Boxing Sauna Suits: Purpose, Benefits and the Best Sauna Suit

Boxing Sauna Suits: Purpose, Benefits and the Best Sauna Suit

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?

A sauna suit isn't very breathable, which means that the body heat you produce during a hard training session stays trapped inside of the suit. That increased body heat puts your body into overdrive, since it's natural response is to cool off when you're hitting the bag, lifting weights, sparring or doing cardio..
One of the ways your body cools down is by sweating - the release of a salt-based fluid from your sweat glands. In a normal situation, that sweat cools you off by coming into contact with the outside air and evaporating, cooling you down in the process.
 
If you're boxing and wearing a sauna suit, there's little to no exposure to that outside air, which means your body won't be able to cool down like it wants to. That leads to an endless cycle - your body gets hot, it sweats to try and cool down, the sauna suit blocks the cooling process, so your body sweats even more to try and cool off.
Repeat that cycle for a training session or too and you'll find that you've lost a significant amount of water weight. A sauna suit is just one of the ways that boxers lose water weight before a fight.
Boxing Sauna Suit - Purpose and Benefits | Fighthaus

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.

And of course, if you're trying to cut weight for a fight, the Contender Sauna Suit is an asset to help you shed the last bit of water before a weigh in.