Why Men's Wrestling Gear Doesn't Cut it for Women

This blog is in partnership with MyHouseSports

I want to be open and candid about wrestling partnerships. First, if we don't work together to build a community of businesses that provide wrestlers what they need, then it makes it difficult for people to create a living around the sport and then in turn give back to the sport what it needs. Second, I am thoroughly impressed by what MyHouseSports Gear has created, and the gear they are providing for girls in our sport. I did not have this while I was wrestling, and it is still limited as to what is provided for us. 

I still own my first wrestling t-shirt that was bought for me as an elementary school wrestler. Even though the graphic of the wrestlers on the tee is rather weird, at the time I didn't care. There were women on it, and it was something made for me! Since that time, I have been extremely passionate about gear for women in wrestling. Throughout college I pushed and helped get women's cut clothing for our team. On the national team, I worked on the fit and feel of women's cut singlets for my wrestling club the New York Athletic Club. Today, I am passionate about helping girls find sports bras, shorts, and practice gear that fits their bodies and helps performance. 

But why all the trouble? Not only are there barriers to entry for girls in the sport of wrestling, but the last thing we want to have happen is a wardrobe malfunction. Baggy men's shorts, t-shirts that don't fit our bodies, and less-than-supportive sports bras are a recipe for disaster in a wrestling room –– especially if you are the only female in the room. 

This is why I am partnering with and bringing you to a company who has taken the time to make sure the gear fits well and performs well on female athletes at different sizes. I was so impressed when they discussed the different methods they used ensuring that their singlets fit girls and women at different sizes and how they had to adjust the neck line so girls could get the singlet up over their hips. Now that's what I'm talking about, a company that understands we have hips! I know many of you have and are still wearing boys singlets. How frustrating is it when your teammates are confused as to why you are complaining about the fit? It may be obvious to us, but not as obvious to the opposite gender that boys gear just doesn't cut it anymore. And it shouldn't! 


MHS is offering LuchaFIT readers an exclusive 10% off* on products when you order with the code LUCHA. Here are my favorite products from MHS right now and why I love it:

*note: coupon code does not work on sale items, custom team gear, or team stores


Leggings

These take the cake. It is rare that I practice in shorts anymore. I am drawn to workout gear that covers more surface area (preventing mat burn, skin infections, and just all around comfort). I am a stickler about the see-through factor, as leggings are a no go if you can tell the color of what you are wearing underneath, and these create the ability for you to wear whatever you want underneath! Waist band is next in my book. With out a secure waist band, the fit around your legs means nothing. With a thicker waist band on the MyHouseSport leggings, I feel extremely comfortable moving, sprawling, and working on my par-terre defense! They've sent me samples, and i've put them through the ringer of hard practices, multiple wash cycles, and they still feel as good as my Lululemon leggings that were 2-3x the price. 

 

Singlets

These singlets are a great addition, especially for the freestyle season. What makes freestyle singlets different from regular season? You need two singlets, one red and one blue. The singlet can have any design, but needs to distinctly show a red or blue stripe on each leg and across the back. If you are wrestling internationally, the federation is beginning to request that the singlet cut is done in the racer back style. MyHouseSports Gear allows you to customize your singlets for your team, or for yourself! 

 

Compression top and shorts

Since the NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) has approved the two-piece competition uniform, more wrestlers have began to choose this option. The availability of shorts and compression tops for girls is quite limited. However, MHS has seen the need for this option and created gear for the girls looking for a different option than competing in a singlet. 

 

 

Managing Your Period at a Tournament

How often have you arrived at competition and realized you just started your period? Did you have all you needed, or did the stress of being with out the proper tools wear you down? Learning good habits which help support you during your period are a must for female athletes. Being prepared is key, but often we don't have a clue what we should be prepared for! Let's talk strategies and tools we can utilize so the day of competition is a little less painful. 

Get an app

Make sure you know when your period begins, and if it coincides with a tournament. By getting a period app on your phone, you will be able to track what time of month it comes, record your symptoms, and be better prepared for when it does arrive. Once you start using period apps, you will never go back. Over time, they learn how many days your cycle is, and will begin to predict the exact day your period begins. Learn more about tracking your cycle and the best phone apps to do the job on this LuchaFIT blog post.

