Rash Guard for Muay Thai: Training in Style
Are you thinking about wearing a rash guard for Muay Thai training?
As mixed martial arts (MMA) get more popular, more and more fighters are cross-training several forms of combat sports. Many gyms are responding to this demand by offering a variety of classes such as boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and wrestling under one roof. While rash guards are more commonly worn by BJJ or MMA practitioners, it’s not surprising to see one or two of your Muay Thai gymmates rocking a funky rash guard at your Muay Thai training. Most of these guys possibly cross-train a few combat arts or practise MMA. So if you are training primarily in Muay Thai, are rash guards an ideal form of workout apparel?
Rash Guard for martial artists
The Ki/Gi is the standard outfit for BJJ and looks almost identical to the ones worn in Judo or Karate due to its Japanese roots. Before the popularity of MMA, BJJ grapplers wore surf rash guard or general compression wear for no-gi BJJ practice and competition. As MMA got popular, new fight apparel companies appear onto the scene and started to promote rash guards designed specifically for BJJ/MMA. This include both the top (compression shirts) and bottom (compression pants sometimes referred to as spats). A number of my Muay Thai instructors have taken to wearing rash guards for our training sessions. Another sign of the rash guard’s gradual extension into Muay Thai and other martial arts.
Benefits of Rash Guard For Muay Thai
As its name suggests, rash guard is worn to protect the wearer against rashes or mat burn (from rolling around in BJJ). So how would they benefit your Muay Thai training?
In most Muay Thai gyms, training topless -for men- with just a seasoned pair of shorts has been the tradition and standard. Whereas in more modernised fight gyms, where BJJ and MMA are practised alongside Muay Thai, many fighters have taken to wearing rash guards during training. You don’t have to make any rash decision. Here are 5 wonderful benefits of rash guards :
#1 The moist sweaty environment of a gym is a breeding ground for bacteria. Sustaining wounds in the form rashes or cuts are invitations for potential infections. Rash guards will protect you from rashes and also cuts and scrapes that sometimes result from clinching and sparring practice.
#2 Researches have shown that compression wear prevents acute muscle injuries and help speed muscle recovery. This is especially beneficial if you intend to train everyday. Some studies have also shown that compression wear improves overall athletic performance by improving blood circulation. While they do improve blood circulation, its effect on athletic performance remains debatable.
#3 Because they are form-fitting and lightweight, rash guards allow the full range of movement for your body compared to the standard tee and shorts combination. This is advantageous in Muay Thai where you often execute exaggerated bodily movements.
#4 Unless you are one of those people who don’t perspire easily, the high intensity workout of a Muay Thai session will always leave you drenched in your own sweat. Rash guards help to keep you dry and also odour-free by wicking the sweat away faster. It certainly can get a bit awkward when your heavy perspiration starts leaving wet patches over the training mats or worse, on your training partner! *gasp* It HAS happened.
#5 Superficial but true: Rash guards make you look stylish and a little more badass than your usual gym get-up.
How to choose a good rash guard
If you are now convinced or enticed to get rash guards for your next Muay Thai class, note that not all rash guards are built equally. Here are few tips for you to look out for when shopping for your rash guards:
#1 The inner seams and stitchings are very important given the tight-fitting nature of rash guards. If stitched poorly, they may cause irritation, abrasion and *gasp* rash to the wearer, particularly around the underarms.
#2 The wicking technology of the fabric is designed to keep you cool and dry during training. Make sure you see some sort of wicking capability or technology listed on its tags.
#3 One of the advantages of wearing rash guards is that the compression feature helps with muscular well-being. You certainly want them to retain compression even after repeated washes and usage. Some of the lower end brands get loose after a relatively short period of wear which brings us to the next point-
#4 The quality of rash guards from most well-known MMA brands are usually of high standards and will satisfy much of the above criteria. If you purchase a rash guard from reputable brands such as Tatami, Hayabusa, Venum etc., you are almost guaranteed a hardy fightwear that will last a mighty long time. That said, there ARE brandless cheapie compression shirts that are pretty hardy but it will take some luck to find.
MMA/BJJ Rash Guards vs Compression Garment vs Surfing Rashie
As far as our experience and research goes, there is little to no difference between all 3. The term rash guards or compression wear can even be used interchangeably. The added feature of a surf rash guard is that it offers UV protection since it’s an outdoor sportswear. A BJJ/MMA rash guard will sometime have an added design that prevents the top from rolling up the belly. This will not be very important for Muay Thai training since the rolling up is caused by rolling on the mats which is applicable only to BJJ/MMA.
