If you're a boxing fan, you've probably seen one of your favorite fighters wearing a sauna suit - a two-piece set (pants and shirt/jacket) designed to help boxers lose that last bit of water weight before a fight.
Boxers and MMA fighters tend to fight at weight classes much lighter than their day-to-day walking around weight. They usually do this through strict diets and training routines, but also through dehydration to get rid of the last few pounds. This is known as weight cutting.
While weight cutting is controversial, with some people arguing that it's a dangerous practice that needs to be banned completely, it's a part of the sport nonetheless. Days before a big fight, boxers and MMA fighters will drink less water, submerge themselves in salt baths, sit in saunas and train with a sauna suit to lose weight.
In this article, we'll go over the purpose of a sauna suit for boxing and the best sauna suit currently available for boxing athletes.
WHAT IS A SAUNA SUIT?
A sauna suit is a set of pants and a shirt/jacket that is used to increase sweating, blood circulation and weight loss.
Sauna suits are often worn by boxers, MMA fighters and athletes in other sports to lose the last bit of weight / water weight before a competition.
WHY DO BOXERS WEAR SAUNA SUITS?
Why do boxers want to lose weight before a competition? It's simple - an advantage.
Boxers try to weigh in at the lowest weight class physically possible for themselves to make, because it can then lead to a weight advantage during the fight. For example, let’s say that you walk around at 170lbs, but you fight in the 155lbs division. If you’re able to lose 15 lbs and weigh in at 155lbs, which typically involves dehydration, you can then regain some weight right before the fight by upping your water and salt intake. That extra weight during the fight can lead to a significant advantage over your opponent.
Granted, since weight and water cutting is standard practice, it's pretty much a disadvantage if you don't do it, because it's more than likely that your opponent is doing it too. That's not to say that it's a great practice, just that it happens.
And that’s where a sauna suit comes in. A sauna suit's purpose for boxing is to help fighters shed off as much water weight as possible before a bout.
Dehydrate - lose weight - make weight - rehydrate - gain weight - fight.
HOW DOES A SAUNA SUIT FOR BOXING WORK?
BENEFITS OF SAUNA SUITS FOR BOXERS
Beyond losing water weight, using sauna suits for your boxing training has benefits that can translate to better training, performance and recovery.
In another article, we went over the science and benefits of sauna suits, which include:
- Improved Cardiovascular Performance - improvements in VO2max, ventilatory threshold, and time trial performances. In simple terms, athletes that trained while wearing a sauna suit were able to take up and use more oxygen during intense exercise. The higher your VO2 max, the better your aerobic fitness.
- Muscular Growth and Enhanced Recovery - heat shocks our body. When our body's exposed to high temperatures, it releases proteins (heat shock proteins) that help protect, grow and recover muscles during and after exercise.
- Reduced Injury Risk - boxing in a sauna suit helps keep your muscles and joints warmed up and loose. Building heat builds flexibility, and when your body’s warm, your muscles relax.
There's lots of other benefits to boxing sauna suits, but those are by far the most studied and most relevant to your training as a fighter. Adding the Contender Sauna Suit to your training regimen can improve your training, recovery and performance.