Last Updated on September 28, 2022
Do you sometimes wonder why wrestlers show up in skin-tight singlets and not less-revealing attire? What do wrestlers wear under their singlets?
You're not alone because a singlet is one item that most fans never understand or love.
They wear a wrestling singlet because all combat sports have attire guidelines and the benefits of wearing such a smooth fabric in a full-contact sport.
You'll get information here, whether you're an aspiring wrestler or only a fan. Let's start with the question everyone asks:
Are Singlets Necessary?
Yes, they are, and for the following reasons.
No Grasping Or Grabbing
It sticks to the skin such that an opponent cannot grab it, as would be the case if a wrestler wore a T-shirt. However, you can still take down your opponent even when they wear such form-fitting uniforms.
It's also an advantage to both wrestlers as it reduces the risk of accidental or deliberate grabbing that can lead to a penalty.
No Embarrassing Moments
Physical contact in martial arts doubles the chances of revealing a player's body. You might even miss and pull down your opponent's clothes.
When both players wear a wrestling singlet, there are little to no chances of accidentally pulling the uniform off.
The spandex and lycra blend or nylon is so smooth an opponent finds it hard to grasp it despite the body underneath being sweaty. On top of that, this material doesn't show sweat.
Reduces The Risk Of Finger Injury
Since a wrestling singlet is skin-tight, it prevents injuries from an opponent getting their fingers stuck in clothing as it doesn't have accessories like zippers.
This form-fitting outfit also makes it possible for the referee to judge based on movement and form if there is a need for a penalty call.
As the referee circles the wrestlers during a match, it's possible to see where the hands, arms, and legs are so that wrestlers can't try illegal maneuvers.
What's Under A Wrestling Singlet?
Wrestlers may wear:
- A brief
- Jock strap
- Protective cups
- Compression shorts
A jock strap ensures the freedom to engage in the sport without the fear of revealing your body or what may happen if an opponent hits your groin. You can wear a protective cup inside the jockstrap or do away with the jockstrap and wear a protective cup with compression shorts or directly under the singlet.
Wrestlers wear cups to prevent sudden strikes to the groin. However, using them isn't ideal in competitive wrestling because if an opponent strikes and dislodges the cup, it might harm you.
Another protection measure is wearing compression shorts under a singlet to prevent any reveal should a singlet be torn during the match and also give you another layer of protection.
Some wrestlers prefer wearing nothing underneath. Remember, what wrestlers wear under their singlets isn't only about personal preferences but also about the organization and what is practical. For instance, female wrestlers wear sports bras underneath.
You must have noted that wrestling singlets have different designs. Let's look at singlet types.
This traditional design is the kind you see on an Olympic athlete. It sits high on an athlete's body, and that's where it gets this name. The top resembles a full vest, covering the chest and near the arms. Most female wrestlers wear such wrestling singlets.
It's almost like a high-cut singlet but covers less of the armpit and neck area.
It's more revealing than the other two above, as you see most of the chest, the sides, and the back. The neckline starts from the mid-stomach area, and the straps run over the shoulders and cross on the back.
It looks more like shorts with shoulder straps, and you'll never see an Olympian or wrestlers in some organizations wearing it. But, the seven-foot-tall Big Show likes low-cut singlets.
In summary, professional wrestlers wear a singlet of smooth fabric with men's wrestling singlets not lower than 3.9 inches around the neckline and the same length under the arms. The neckline of a female wrestler's singlet should be about 5.9 inches and the arm area under 3.9 inches.
Both singlets should be between 7.8 and 9.8 inches above the knee. But, you can also wear one that covers the whole leg to the ankle like tights.
When The Singlet Story Began
A wrestling singlet isn't new in the sport, as it dates back to the 1960s when the collegiate wrestling association (NCAA) approved its use after years of players appearing in wrestling matches in tights or trunks.
Before its popularity caught on, wrestlers would wear a pair of tights under it. Now, you'll barely see any wrestler wearing a pair of skin tights under singlets.
Additional accessories to complete a wrestler's uniform are:
Elbow And Knee Pads
These knee pads offer protection in case of a fall or friction.
They're lightweight for quick movement and made of breathable material. Further, wear wrestling shoes for ankle support.
Headgear & Mouthguard
It can be an ear or face guard. To complete the uniform wrestler wears a mouthguard to protect the mouth, tongue, and teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you have to wear singlets in wrestling?
We've discussed some of the reasons above, including that this skin-tight uniform prevents an opponent from accidentally or intentionally grabbing you. Additionally, a single-piece wrestling uniform prevents the embarrassment of accidentally revealing yourself in a match.
Based on rule changes between 2019 and 2021, teams can wear a two-piece comprising form-fitting wrestling shorts and a top.
Can you wear tights under a singlet?
This depends on the competition or organization, as high school wrestling allows full-length tights and a one-piece singlet.
Why is a Singlet Controversial?
A singlet is revealing, and that's why more people sit on the fence when asked whether they approve of it or prefer to see wrestlers in less form-fitting uniforms. As a result, some organizations are replacing the singlets with a two-piece uniform.
When you look at this argument from the practicality of the singlets, you know that its approval served the interests of participants in wrestling matches. It's all about comfort and safety.
The singlet dates back to the 1960s when the wrestling world did away with t-shirts and shorts and embraced the one-piece uniform.
Despite its controversy, when you look at this uniform's purpose, which is to reduce the risk of illegal grabbing or injury to both players in a match, there's every reason wrestlers wear singlets.
That begs the question, what do wrestlers wear under their singlets? Some wear nothing, a jockstrap or a brief. It's a wrestler's choice as long as what they wear is within the rules of this martial arts sport.