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Old 02-04-2012, 04:39 PM   #1
PowerHungry
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Knee Wraps/Sleeves - Benefits, Hindrances, etc.

Alright, I'm not exactly one of the hard science guys around here.



I'm also not one of the weird science guys.



However, I am trying to get my CSCS. That's irrelevant to the current question though. In chapter 4 of the NSCA textbook on biomechanics, here is what it says about knee wraps.

"It is not unusual for individuals to use knee wraps during training or competition. The wraps vary from thin, elastic, pull-on variety [to me this means sleeves] that can be purchased in drug stores to the heavy, specialized wraps sold only through weightlifting supply stores. . . Very little research has been done on the efficacy of knee wraps. Detrimental side effects have been reported, however, including skin damage and chondromalacia patellae, the wearing down and toughening of the posterior surface of the patella.

Though there is no available evidence that wraps protect the knee against injury, an experiment conducted by Harman and Frykman showed that wraps can improve performance. Through a spring effect alone, heavy wraps around the knees added an average of 25 pound to squat lifting force. The notion that warps work only by stabilizing the knee, lessening the athlete's fear of injury, or providing a kinesthetic cue is incorrect. The wraps actually provide direct help in extending the knee. On the basis of lack of evidence that knee wraps prevent injury and the opinion of a number of health practitioners who assert that knee wraps can actually cause injury, athletes should probably minimize the use of wraps. If used at all, knee wraps should be limited to the sets with the heaviest loads" (86-87).

Now, I think this is the worst written chapter in the book with some questionable assumptions throughout. Additionally, I get that for the CSCS exam I should just give them back their own information and not try to debate. However, I would swear by sleeves at least. When I use to do max attempts and near max work sets, my left knee would be killing me for a few days afterwards. Since I bought some cheap sleeves from Sports Authority, that inflammation or whatever it is has disappeared. It could be correlation rather than causation but I highly doubt. I'll also grant that it's possible that the pain was due to some form mistake/muscle imbalance that is now being obscured by the sleeves and could end up doing me more harm than good in the long run (by not correcting whatever was causing my knee to hurt).

TL;DR version:

All that being said, I want to bat around the idea of wraps and sleeves and get some opinions. Like I said, personally I swear by sleeves for near maximal sets and max sets, but have never used wraps. What say you to the NSCA?

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Last edited by PowerHungry; 02-04-2012 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 02-04-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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I use sleeves, love the warmth.

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Old 02-04-2012, 09:47 PM   #3
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I dont think theres any doubt that wraps act as a spring of sorts, and thus add to a squatters max. In terms of any benefit in terms of injury prevention, I do not know of any studies that conclude that. I do remember reading somewhere that wraps do help stabilize the knee joint, but only after 80% 1rpm, which would suggest there might be a benefit. Dont have a source though, so take it for what its worth. If anything, I'd suggest avoiding using them, unless you are a powerlifter, until more credible info is known. Good job though, TS. Relevant question(regardless of how many threads there have been on it), organized correctly, credible sources,etc. NIce pic, too.

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Old 02-04-2012, 10:25 PM   #4
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I mean, tons of guys use knee wraps for every single set and you never read about any knee issues.

I think sleeves can only be consider amazing in every case.

I know one thing, though: I have big calves and, even though I was aware of not wrapping too low and didn't think I did, I believe I started my wrap a little too far down... Talk about severe calf pain for the next week+. Like, "this is almost preventing me from sleeping" calf pain.

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Old 02-04-2012, 10:45 PM   #5
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Knee sleeves and knee wraps are pretty different things. You do get some weight out of knee wraps, although I don't see much point is speculating as to exactly how much. It's enough to matter, but it's not an overly large amount either.

Knee sleeves don't generally add weight to you lifts, although there are some versions that may add some "pop". Mostly they just keep the knees warm, which causes the body to increase blood flow to the area to try and cool it off. I'm of the opinion that knee sleeves and warm pants are great.

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Old 02-04-2012, 11:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tosa View Post
Knee sleeves and knee wraps are pretty different things. You do get some weight out of knee wraps, although I don't see much point is speculating as to exactly how much. It's enough to matter, but it's not an overly large amount either.

Knee sleeves don't generally add weight to you lifts, although there are some versions that may add some "pop". Mostly they just keep the knees warm, which causes the body to increase blood flow to the area to try and cool it off. I'm of the opinion that knee sleeves and warm pants are great.
I had a knowledgeable IPF lifter tell me "probably 35+ kgs" when I asked. I'd consider that overly large.

As for warm pants, I considered a pair. I eventually decided against them, though, as I thought they would give some pop out of the hole.

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Old 02-05-2012, 12:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cratos View Post
I had a knowledgeable IPF lifter tell me "probably 35+ kgs" when I asked. I'd consider that overly large.
That's more than anyone I've talked to. Not that I'm debating what he said. Regardless, I don't think it's worth worrying about exactly how much they add, because it's not likely a satisfactory answer will be found.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cratos View Post
As for warm pants, I considered a pair. I eventually decided against them, though, as I thought they would give some pop out of the hole.
I get no pop with mine. Although they do help me warm-up, and minimize aches and tightness, which might lead to more feeling a bit more pop, I suppose.I asked one of the more knowledgeable, experienced lifters at my gym, and he said they added nothing physically, although there could be a psychological benefit.

Warm pants are great if aches or tightness is an issue. I wish I was aware of them sooner / purchased them sooner. I think there needs to be more general warm pants awareness. Perhaps a warm pants awareness day?

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Old 02-05-2012, 07:44 AM   #8
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I'm considering getting hold of a pair of sleeves. since I'm squatting 3x a week, it can be a little tough on my knees. this added to the borderline OTT air conditioning in our gym doesn't make my knees too happy. If anything I'll be buying these sleeves to keep my knees warm and thus preventing that little ache I get the day after.

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Old 02-05-2012, 10:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cratos View Post
I mean, tons of guys use knee wraps for every single set and you never read about any knee issues.

I think sleeves can only be consider amazing in every case.

I know one thing, though: I have big calves and, even though I was aware of not wrapping too low and didn't think I did, I believe I started my wrap a little too far down... Talk about severe calf pain for the next week+. Like, "this is almost preventing me from sleeping" calf pain.
I like how Cratos is sneakily bragging about his jakt calves.

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Old 02-05-2012, 10:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I like how Cratos is sneakily bragging about his jakt calves.
Haha not at all.

I guess I just got dem calf genetics.

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