What Do Knee Sleeves Do?

WRITTEN BY Martijn Koevoets

Every athlete owns a good belt. But most of them also have something else hiding in their gym bag

In particular at locations where intense training occurs for powerlifting, Olympic lifting or strongman.

A couple of knee sleeves! But what do knee sleeves do?

In this blog post you will discover what knee sleeves do, what they are and how they work.

Knee Sleeves vs. Knee Braces

Just to be clear, the knee sleeves referred to in this article are not the same thing as braces. This is a brace. It has a hole for you kneecap and is reinforced with metal.

What do knee sleeves do - Knee sleeve vs Knee Brace

We will be discussing neoprene knee sleeves. Knee compression sleeves do provide some support, but not as much as braces. They give some support at the lower part of the squat or during the bench press. This allows for a heavier weight while training safely.

The reason is because braces are designed for protection in case of an injury or to prevent a previous injury from getting worse.

What Are Knee Sleeves For?

Knee and elbow sleeves are designed to prevent tendonitis.

You can get tendinitis by performing a certain motion too often. I heard about knee sleeves for basketball for instance.

But I’m focusing about the tendinitis that can be caused by training heavy all the time.

For example powerlifters, they squat a lot or Olympic lifters and Crossfitters who sometimes perform snatches over 6x a week.

What do knee sleeves do - What are knee sleeves for

Protection is particularly important during exercises that put a heavy strain on your knees and elbows. Like squats and bench presses, but also walking a Yoke or performing log presses.

What Do Knee Sleeves Do?

But there are more reasons to use knee sleeves for squatting and bench pressing. Training in a cold environment can also make you susceptible for tendonitis.

Training in a warehouse gym or garage gym during those cold winter months for instance.

Knee sleeves are often made out of neoprene, and you wear them over your knees and elbows. The sleeves provide warmth and an improved blood flow.

Knee sleeves also provide compression, which counters light swellings. And because of that compression, your knee cap will stay firmly in position.

Knee & elbow sleeves can prevent pain and swelling during your training. But sleeves can also reduce swelling after your training. You just keep wearing when your training is done.

Note: Do not use the sleeves as braces. For instance, if your knee lacks stability it is better to have it examined by a professional.

Basically, you only need to wear sleeves during exercises in which your knees and elbows are hit hardest. Squat exercises of course, but also bench press exercises and certain strongman exercises.

Knee Sleeves

Sleeves will keep your knees and elbows nice and warm if you train in a cold warehouse gym or garage gym. Put them on when you start your training and just leave them on.

So in my opinion knee sleeves are a good buy for every serious athlete. A pair of good sleeves can help you with your training.

Because sleeves provide support and warmth you can prevent aches and pains and still keep training hard.

And if you already own a pair of knee sleeves, then make sure you know how to wash you knee sleeves.

I hope you enjoyed the blog post What Do Knee Sleeves Do?.

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Author: Martijn Koevoets
Martijn is head honcho of Powerlifting University, a powerlifter, author, blogger, online coach & extreme metal aficionado. He also loves a good whiskey. He has been featured on websites like EliteFTS, JTSStrength, JMAX Fitness and more.

Get your hands on my cheat sheet for setting up training programs that took a 132lbs. skinny weakling from not being able to bench the bar to deadlifting 3x his own body weight and winning silver at the nationals.

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