Black spandex shorts

I highly recommend wearing or at least having an emergency pair of black spandex shorts to go under your singlet or competition shorts. If it comes to tournament day and you realize that your period is heavy, take the extra precaution and put on an extra layer. We never expect leaks, and they always happen when we are least prepared! Spandex shorts will be very discreet under competition wear, and using a black pair will help minimize stains as you use them on your period over time. The comfort of knowing you have a layer that protects you from leaking during a match is worth the extra effort of remembering a pair of shorts! 

A case for your necessities 

Sometimes, we don't want everyone to see when we take our period supplies with us to the bathroom. If that's the case, get a non-obvious case or bag that includes your period necessities, as well as extra supplies like underwear, spandex shorts, hand sanitizer, and a travel detergent packet. If you are 100% tampon kind of girl, it is beneficial to also keep panty liners or pads. It can be very difficult to remember to do a bathroom break as often as we should when we are in competition mode. Having panty liners to prevent leaks from getting worse, or as an extra layer if you know you wont be able to change your tampon before a leak happens. 

Schedule the Day

If you are someone who forgets how long its been since you've done a bathroom check, have a time schedule for when you will check or change. Make sure you set an alarm on your phone, go each time you've finished a match, or have a teammate remind you at intervals throughout the day. It can be such a challenge to balance the needs you have on competition day, let alone heading to the bathroom for just in case checks. 

If an Oops happens

If you can have a second uniform to wear, be sure to always bring that during your period. If thats not the case, bring travel size detergent to scrub the spot out in the sink and put it under the hand dryer in the bathroom. We've all been in dire situations, and sometimes you have to utilize what you have available to you! 

5 Items You Shouldn't Forget for Competition

For every sport competition, we have our typical packing list of must haves: uniform, food, water, lucky socks. But the more we compete, the more we find ourselves in situations where we didn't have what we needed. And even though we try and buffer for most situations, not everyone knows what to pack just in case. Here are the 5 items you should never forget to bring with you to a competition.

Athletic Tape

There are basic uses for tape that don't require you to become an athletic trainer. You can tape your fingers when they've been jammed, or for joint areas when you need extra support. Other than its intended purpose to tape injuries, the uses for athletic tape can be endless! It can be used for a headgear strap that broke and needs a quick repair, for shoe laces that cannot be loose, for your teammate who ripped their singlet strap, or to repair a broken hair tie when it was your last one! Athletic tape is useful due to its ability to be ripped into half its width. I'm sure you will find even more creative uses than I have!

The Emergency Kit

Your kit should include any medicines (cold medicines for overnight trips) or personal necessities you may need when you have a weekend at a competition. What is often overlooked are the things we think we can buy if we end up needing them, like feminine hygiene products. We never think our period will start during the middle of a tournament... and then it DOES! First thing in your kit should be extra underwear for that unexpected leak, or even for after the competition is over. Bring a variety of tampons, pads, and period underwear (it's the hot new thing, check out Thinx Panties). You never know what you will prefer on the day of competition, and you don't want to be without the options. Even if you've brought more than enough variety of feminine hygiene products for yourself, you'll always have a teammate who has forgotten her own supply. She most likely also didn't anticipate beginning her period on the day of the tournament!

Extra Tee Shirt

I was told years ago by a coach the importance of feeling fresh after the morning warm up before competition, and to always have new clothes to change into. Since then, I always have extras so I am not sitting around in my sweaty warm up clothing. At the very least, having an extra tee shirt to change into after the warm up will help give the mentality of further prepping and preparing to be fresh for competition. Anything that gives you a psychological edge over your competition is always a good thing. 

Rehydration Convenience

If you are depending on a coach or parent to get to a store and get the hydration you need, that might be your first mistake. Depending on others to provide what you know is best for you could result in you not having enough for the day, or ::gasp!:: the wrong type of drink entirely! Now that may sound sarcastic, but having proper hydration is critical. If someone bought the team Gatorade and you only like Powerade, becoming dehydrated helps no one. Be responsible for what you know you need and have it with you in travel packet form. This way it's conveniently always in your competition bag and you can easily mix it into water.

