Why Do BJJ Practitioners Use Rashguards?
If you've seen the list of equipment and gear you need to practice BJJ, you might wonder if everything on the list is necessary. The short answer: yes. It's important to arm yourself with the proper gear to protect yourself in BJJ, because this affects the state of your body in the long haul, too. The more guarded you are, the less pain you'll feel and you'll be able to enjoy the training more. Speaking of guard, one fundamental on the equipment and gear list is a rashguard. It sounds self-explanatory, but there are multiple benefits in wearing a rashguard, even if you don't participate in competitive BJJ.
Here are the reasons why you should always wear rashguards:
Rash prevention. The purpose is in the name! The most significant advantage of wearing rashguards is it'll protect you from developing rashes. It's easy to think of them lightly, but picking up bacteria from the constant grappling can result in pretty serious infections. The two most common diseases you contract from participating in BJJ without rashguards are ringworm and staph infection, both two highly resistant skin infections that seriously harm your body.
Mat burn blockage. As stated above, when practicing BJJ, you'll come into frequent contact with the mats beneath you. The friction between your skin against the textured surface can be uncomfortable at best, and give you skin burns at worst. Rashguard-less grappling affects your elbows in particular, which often take the most substantial amount of hard impact you're experiencing. Without rashguards, continuously rubbing your skin against the hot and often damp surface can irritate your skin, develop friction scars, and again—can potentially lead to infections.
Moisture absorption. Apart from it acting as a barrier between your skin and the mat (and bacteria), the material of rashguards are also made from thin, breathable, yet durable fabric that's designed to absorb any sweat forming on your body. The more you roll, the more sweat forms, and the rashguards prevent your body from getting dumped and deters the potential of your sweat transferring onto the mat. Wearing a rashguard ensures a clean and sanitary BJJ session, with the added benefit that when you don't have to worry about sweating, you can focus more on your movements.
Gi durability. Contingent to wicking away the sweat from your body, wearing a rashguard also extends the longevity of your gi. A high-quality gi isn't exactly affordable, and although they're made to be long-lasting, the constant sweat may 'wear out' the fabric. It's important to wash your gi thoroughly, but having a rashguard underneath it is the added layer of protection it needs to prevent deterioration from the constant contact with liquids or sweat.
Muscle compression. Even though this isn't a direct or intentional purpose, wearing rashguards compress your muscles and thus quickens the recovery time for injuries. Rolling and grappling can lead to pulled muscles, and because of the body-hugging fit of the suit, the healing process will be faster than without a rashguard because it helps with the blood flow. Overall, this means less downtime and muscle soreness.