If the design and style is not of importance to you, a regular compression shirt from a sporting brand, or a surfing rashie would do just fine for your Muay Thai training. They are usually priced more affordably. A higher range rash guard may not significantly or always outlast a cheapie, but they offer the one quality that sets them apart: cool aesthetic designs. Functionally, rash guards made for MMA/BJJ won’t make you a better fighter but they sure look good. To be honest, it was what motivated me to get one in the first place.
Best Rashguard for Muay Thai MMA BJJ
Style is very much a personal choice but there is bound to be something out there in the fight wear marketplace that suits your taste. Given the high density of MMA/BJJ brands out in the market, you certainly have no lack of options. Even Muay Thai fan-favorite Fairtex has taken to creating rashguards. From the most functional to the most stylish, here are my top choices for the best rash guards:
Best Rash Guards for Men
Let’s begin with our pick of the best rash guards for the dudes:
This Hayabusa Metaru Charged is the latest evolved model of the very popular Metaru 47 Silver rash guard. As the new generation of a regular-feature on “best of” lists, it has a lot to live up to. The sleek rashguard is easily one of the most comfortable rashguard around with good compression and excellent wicking tech that keeps the body feeling dry at all times. The subtle armor pattern design is a sophisticated touch.
Metaru Charged comes in both short- and long-sleeves designs. For the completist, there are also matching compression shorts and pants. This is an all-rounder that looks good and feels good.
|– “Pretty and durable”|
|Rating: (5 / 5)|
Anthem Athletics HELO-X Rash Guard
The USA-based Anthem Athletics specializes in gear and equipment for combat sports and fitness with an emphasis on performance and affordability. What they lack in striking, outrageous aesthetics, they make up for with excellent build quality and comfort. That’s not to say they look bland or dull. The hex, pinstripe or camo accents add a subtle yet tasteful touch to the classic black tops. Perfect for those who want to prefer a more low-key look without sacrificing style. The HELO-X goes up to XXL to fit muscular bodies comfortably. This is shaping up to be a very popular choice for martial arts and fitness training.
|– “Anyone who is looking for an affordable yet very comfortable rashguard this is the product you must buy!”
– “Fit perfectly and matches the quality of another rash guard I have from a major company that cost twice as much.“
|Rating: (5 / 5)|
If you want a different color for each day of the week you train, this best-selling compression wear is the one for you. Over 10 different colors to last you almost 2 weeks’ worth of training. And if you add in the camo and two-tone designs, you will have enough to last a whole month. The design is as simple as it gets but the affordability fits the budget-conscious. Oh, and if you want as many colors for your bottoms, Tesla Gears offers the same range of colors for their compression pants and shorts too! Get one size up as recommended by the manufacturer.
|– “ it keeps you cool and still maintains its fit unlike other shirts. Overall you won’t be disappointed.“
– “Multiple purchase of this brand and have never been disappointed.“
|Rating: (4.3 / 5)|
Best Rash Guards for Women
Women’s rash guards are usually designed to be a tad longer and more form-fitting than men’s for a more feminine silhouette. Here are some of the brands that offer women’s rash guards:
Fuji Women’s Rashguard
Fuji makes some of the best looking rashguards for women. The extra length means that you don’t have to worry about the shirt riding up, which is also great for taller women. The floral designs on the Kimono rash guards are clearly inspired by the Japanese kimono aesthetics and they look simply lovely. The newer Haiku rash guards are also a head-turning stunner. You can’t go wrong with these.
|– “This rash guard fit perfectly. It is form fitting without being too tight or loose.“
– “I get crazy compliments on this all the time.“
|Rating: (4.6 / 5)|
With lovely pastel colors in place of the drab manly colors: What more could a girl ask for? Affordable, high quality, comfortable and great fitting compression tops, perfect for your every workout. Comes in both long and short sleeves.
|– “It wicks perspiration like its supposed to. It is perfect.“
– “Great quality product especially for the price. Why spend triple for a name!“
|Rating: (4.5 / 5)|
Most Stylish Rash Guards
If you are all about style, then there is no better training apparel than rash guards. They are the canvas for imaginative brands and artists to unleash the wildest wearable art possible. In rash guard fashion, anything goes. Either you love it, or you loathe it. “Style is saying who you are without having to speak.” Let these rash guards do the talking:
Hypnotik Rash Guard
This MMA brand has so many of the sickest looking rash guards that we can’t decide on which one to feature! Almost got brain cancer trying to pick our favorite designs to show you what the Hypnotik designers are capable of. I love them all! If you like loud graphics, this is THE brand for you.