Massage Recovery Tools

Today we have much better understanding about how the body works and how to recover in between workouts. Competition is no exception. After sitting in a gym all day, re-warming up in between matches, and wrestling multiple times in a day, it's important to help those aches and pains. There are a lot of tools you can utilize, but I have a few favorites that work best. A mini travel foam roller, tennis or lacrosse ball to roll out tight areas and knots, or a massage stick roller are amazing products. You can see me hauling almost all my massage tools to each competition. See below for my favorites!

Choosing Underwear for Female Wrestlers

As combat athletes and especially wrestlers, we face a very different set of challenges when it comes to choosing our workout gear. Being in tight fitting leggings, shorts, or competition singlets requires us to look at our undergarments from a different perspective. Gone are the days where we can wear our favorite lucky neon pink undies for competition... especially if we appreciate some modesty. When it comes to wearing spandex, we have to know how "sheer is our gear" before we get into a stance. I have had my fair share of undergarment faux pas, at practices and competitions. Here are my recommendations to help you navigate the world of sport and underwear!

Color

Look for underwear that is the closest to your skin color. Trying to match the color of your underwear to the color of what you are wearing will not always prove successful. Spandex is skin tight and you don't want to differentiate your underwear from your skin. This would be like giving someone x-ray vision to what you are wearing! Unfortunately, the underwear market isn't as diverse as it needs to be to fit all skin colors. You may have to do some digging, but once you find underwear that works for you, ask the company to provide more skin tones. Most likely you're not the only one looking for that product! 

Seamless Thong, Briefs or Bikini 

Stick to the underwear cut that is most comfortable for you. By finding underwear that has a seamless style, you wont have to resort strictly to a thong in order to prevent underwear lines. Briefs or hipster style will cut lower along the hips than a bikini style, which helps with the "no see" look. A thong can be ideal if you often are dealing with adjusting your underwear during practice or competition. However, never purchase a string thong as it has a thick seamed side and will be seen through spandex. Be sure to find a thong with a wider side, and avoid lace on any kind of underwear you choose. Below are some examples of seamless underwear. 

Sweat and Moisture Wicking Fabrics 

It is important to not wear cotton underwear for workouts and competition. Conventional thought told us that because cotton is absorbent, it would be the best material when sweating. However we have learned while cotton may absorb, it doesn't wick the moisture away from the body. This means moisture stays close to the skin, which increases bacteria and may lead to an increased risk of yeast infections. Choose breathable fabrics specifically designed for sport: combinations of microfiber, polyester, nylon, or spandex. The other advantage to sweat wicking fabrics are their convenience to wash and quickly dry if you have any accidental leaks during your period.

Spandex shorts

Your other alternative for practice and competition is wearing black spandex shorts underneath your singlet or workout gear. Now you can wear those lucky neon pink panties and not worry about them showing through! Spandex shorts are thicker underneath your gear, so be sure to find ones that are light and do not bunch as your move. They should have similar properties to the underwear you choose: moisture wicking and breathable.

Whatever undergarments you choose, make sure to have a trusted girlfriend do the "stance check." Can they see your undergarments through your spandex? Underwear isn't something we often discuss, but so many girls have questions about! Bring me all your questions about this topic if you want to see me write more on this subject! 

 


5 Minimalist Items You Need for a Home Workout

It can be tempting to fall into the trap of accumulating workout gear in order to get a good sweat at home. I decided to put together the 5 items that I have personally used for years and LOVE. They are good quality, long lasting, and minimal! There is no reason to have endless amounts of un-used workout gear that take up space in your home. For me, it is so important to be able to put everything away after I am done. By minimizing the workout gear clutter, you will find you can focus on and enjoy your workouts so much more!

1. Foam Roller

If you haven't jumped on the band wagon yet for foam rollers, its time to stop being such a skeptic! It is fast becoming the go-to tool for muscle prep and recovery for all workouts. Also called self-mayofascial release, it supports immediate body improvements and is a universal tool used for every part of the body. Think of it as an alternative for getting soft-tissue work done by a therapist on your fascia, or first layer of soft tissue. For most of us, its not practical to get weekly or daily massages, and a good foam roller can help in that absence. Its benefits include relaxing and prepping tight muscles, increasing blood flow, increased range of motion, reduced muscle tension, and increased recovery post workout. 

