Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, called BJJ for short, is a highly competitive grappling sport and martial art. BJJ is traditionally contested in a gi, a uniform worn by competitors that plays a key role in the execution of maneuvers and techniques. Because BJJ is such a physically taxing sport and tends to include a lot of sweat, competitors often wonder if they should wear rash guards and spats under their BJJ gi.
You should wear spats and rash guards under your BJJ gi. Wearing them will greatly reduce sweating and decrease the likelihood of suffering a sweat rash, friction burn, or contract a skin infection. Wearing spats and rash guards also provides compressive muscular support.
In this article, we will explain the purpose of rash guards and spats and what they are designed to do. We will go over the many benefits of wearing a spat and rash guard under your BJJ gi and the justifications behind it. Once you finish this article, you will understand exactly why you should wear spats and a rash guard under your gi, so let’s get to it!
What Is the Purpose of Spats and Rash Guards In BJJ?
Rash guards refer to a type of shirt that is typically long-sleeved and skin-tight. They are designed to hug the body very closely and are intended to be worn by athletes during training or competition bouts.
Rash guards are typically fabricated from spandex, polyester, or nylon. The materials and technology are designed to promote sweat absorption, reduce friction, and leave the athlete feeling free to move and perform uninhibited.
BJJ Spats are the lower body counterparts of rash guards; they are long pants that extend down to the ankle or mid-shin depending on the brand and type. They are identical to rashguards as far as the material they are made from, the technology behind them, and the intended purpose relevant to athletic performance. When worn together, spats and rash guards provide the entire body with a base layer of sweat reduction technology.
The major thing that BJJ players who have never worn spats and rash guards under their gi before tend to worry about is whether or not it will impede their mobility.
Will Rashguards and Spats Affect Performance?
BJJ is a sport that demands a high level of flexibility and mobility. To gain and retain dominant positions on the ground, flexibility is key. BJJ players must possess the ability to move their bodies very freely in awkward and unconventional positions and with great spontaneity. Therefore, anything that may restrict their body’s ability to contort will severely limit their performance.
Thankfully, spats and rash guards are specially designed to move with the body as if they are not even there. In fact, in many ways, spats and rash guards may even help to increase a BJJ player’s mobility on the mat.
From football players to hockey players, snowboarders, etc., professional athletes across the board commonly use spats and rash guards during competition. These indispensable pieces of functional clothing have proven themselves and stood the test of time.
No-gi Jiu-Jitsu competitors (athletes who practice a style of Jiu-Jitsu in which they do not wear a gi) typically wear a combination of rash guards and shorts. Many no-gi Jiu-Jitsu players will also wear full-length spats under their shorts because they feel it helps them control a sweaty opponent better when on the bottom in the guard position, especially when utilizing a high guard or rubber guard.
Indeed, both gi and no-gi Jiu-Jitsu players stand to greatly benefit from this great cloth technology. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits now.
The Benefits of Wearing Spats and Rash Guards Under Your BJJ Gi
Many people think that spats and rash guards keep an athlete dry and sweat-free and don’t do much else, but this is a false presumption. Spats and rash guards offer multiple benefits besides rash protection, many of which are especially applicable to BJJ players and competitions.
Rash Guards Prevent Sweat Rashes and Skin Infections
Staph infection is a type of bacterial infection that spreads through sweat and skin-on-skin contact. Staph infections range in severity from very minor to extremely serious, and in the worst cases, can cause blood poisoning and even death. Another common skin infection in grappling sports is ringworm. Rashguards and spats will help prevent the spread of both ringworm and staph infections.
Of course, if you have a skin infection then you should stay away from the mats until healed. That said, you never know if your teammates or classmates are hoping on the mats with a skin infection.
The good news is that almost everyone involved in martial arts of any kind is well aware of this condition, and they know how to incorporate the proper sanitary measures to prevent its spreading. However, no preventive measures are ever 100% guaranteed to work. This is where spats and rash guards come in.
