Training Muay Thai can be dangerous without the right protective gear.
And fewer body parts are more important to protect than the groin – as anyone who has ever taken a knee to that area will tell you!
Buying a decent groin guard or groin protector is paramount to your safety in Muay Thai sparring, and you should never spar without one.
This guide will explain the different types of guards available, what features you need, and also has some recommendations from me – to ensure you get the best groin guard for your training.
Brands and recommendations
There is a bewildering choice of groin guards available online.
To save you some time and effort, I’ve included a list of well-known MMA and Muay Thai brands along with some of their best groin guards.
RDX M2 groin guard **My personal recommendation**
RDX are a well known British martial arts gear brand who have been making protective gear for years.
The RDX M2 is my personal recommendation as I use one myself and find it protects my downstairs from all harm and is extremely comfortable.
It has a solid steel cup with a soft leather rim, and a comfy jock strap which can actually be adjusted with a Velcro strap.
I wear it all the time at training and barely notice it’s there… Until it saves me from a devastating low blow.
Venum Challenger groin guard
Venum are another well known MMA gear brand, and this groin guard is high quality, protective and comfortable.
It comes with an elasticated jock strap and a pouch in the front to insert the cup.
The cup itself is made of tough plastic with a gel rim to soften the impact of any big shots.
The only downside to this groin protector is that it is a bit on the pricey side – especially when compared to some of the steel options available.
Shock Doctor groin guard
Shock Doctor solely make protective gear for contact sports and are best known for their mouth guards.
This groin guard is of a decent quality standard, comes with an elasticated jock strap, and plastic cup with rubber rim.
There is not much difference between this guard and the Venum one.
RDX H1 groin guard **my budget pick**
If you’re limited on budget then I would suggest going for the RDX H1 groin guard
It has an elasticated waist band that features a pouch for inserting the gel lined plastic cup.
The fit is a bit loose and cumbersome due to the thick heavy waist band and large pouch – but it’s good value for the price, and will protect you adequately.
Cup only groin guards
If you already have compression shorts and want to get a cup only groin guard, the following options from RDX and Meister are high quality cups.
In order to use a cup-only groin guard, you will need to have a pair of compression shorts to place them in.
Tip: Never place a cup into your underwear, it will rub against the skin like crazy – not very pleasant.
Under Armour, Shock Doctor and RDX make some good quality compression shorts.
Some even have dedicated pouches to insert cup groin guards.
- Types of groin guard/protector
- Cup rim
Types of groin guard/protector
There are a few variations of groin guard available for Muay Thai and general martial arts. You need to ensure that you buy the right one for your safety and protection.
Cup groin guards
Cups are the simplest form of groin guard available – they are one curved piece of plastic or metal which need to be tucked into compression shorts to hold them in place.
Pros – easy to take in and out
Cons – Require compression shorts and sometimes move out of place
Jock strap + cup groin guards
The best types of groin guards for Muay Thai or MMA in my opinion, are cups that come with a jock strap to place them in.
The jock strap is simply an elasticated waist band and leg straps to hold the cup in place. Some cups will be attached to the jock strap, whereas some will have a compartment to slip the cup in and out.
Pros – All-in-one solution, groin guard stays firmly in place
Cons – Take longer to take on and off than a cup, but I always wear mine (over my underwear and under my shorts) to every training session because there’s always a chance you will be sparring – and they aren’t uncomfortable to wear.
I would opt for a jock strap + cup groin guard for most comfort and protection.
The jock strap will normally be made from some kind of elasticated fabric. However, the cup which provides the protective element can be made of a few different materials.
Cups made form a solid plastic are tough enough to take most blows – I’ve never heard of an instance of a plastic guard breaking, but in theory they could shatter from a particularly heavy shot.
If you want an absolute guarantee of protection from any force, steel cups are the toughest you can buy.
They will not break from the impact of any Muay Thai strike – even from the deadliest of sparring partners.
Do not get a fabric groin guard for Muay Thai or MMA!
If you’ve been shopping around for groin guards online, you may have come across fabric guards like the one above.
Please do not use a fabric guard for Muay Thai or MMA training – they are not tough enough to protect your private parts from a big knee or kick.
Always opt for steel or plastic cups.
The outer edge of the cup which makes contact with the body, must be encased in something soft – otherwise the sharp edges of the cup will dig into your skin. This will be uncomfortable at best, and quite painful if the guard takes a big knock.
Look for cups that are lined with gel, rubber or foam if you want to avoid chaffing during kick drills.
How much should you pay for a groin guard?
All jokes aside, groin protection is a serious issue in Muay Thai, kickboxing, or any combat sport, so I would recommend investing in a decent one.
Generally speaking, a quality jock strap + cup groin guard will set you back around £10 – £30
Personally I would always spend at least £20 to protect my bits!
Best groin guards for Muay Thai and MMA
As you can see, there are a surprising number of factors to consider when buying a groin protector, but above all protection and comfort should lead your decision.
Don’t be tempted to go for a cheap pair – the saving of few pounds will definitely not seem worth it if your cup breaks and you end up on the wrong side of a full power low blow!
You should also wash your groin guard fairly regularly, as although it does not come into direct contact with the skin, sweat can still build up down there and become very unhygienic.