A good foam roller is a must for getting effective results. As effective as a basic soft or high density foam roller can be, you will quickly find that your body will adjust to the smooth surface. As you improve and adjust the intensity of your own workouts, your foam roller should be able to adjust to the next level along with you. The best option is going towards a sports medicine-style foam roller with grids that allow for next level focus on your muscles. The best on the market are the Trigger Point foam rollers. They carry multiple sizes, and I in LOVE with my 26" roller and the mini size. The mini allows for compact travel and is great to pinpoint problem areas. The 26" Trigger Point Roller is a fantastic investment to use before and after all of your workouts. This product is worth the extra price, as it does the job of many tools advertised. This product will last you a lifetime, and you don't run the risk of a less expensive foam roller made of expanded polypropylene (EPP) loosing its shape over time.

2. Bands

Therapy bands or exercise bands are must for your at home workout. Not only are they extremely versatile, but they can allow you to complete more movements with resistance than weights ever can. They also provide a huge range of resistance strength, from light to heavy, which help simulate using heavy weights. It comes in handy if you are traveling for business or for competition. If you are ever in a tight spot, you can conveniently travel with your bands so you can get a workout in anywhere. There is a ton of variety available, but the best bands to start out with (and best bang for your buck!) is TheraBand. They are thin, lightweight bands that allows you to do a wide variety of exercises. They are color coordinated which is super convenient, so you can record your progress as you increase resistance colors. The beginner set allows you to increase resistance as you shorten your grip on the band, and you can control the tension. You can tie the two loose ends to change the tension and to utilize a different type of workout. These are thin, so I would not recommend looping over something stationary and leaning back for a body weighted pull-type exercise. The only problem any kind of silicon rubber band is the possibility of loosing tension over time, or ripping. Take care of your bands and they will take care of you!

3. Weighted Medicine Ball

I've used weighted medicine balls in my training for years. Most of the time I would utilize a larger, soft shell medicine ball used for dynamic movements, plyometric, throwing, and partner exercises. But when it comes to my home gym, I have to be able to maximize my workout in a much smaller space. Using a smaller rubber shell ball allows for dynamic work without needing huge amounts of space. Using the rebounding and rolling capabilities, I can get creative with my at home workouts. These rubber medicine balls are extremely durable, and I can't see them needing to be replaced at any time. Find a mid-range weight (I recommend between 8-12 pounds) that will allow you to be versatile in your workouts and use it for more than just med ball slams. 

4. Jump Rope

There is no reason to have to invest in bulky equipment like stationary bikes, treadmills, or row machines. They take up space in your home and in your mind. They become a constant reminder that if you don't use them, you don't get your money's worth! Hands down the best way to add in cardio and agility is through jump roping. I love a basic jump rope, which is why I chose the one below! I am not a big fan of the jump ropes that have metal clamps exposed for adjusting. They don't allow any kind of dynamic rope turning and get twisted if you try. If I slip down on the handle, I risk getting rubbed by the metal or the exposed end of the rope. Give me simplicity and I'm a happy girl! The rope below gives the best of both worlds, with comfortable handles and no catching or hinging  problems. It still allows for height adjustment by unscrewing the handles from the rope. Everything is hidden in the handles and you get to choose your color! 

5. Tabata Timer 

I love tabata or interval workouts for home!  The best way to time myself has been using my Gymboss Interval Timer. I have used many tabata or interval timers apps on my phone, but I continue to go back to my Gymboss. It allows me to have the timer clipped right to me if I need to move around the house (or at a gym) to create my workout, which makes it so convenient! No more worrying about moving my phone near me to hear the timer, or if I want to check what set I am on but my phone is across the room. I have often used an interval app in a busy gym, and I never feel comfortable moving from exercise to exercise with it laying on the floor. I especially HATE having a big beeper on that would be distracting to others around me. Not to mention, a phone call or text message interrupting the timer or throwing you off your game. That is so NOT needed in the middle of a great workout. The Gymboss has a vibrate setting so no one needs to know my interval times but me! I bought mine in 2009 and it is still going strong! 

The Gymboss allows you to choose the number of sets, your work time, your rest time, or if you just want it to time you continuously. You can change the alarm duration as well as how loud the beep is, if you add vibrate, or use only vibrate. This little guy gives you complete control and complete focus on your workouts! 


Related Posts