By wearing spats and rash guards under your BJJ gi, you will greatly reduce the amount of sweat transferred between yourself and your opponent when engaged in a heated grappling exchange. Moreover, you will practically eliminate all skin-to-skin contact save for the hands, feet, and head.
Wearing spats and a rash guard under your gi will create a much less sweaty environment, keep yourself and the mats dry, and severely limit bacteria from spreading. For more on preventing skin infections in grappling check out my article: 7 Tips To Help You Avoid Ringworm and Staph In Wrestling and BJJ!
Not only will spats and rash guards help to prevent staph, but they will also reduce the friction on your skin and help prevent general sweat rashes and friction burns.
When there is no layer between your gi and your skin, you may notice a lot of friction on your skin because gis are loose-fitting and made of fairly abrasive materials. Having that extra buffer layer between the gi and your skin will allow you to slide around inside your gi comfortably without dealing with the friction it causes.
Rash Guards Provide Your Muscles With Compressive Support
Because of their tight and compressive materials, wearing spats and a rash guard under your BJJ gi will provide you with muscular support.
As explained at the onset of this article, spats and rash guards are designed to hug the body and be worn very tight. Spats and rash guards have somewhat of an elastic nature to them. They lightly compress the muscles the way that wearing knee sleeves or elbow sleeves do. This will help to support the athlete’s core, joints, and muscles.
While they actually won’t increase your strength in any noticeable way, having everything feel tight and braced will typically give a BJJ player a mental edge. This point can be further exemplified by the fact that almost all professional strength athletes incorporate some type of spats or compressive shorts into their attire. You should do everything you can to keep your body safe and your joints healthy in BJJ.
Spats and Rash Guards Keep You Cool and Dry Under Your Gi
One of the most distracting and annoying occurrences that a BJJ player can encounter is sweat running in their face, eyes, or palms of their hands and impeding their performance. Spats and rash guards will move the sweat away from your skin and allow it to absorb and escape from the material while the surface of your skin remains cool and dry.
Wearing spats and a rash guard under your BJJ gi will keep you much dryer all-around because they not only absorb sweat effectively but also keep you cool, which will help you to sweat less in the first place. Furthermore, wearing rash guards and spats under your Gi can stop your body from overheating during a match and will, in turn, allow you to preserve more energy and fatigue less quickly.
Lastly, rashguards and spats help keep your gi clean. Since your gi is not absorbing as much sweat it will stay cleaner and last longer. Polyester spats/rash guards, in particular, have a very high level of breathability and sweat-wicking.
Wearing Spats and Rash Guards Shows Respect to Your Opponent
Wearing a spat and rash guard under your gi can be a great way to show your opponent respect; plus, people will be happier to roll with you when you are dry and sweat-free.
While sweat is an unavoidable part of the sport, it is always good to keep it to a minimum wherever possible. While wiping down with a towel between bouts whenever possible is a great way to lessen the amount of sweat between competitors, it will not be anywhere near as effective as wearing a rash guard and spats baselayer under your gi.
In addition, rash guards and spats will help you keep sweat off the mats. Of course, some sweat is going to get on the mats either way, but if everyone was wearing rash guards and spats under their gi then the mats are less likely to become a slip and slide. This also will help prevent fungus and bacteria from infecting the mats.
All in all, wearing rash guards and spats under your gi will simply make your gym a more sanitary place to train.
Where To Buy Spats and Rash Guards
If you are looking to purchase spats and a rash guard, make sure you purchase high-quality ones and do not settle for cheap and shoddy products that do not function as they should. But don’t worry, high-quality spats and rash guards do not have to be overly expensive.
We recommend Elite Sports BJJ Gear for a great pair of spats or rash guards that are guaranteed to last and perform to your needs but are still affordable.
If you’re looking to purchase a durable rash guard that is sure to keep you dry, consider the Sanabul Essentials Long Sleeve Compression designed specifically for BJJ. For a BJJ player, investing in a nice set of spats and rash guards is one of the best investments they can make.
Wearing rash guards and spats under your gi will offer many benefits to a BJJ player, including sweat reduction, breathability, and prevention of bacterial spread. They will also not impede mobility, so there is no downside to wearing them.