Rash guards are worn as a second skin to protect the body from irritation and from the environment. They can be worn as a stand alone item and as a base layer. When worn as a base layer under other clothing, they wick away sweat and protect sensitive parts of the body like the nipples, armpits and neck. In an activity like running, the tight fit helps to reduce any body wobbling and creates a layer protecting against outerwear such as t-shirts from rubbing and chafing. Motorcycle riders will wear rash guards to stop their leather armour sticking to clammy skin in the summer and as an additional layer to trap heat in the winter.
Worn in combat, they will guard the wearer against staph infection and ringworm by forming a barrier in between the fighter’s skins. Additionally, if the fighter is wearing leather gloves and a long sleeve rash guard, they can wipe sweat away from their eyes and face rather than just smear it about their face with a naked sweaty forearm. For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters, as a courtesy to their opponents, they also keep chest hair and sweaty bellies contained with Gi or No-Gi. Again, when worn under the Gi, they protect the skin against sometimes rough and itchy Gis.
Quality garments also have UV Factor ratings to protect the wearer from the sun too. When worn in sunny climates, the wearer no longer has to worry about constantly applying sun-cream.
Constructed from technical fabrics, the rash guard wicks away sweat from the skin. As the fabric draws sweat in, it’s lightweight fibres increase the surface area encouraging more sweat to evaporate. The evaporation cools the compression clothes, which being next to the skin, helps keep the wearer cool. Thin material active wear will keep you cooler than bare skin alone. With bare skin, the sweat will drop off your body with little cooling effect. Where technical fabrics differ from cotton, is that the material will not get sodden with sweat and water.
Are Rash Guards Performance Enhancing?
Yes. No. Maybe. Over the coming weeks we have a five part guide covering all of the science and research in performance gains. We'll present the objective data and what it means to you.
Hope this guide has helped you out and let us know in the comments below if this has helped you out!
Join us next Monday at 1230 and we'll look at the evidence which shows no benefits from compression wear.
You might be interested in our Health and Fitness magazine which cuts through the marketing and snake oil in the fitness industry to deliver the truth about nutrition and training.