|– “But let’s be honest, you’re not buying this for function alone. I love it because it is so multi-colored.“
– “The stitching is high quality and the stretch fit is extremely comfortable.“
|Rating: (4.6 / 5)|
Newaza Rash Guard
Another contender for loud aesthetic designs, Newaza has a few head-turning rashguards to rival Hypnotik. If you can’t yet beat your sparring partner with your sparring/clinching skills, you will gain an advantage blinding him first with some Newaza shirts.
|– “ looks amazing got alot of complements on it.“
– “great fit, great quality.“
|Rating: (4.6 / 5)|
Venum Rash Guard
Another mma fan-favorite. Venum has a good range of smart looking rashguards adorned with their viper logo. Like most rash guards and compression wear, they run a little tight, so you may want to order a size or two larger. Other than that, this is a very good option and will match nicely with their gear.
|– “Love it ! Can’t wait to order more !“
– “good fit and very slick.“
|Rating: (4.7 / 5)|
Best Rash Guards for Fat Guys
It is common for overweight people to sweat more easily and profusely than normal-weight individuals. This is because fats have an insulative quality that tends to raise body temperature. If you are on the heavier side of things, wearing a rash guard is going to help wick the sweat away faster, leaving you dry and feeling more comfortable. At the same time, chafing is a common problem for overweight people. Wearing rash guards will help to ease and even prevent it, particularly for areas such as underarms and inner thighs.
Wearing a rash guard won’t make you look slimmer, and could even emphasize your middle section. However, the benefits far outweigh this little snag. Get suited up in your favorite gear, train hard and you will achieve your ideal body shape. As most rash guards are designed to fit tight, you may find that their largest offering -often an X-Large- might not fit you adequately. Fortunately, there are a few brands that offer 4XL or even 5XL compression wear that you plus-sized folks can turn to:
Under Armour Heat Gear
This is one of the best compression shirts for plus-sized folks out in the market. Under Armour shirts run up to a behemoth 4XL and tall sizes. There is a bewildering range of colors to choose from so training never gets dull.
The Heat Gear is one of UA’s most popular top and comes in both short- and long-sleeves. Oh, there’s also a sleeveless version but for the best protection, short and long-sleeves are the way to go. This has everything made for your needs, from excellent wicking capability to durable material. As an added bonus, they offer SPF30 protection, great for those who want to use it for any activity/workout under the sun or at the beach.
If you want something a little more playful, the UA superheroes range is a popular alternative.
|– “in my opinion this is still probably the best compression shirt available on the market.“
– “ if you are lean, buy your normal size. But if you are a bulkier build, definitely one size up.“
|Rating: (4.6 / 5)|
If you want something really understated and minimalist to draw the attention away, or you find loud graphics hideous, then there is no better option than this. The Legend rash guard is a consistently popular choice for a wide range of sports. While it is not designed specifically for martial arts, it has been used across many different sports -including mma and BJJ- with great reception. Legend rashguards run up to 5XL for those who needs the up-size.
|– “Lifetime warranty MADE IN USA!!!!!“
– “ It doesn’t feel tight around my neck and isn’t covered with ugly graphics like most of the other rash guards.“
|Rating: (4.3 / 5)|
Best Rash Guards for Kids
Your kids deserve the best. Rash guards will provide them with excellent overall protection and boost their training performance. With kids-centric graphics, all young martial artists will fall in love instantly with these fightwear. I wish they made some of these designs in adult size!
Fusion Fight Gear
Fusion FG’s range of rash guards are inspired by super heroes, Star Trek, video games and movies. This Canadian-based BJJ label is clearly a fun brand and their wacky designs appeal to young and old alike. There is an interesting range of rash guards designed specially for kids that young warriors -and their parents- will appreciate.
Other than making a fashion statement, there are several benefits of wearing rashguards during your muay thai training as highlighted in the article. What you wear to train should be comfortable and allow your body a great range of motion. Working out in rash guards will offer you these advantages. And besides, you know you are going to gas out at training, so why not gas out in style? Add some variety to your fightwear wardrobe and give these a trial at your Muay Thai training. We look forward to hearing about your experience wearing these for Muay Thai.