rash guard vs shirt mma

Rash Guard vs. Shirt for MMA: Which Should You Train In?

You want to train in something that is comfortable and protects you, but does that mean a rash guard or a shirt is better? We’ll compare a rash guard vs shirt MMA fighters can wear while training to see which one makes more sense. As we do, we’ll take a closer look at each of these clothing items, including the pros and cons of an MMA rash guard vs compression shirt.

The Importance of Wearing the Right Gear for MMA Training

Before we get into details of a rash guard vs shirt MMA fighters should consider, why does it even matter what you wear?

Your clothing is crucial to your comfort and performance. When looking at what to wear for MMA training, you need something that will boost your performance, not detract from it.

Importance of Fit

This means that you need to wear clothing that fits you properly. If it is too tight, it can cut off your circulation and restrict your movement. If it is too loose, it can get in the way of your movements and even put you or your opponent at risk of injury due to caught limbs.

As you choose clothing, including comparing an MMA rash guard vs compression shirt, that restriction on movement is crucial. You need something that will let you move freely and comfortably. You won’t grow as an MMA fighter if you have to hold back because of your clothes. But that goes beyond physical restriction.

Importance of Compression

You’ll notice that we compare an MMA rash guard vs compression shirt instead of just a regular T-shirt. That’s because the best clothing for MMA has an element of compression built in. The compression can improve your performance and support muscle recovery.

Importance of Quality

The best MMA T-shirts will also be nice and durable. You will be able to count on them to endure your hard training. A poor-quality shirt may rip at an inopportune moment, causing the same issues as an ill-fitting shirt. Or, you may just be worried about it ripping and not be able to concentrate on your form and moves.

Importance of Protection

Wearing the right gear also plays a crucial role in your safety. You could fight MMA without a shirt on if you wanted, but it would put your skin at risk. The nature of MMA means that without an extra layer of protection, there’s a very high risk of bruises, cuts, and scratches. Those can leave you vulnerable to infection, especially considering all the germs on some mats.

Rash Guard vs. Shirt for MMA: Key Differences

To start our comparison of a rash guard vs shirt MMA fighters may buy, what is each of these?

What Is a Rash Guard?

Rash guards are incredibly popular and are typically long-sleeved, although short-sleeved ones are also available. But what is a rash guard in MMA? It is a shirt with an athletic fit designed to improve performance and provide protection.

Rash guards are designed to fit snuggly, as this will boost your performance. They are also there to protect you from nicks and cuts while fighting. They also have an element of compression to relieve muscle soreness and reduce sweating.

What Is a Compression Shirt?

You can think of a compression shirt as something between a rash guard and a regular T-shirt. At a glance, it may look like it is just a tight T-shirt made of a slightly different material. But like a rash guard, a compression shirt is specifically designed to improve your performance and protect you.

In terms of sleeves, compression shirts and rash guards are opposites. As mentioned, rash guards usually have long sleeves but can have short sleeves. By contrast, compression shirts are usually short-sleeved shirts but can have long sleeves.

MMA Rash Guard vs. Compression Shirt: Pros and Cons of Each

Now that you have a better idea of the basics of each, what are the pros and cons of a rash guard vs shirt MMA fighters should be aware of?

Pros and Cons of MMA Rash Guards

The best way to choose between the two of these is to see the pros and cons of each side by side. Let’s start wit the pros and cons of rash guards.

Pro: Additional Protection

As mentioned, rash guards tend to be long-sleeved. This gives you additional protection and minimizes the risk of cuts and scratches on your arms as you fight.

Pro: Additional Compression

MMA rash guards tend to be long-sleeved, which also gives you additional compression in your arms. That can keep your arm muscles and joints happy and prevents fatigue in those muscles.

Pro: Extra Friction

Compared to your sweaty arms, having a long-sleeved rash guard will give you more friction on your arms. This can help you hold moves better and keep your opponent where you want them.

Con: That Friction Can Help Opponents

Your opponent can also use that additional friction against you. For example, it can help them get a better grip on you.

Con: It Can Be Warmer

Between the extra compression and the longer sleeves, rash guards can sometimes get your body temperature up higher than it would be if you wore a shirt.

Pro: They Are Moisture-Wicking

As a counter to the warmth of long sleeves, rash guards will wick away moisture. This means that the long sleeves actually reduce the amount of sweat that accumulates on your arms, keeping you more comfortable.

Con: More Expensive

Rash guards are frequently more expensive than compression shirts. This comes from the additional material as well as the extra engineering and technology used in them.

Pros and Cons of MMA Shirts

So, what about MMA shirts? Here are the pros and cons of this option…

Pro: Less Movement Restriction

Keep in mind that any MMA clothing you buy should let you move freely. That being said, some people feel that they can move more freely in short sleeves than in long ones, which is a benefit of compression shirts.

Some people also say that having shorter sleeves helps them feel their arms better and stay better in control of them.

Con: Less Compression and Support

As mentioned, long-sleeved rash guards will deliver support throughout your arm, including on your forearms and elbows. But short-sleeved shirts can’t do this. That increases your risk of muscle soreness and injury.

Pro: They Are Cooler

As mentioned in the cons for rash guards, shirts tend to keep you cooler because of the lack of sleeves. That can be especially helpful if you live somewhere warm or during the summer.

Con: Your Arms Will Sweat

Because you don’t have moisture-wicking material on your arms, they will sweat. This can be uncomfortable.

Pro: Arm Sweat Has Its Uses

While arm sweat may feel uncomfortable, it makes your arms slippery. That can be incredibly useful during an MMA fight, as it makes it easier to slip out of your opponent’s grasp.

Con: You Have to Pay Attention to What You Buy

Whether you get a rash guard or an MMA shirt, you need to pay attention to what you buy, especially the quality and materials. But this is even more important for shirts than rash guards.

That’s because some websites label a regular T-shirt as an MMA shirt. In that case, you won’t get any of the benefits of compression, and you’ll have the added disadvantage of poor fit. Remember that the sleeves on a regular T-shirt pose a serious risk of injury if your limbs (or your opponent’s) get caught.

Whether You Need a Rash Guard or Shirt for MMA, Apex Has You Covered!

When it comes down to it, no one will tell you to always choose either a rash guard or a compression shirt. It is usually about personal preference. However, many fighters like to have both options and choose which to wear based on their training plans for the day or their mood.

But no matter which of the two you decide to get (or if you decide to get some of each), you can find them at Apex. We have a selection of long-sleeved MMA rash guard options for you to choose from. These rash guards are made from our unique kinetic material that is lightweight, soaks up your sweat, delivers compression, and gives you freedom of movement.

Or you can opt for one of our many MMA shirts. These shirts perfectly combine durability and stretch in a performance blend of polyester and cotton. They are form-fitting, eliminating any concerns about loose sleeves.

Parting Thoughts on the Rash Guard vs. Shirt MMA Debate

You don’t have to choose between a rash guard vs shirt; MMA fighters tend to have both in their wardrobe. Opt for the rash guard when you want additional protection or compression because you’ll be directly sparring with someone or touching the mat. Stick to shirts for other types of training. Most MMA fighters have both styles - and we recommend you try both to see which you prefer. You may even want to consider MMA tank tops for those days when you don’t need extra protection and want to stay cool.

As you choose your clothing, don’t forget about MMA hoodies or an MMA jacket. Wear them on especially cold days, when lounging around, or on your way to or from a training session.

Whatever garments you need for your training regimen, you can count on Apex Fitness - shop today and train in comfort and style to unlock peak performance!

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