Wrestling is a demanding contact sport that will certainly build your character and help you improve your physical condition. This article teaches you how to practice it safely and, most importantly, how to follow some common hygiene rules regarding your wrestling headgear and the rest of your accessories in order to prevent infections and some injuries.
What are the risks?
When practicing wrestling you will stay in constant contact with your opponent, so there is always the risk of passing skin infections such as staph infection, ringworm, and certain viruses such as herpes. All of them are extremely contagious, meaning you could risk infecting the entire wrestling room unless you pay attention to these simple yet efficient hygiene rules.
Change equipment frequently during practice
Whether we’re talking about singlets or shorts and shirts, demanding training sessions will make you sweaty. Depending on your genes and diet, you could have a more “acid” sweat that could cause skin irritations and discomfort. Therefore, you will need to change your equipment several times during practice to make sure you stay cool and dry.
Shower before and after practice or competition
Frequent showers will lower the risk of developing bacteria or fungus on your body and will also help you balance your skin pH.
Although showering before practice isn’t 100% necessary, you should take five minutes of your time if you come directly from school or work. Alternating hot and cold water will strengthen your muscles and your immune system, giving you a well-needed energy boost before training.
However, you should hit the shower immediately after finishing practice not only to get off dirt, grease, and sweat but also to keep away bacteria coming from your workout gear and the mat.
Make sure to thoroughly wash every part of your body, including the area between your toes and fingers to prevent fungal infections. Use an antibacterial soap or washing gel.
Don’t wear your wrestling shoes on the street
They might look good and they might be comfortable, but remember that wrestling shoes should only touch the mat in your training room. Wearing your workout shoes on the street as well will wear them off faster while increasing the chance of gathering germs and bacteria that you will later transfer to the mat.
This may sound like common sense, but we cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your private toiletries for your personal use only.
Towels, soap bars, deodorants, razors, and any other item that gets in contact with your skin should be kept separately from the rest of your wrestling gear too. However, you could borrow your cleaning products (shampoos or showering gels) as long as they come in a liquid shape and don’t touch your skin directly.
Keep your fingernails trimmed
One of the first things you’ll learn in your wrestling classes is that fingernails should always be kept clean and trimmed. Wearing long nails can quickly spread skin infections and bacteria by accidentally scratching your opponent during practice.
In addition, long fingernails are prone to breaking since there will be plenty of fighting involved in your training. Looking on the bright side, ladies can still enjoy a relaxing manicure and paint their nails as long as they keep them cut.
Keep your wrestling gear separate
Whenever you finish off training, you should put all your clothes, shoes, and accessories in a separate bag and not mix them up with your clean clothes, and the rest of your items from your duffle bag. This way, you will prevent bacteria and dirt coming in contact with your skin after you’ve showered, and lower the risk of getting infections.
Wash your wrestling gear frequently
Singlets, socks, underwear, and wrestling clothes should be washed after each practice to prevent bacteria or germs from developing.
Shoes and protective gear should be washed as often as you consider necessary. However, keep in mind that not all wrestling shoes can be washed in the regular washing machine. If you want to prolong the life of your suede and leather boots, clean them using professional leather products, and avoid contact with water, bleachers, and alcohol-based solutions.
You can also use a moisturizing cream on leather shoes to keep them soft, comfortable, and flexible, and prevent cracks from overstretching.
Mesh shoes can be safely cleaned in the washing machine, but we don’t recommend repeating the process more than once every week, depending on the frequency of your training sessions. We also recommend investing in a second pair of shoes to prevent wear after a short time.
Disinfect the mat and your protective gear
Before and after every training session, we suggest using disinfectant wipes and substances to clean the mat, your helmet, and your knee pads. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one using the training mat, so you don’t probably want to touch someone else’s sweat.
Repeat the process after you finish practicing to prepare the mat for the next training pair. This shows respect for your colleagues and promotes working in a healthy and clean environment.
Learn when to take a break
Any open wounds, cuts, lacerations, skin infections or irritations should be treated accordingly. In the meantime, you are advised to stay away from the mat and interrupt your training routines. Practicing wrestling with open wounds is strictly forbidden as this will prolong your healing process and pose a high infection risk for your opponent.
You should immediately see a doctor for any type of bruises, concussions, sprains, and painful injuries, as these could have more severe side effects if left untreated. If the doctor says it’s alright for you to resume training, make sure you wear all your protective gear and use bandages if necessary.