Knee Wraps/Sleeves - Benefits, Hindrances, etc.

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by PowerHungry, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. PowerHungry Oh yeah!

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

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

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    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?

    For your trouble

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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  2. dannysmith Blue Belt

    dannysmith
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    I use sleeves, love the warmth.
     
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  3. gspieler Black Belt

    gspieler
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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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  4. Cratos Banned

    Cratos
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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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  5. Tosa Red Belt

    Tosa
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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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  6. Cratos Banned

    Cratos
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    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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  7. Tosa Red Belt

    Tosa
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    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.

    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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  8. Big Jack Green Belt

    Big Jack
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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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  9. toonie Tuesday

    toonie
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    I like how Cratos is sneakily bragging about his jakt calves. :)
     
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  10. Cratos Banned

    Cratos
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    Haha not at all.

    I guess I just got dem calf genetics.
     
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  11. Poseylifts Orange Belt

    Poseylifts
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    If you're going to get knee sleeves get rehbands, worth every penny.
     
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  12. Jester <img src="http://i48.tinypic.com/b8zfc.jpg">

    Jester
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    Had a question about these, was going to get a pair, is it worth it to get "competition fit"? Or is it more comfortable to get regular fit?

    Eventually I'll be competing in PLing and WLing, so would a little looser be good for the low position you have to get into deadlifts, cleans, and snatches?

    I'm speaking clearly in a comfort/effectiveness manner
     
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  13. dfownz Blue Belt

    dfownz
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    How do you guys feel about elbow sleeves? I injured my elbow grappling about 2 months ago and its been aching lately during lb squats and bench pressing. Only a 3/10 or so but the aching is annoying.

    I've tried to "warm" up my elbow as much as possible by basically doing air curls and light curls with like 10-20lbs but no matter what it still aches.
     
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  14. Jake Pudenz Professional Fighter

    Jake Pudenz
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    I don't get any pop from mine, they just keep my hips warmed up. Its hard to train without them now.

    The same goes for my knee sleeves. I have destroyed my knees over the years but the sleeves keep my knees warm and allow me to train pain free.
     
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  15. Cratos Banned

    Cratos
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    You should measure your knee following the instructions on the Jackal's Gym website and order the size that fits.

    If you think an elbow sleeve would help, get one and try it.

    Have you tried DMSO or any other kind liniment?
     
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  16. Jester <img src="http://i48.tinypic.com/b8zfc.jpg">

    Jester
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    I can't speak for actual elbow sleeves but I bought one of those cheap "elbow wraps" from Walmart, just slides up your arm then has two Velcro straps to tighten it up.

    I have a stupid elbow and when it hurts I put that thing on and tighten it up and my elbow starts feeling better 5 minutes later, so I'm sure a nice pair of Rehband sleeves would be magical
     
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  17. Jester <img src="http://i48.tinypic.com/b8zfc.jpg">

    Jester
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    yeah thats the site i was looking at, but it says "Measure the knee mid patella with the leg straight. If tight competition fit is desired, order one size smaller than the Rehband recommended size chart."

    i was just curious if the competition fit is worth it or if its too tight, i want a pair but i just wanted your opinion before i drop $70
     
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  18. Cratos Banned

    Cratos
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    I went with my measured size and they fit nicely.

    You want them for knee warmth and comfort, not so tight that they're insanely difficult to get on and may give you a few lbs on your squat ("competition sizing").

    Plus, I would have to guess that using ones that are very tight on a regular basis would shorten their life.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  19. Jester <img src="http://i48.tinypic.com/b8zfc.jpg">

    Jester
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    Sweet thanks, that's what I was thinking but I didn't want to get them and have them be too loose.
     
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  20. dfownz Blue Belt

    dfownz
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    Cool, thanks guys.

    Cratos > Nope, never even heard of that stuff before. Googled it and I'll have to give it a try. Wow elbow sleeves are expensive. I think I'll get a cheapo first and see if it does anything, I literally can't afford a 30 dollar one. :redface:

    D:
     
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