This article comes from the BJJ gi nerds over at GiReviews.Net. Stay turned to their site for an upcoming review of the Scramble Wave gi!
Let’s talk about spats man.
Some call them man-tights or “mights”, Man leggings or “meggings”, some call them just tights, sports tights and then again some just call them spats. Not all spats fall under the category of compression sportswear, but in general most provide at least a moderate amount of compression and the hygiene benefits are paramount. Whatever you call them, they are a submission grappling phenomenon all on their own. Chances are that you’ve seen the rainbow spats infamously worn by Shinya Aoki in one iteration or another, if not you can check out this nice time-line of Shinya’s spat wearing evolution here.
Spats can be of any color and in any combination of those colors, which makes spats quite universal aesthetically. Some may balk at the thought of wearing “tights” as just not manly, but you’d be hard pressed to find a No-Gi grappler or Gi grappler alike who doesn’t enjoy a nice pair of spats. Once you try them, it’s doubtful you would want to return to your unhygienic and uncomfortable ways. If that’s not enough to convince you that they’re manly, last time I checked, SUPERMAN wears them.
Spats aren’t limited to the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission grappling either, they are quite popular in the NBA and NFL as well. Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Dwayne Wade can all be seen wearing sports tights periodically. As time goes by, spats are becoming more and more popular as their benefits become more apparent.
What benefits you may ask?
- On the physical science side of the house for starters, it keeps your muscles warm to prevent strain and fatigue. It wicks sweat away from your happy places to prevent chafing and rashes.
- Doctors also have conducted group studies that have shown that compression clothing “prevented loss of motion, decreased perceived soreness, reduced swelling and promoted recovery of force production” .
So not only are your muscles going to not feel as sore immediately after a workout, but they’re also going to recover faster and keep you chafe free.
Sounds like a no-brainer right? It’s also been speculated that “by reducing muscle oscillation, it’s thought that compression garments may reduce stress injuries.” and that “better proprioception could also theoretically reduce risk of injury by knowing when your body is at its limits – so you don’t over-extend joints”. Due to all these functional attributes spats can possibly prevent injuries and keep you on the mat with less down time, depending on how much of a compression factor they provide.
Much like the spats’ close cousin, the rash guard, there are also some hygienic benefits to spats. By wearing spats you’re helping yourself to avoid potentially nasty ailments such as staph infections and ringworm, whether it be from your training partner or some mats that could use a good cleaning. Sweaty skin to skin contact in grappling isn’t the best idea in regards to your health. Spats also help to avoid mat burn on your knees and other skin contact points.
Gi grapplers find spats to improve the comfort of their Gi’s by protecting against any scratchy surfaces on the inside of their Gi pants. While on the other hand, No-Gi grapplers will note an increased amount of friction which leads to a greater ability to maintain grips with their legs, an essential aspect of No-Gi wear Gi grips are not available.
With tons of options out there to appease many tastes, you really can’t go wrong with spats. A general rule of thumb though is to look for sublimated logos/graphics, solid stitching and pants that are light but still thick so they won’t tear.
And a good phrase that comes to mind when I think of spats is one coined by Scramble, “Once you go spats, you never go back!”
1. ^ Doan BK, Kwon YH, Newton RU, et al. (Aug 2003). “Evaluation of a lower-body compression garment”. J Sports Sci 21 (8): 601–10. doi:10.1080/0264041031000101971. PMID 12875311.
2. ^ , Karina Bray et al. (Nov 2011). An Extra Edge. Choice: The people’s watchdog:http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/food-and-health/diet-and-exercise/exercise-equipment/compression-sports-wear.aspx#More information