tight or loose does it fit?
  3. Design – Do you like the design of the rashguard
  4. Comfort – Is it comfortable to train in?
  5. Brand Reputation – Is the brand respected? Do they offer good support and a decent return policy?
  6. Price – How much does it cost?
  7. Material – What is it made out of? Polyester? Nylon? Elastane? Spandex?
  8. Durability – Will it last? Often more affordable rashguards may not be as durable
  9. Sleeve Length – Do you prefer short or long sleeves?
  10. Ranked/IBJJF Legal – Are you planning on competing in an IBJJF event? Is your rashguard IBJJF legal?

How Tight Should Your Rashguard Be?

In terms of fit, your rashguard should fit snug to your body around your chest, shoulders, and arms with a little more space in your midsection.

It should be tight enough to not get int the way of training, but not too tight where it limits your movement, breathing, or bloodflow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What advantages do rash guards offer in terms of skin protection during BJJ?

During Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, rash guards protect the skin from mat burns, scratches, and friction. They also minimize the risk of skin infections transmitted through direct contact.

How do rash guards enhance performance and comfort for Jiu-Jitsu practitioners?

The material of rash guards wicks away moisture, keeping practitioners dry and comfortable. This can help maintain body temperature, allowing for better focus and performance during training sessions.

Can wearing a rash guard affect one’s grip or control in BJJ grappling?

A rash guard can actually reduce the amount of sweat on the skin, potentially lessening the opponent’s grip. However, its snug fit does not significantly impede a practitioner’s own grappling ability or control.

What are the hygienic benefits of using a rash guard while practicing BJJ?

Rash guards act as a barrier against microorganisms on communal mats, lowering the chance of contracting ringworm, staph, and other common infections associated with martial arts practice.

Why is a rash guard considered an essential part of BJJ training attire?

A rash guard is deemed essential for BJJ due to its ability to keep the skin dry and protect against cuts and infections, while also supporting muscles under the strain of repetitive movements.

How does the material of a rash guard contribute to muscle support in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

The compression provided by a rash guard’s material helps stabilize muscles, potentially reducing muscle fatigue and strain. This compression can also aid in muscle recovery post-training.

    About the Author:

    Zack Nicholas

    Zack Nicholas:

    Zack is an avid jiu jitsu practitioner and weight lifting nerd. When not on the mats or in the gym, he can be found going for walks with his wife, attempting (and often failing) to train his dog, and frequently obsessing over a specific hobby only to forget about it a week later. He can be reached over his LinkedIn or at info@heavybjj.com