What is a Rash Guard?

A Rash Guard is an athletic t-shirt usually made from nylon, spandex or polyester that gained popularity with surfers and other water sports enthusiasts for its ability to reduce the risk of skin irritation from sand, and protection against the sun’s rays.

Rash Guards started being used in Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts for their moisture wicking properties and skin protection from Gi burn and skin infections.

In Jiu Jitsu the Rash Guard is worn underneath the Gi or often on its own for No-Gi and comes in both short sleeve and long sleeve variants.

Now that we know a little more about what is a Rash Guard, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using one for Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts.

black rashguard

Benefits of a Rash Guard

1. Moisture Wicking

There’s nothing worse while grappling than the feeling of being too sweaty, or even worse, coming in contact with someone else’s sweat.

A good Rash Guard helps protect against both of these by not only absorbing and quickly drying your own sweat but blocking someone else’s.

2. Mat/Gi Burn

While grappling in the Gi it’s common for the more abrasive Gi material to rub against your skin and cause mildly painful abrasions that could potentially become infected, a Rash Guard can’t protect against every instance of Gi burn but it will overall lessen the amount you are exposed to.

In No-Gi the mat itself can often become the vector for an abrasive burn and a Rash Guard is perfect for prevention.

3. Muscle Compression

Compression attire has been used for a long time in athletics for their purported ability to increase blood flow to the muscles while engaging in physical activity.

This increased blood flow is thought to aid in both recovery and performance, and a well fitting Rash Guard not only performs as a tool for protection but also compression.

4. Hygiene

One of the inherent risks of skin to skin contact that occurs in grappling and MMA is the contraction of skin infections like ringworm and staph.

While best practice is always to only use fresh, clean gear, use antibacterial soap and to shower right after training, wearing a Rash Guard while training goes a long way to help protect against these infections as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Rash Guard made of?

Rash Guards for Jiu Jitsu and MMA are typically made of Polyester, Spandex or Lycra or a mixture of those materials.

These materials allow for a tight compression fit but also stretch for full mobility so you won’t feel encumbered by wearing one.

They also normally have a multi paneled design and reinforced stitching to ensure they can withstand the rigors of hard training.

When am I allowed to wear a Rash Guard?

The majority gyms and academies in Jiu Jitsu and MMA will allow the use of a Rash Guard, but certain tournament organizers, most notably the IBJJF does not allow a Rash Guard for Male Gi competitors.

Always be sure to check the rules for whichever tournament you sign up for to make sure they allow Rash Guards under the Gi.

What’s the difference between a surfing Rash Guard and a Jiu Jitsu/MMA Rash Guard?

Most Jiu Jitsu and MMA Rash Guards are lighter weight and may not protect as much against the sun compared to surfing and water sports Rash Guards.

Many other design features are similar enough so that you can wear one of our Rash Guards to surf but you may not want to wear a heavier surfing Rash Guard to grapple, plus our grappling specific aesthetic designs are too cool to pass up.

In Summary

Rash Guards not only offer protection from skin, aid in muscle compression, and help wick away sweat and moisture, but they can also help you make a bold aesthetic statement as a grappler.

At Flowhold we’ve wanted to connect our love for Jiu Jitsu and MMA with our love of Surf culture and Rash Guards are a perfect crossover item from those two worlds.

We’re proud to offer a wide range of different styles and designs while always staying true to the highest quality materials, so whether you’re into MMA, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Crossfit, Lifting, or even Surfing, we’ve got you covered.


About the Author

taylor alexander
This article was written by Taylor Alexander, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt.

You can learn more about him here.