In this article, we’ll consider strength training with knee sleeves and how they help. We will provide insights and suggestions to answer this, along with some food for thought.
Knee sleeves are important in strength training, and with the explosion of at-home and gym strength enthusiasts, knee sleeves have become one of those items many consider essential, a go-to product next to gym clothes, leggings and trainers.
What are knee sleeves?
Knee sleeves are typically tubular in shape; they are designed to actively compress the joints and muscles around the knee hinge. Popular designs include a combination of neoprene fabrics and technical construction to provide added benefits. As described, the item acts as a sleeve covering the knee and generally extends 10cm above and below the kneecap. They are often finished with overlocked stitching and binding for comfort.
Who uses knee sleeves?
Used by anyone for both training and recovery, they can be used to assist with lifting or to provide injury support. Within Strongman training, they are more popular than ever, and I will go into why in more detail, following the pros and cons.
What are the pros of using knee sleeves?
- Protect the knee joint
- Protect the tendons
- Compress/protect the attached muscle fibres
- Stabilise the joint
- Support the primary movement
- Keep the joint warm
What are the cons of using knee sleeves?
- Compression can restrict blood flow
- Overconfidence, lifting too much too soon
- Some feel they are restrictive
- Can be expensive
How do knee sleeves help?
As we’ve established, knee sleeves hold the major mechanical parts of the keen in place. This supports the movement and lessens the chance of pulling, tearing or twisting your knees during a lift. They help compress and assist with the opening of the leg, so you will receive benefits from using them. They provide a sense of security which is reassuring and often allows users to push that extra weight. The compression supports the muscles and tendons, and it is believed that this lessens the chance of injury. They support movement and can also act to keep the joint warm, which again is beneficial in strength training at home, in the gym or outside.
Can knee sleeves be a hindrance?
It is possible for them to be a hindrance if not used correctly. If the knee sleeve is ill-fitting, it may be too tight and restrict movement or distract you. It is best to train with knee sleeves on if you are choosing to use them in competition, for example, so that the familiarity of the sensation is natural. Overconfidence is a challenge. Feeling safe and secure, the wearer can take the effort threshold beyond a sensible level for them, which can be both positive and negative. This is why the early stage foundationary work is so important. You should not solely rely on sleeves, so why consider using them once you are confident to help you go to the next level in your training?
The verdict on knee sleeves
They certainly have a place in strength training for those who choose to use them. There are clear benefits and marginal gains to be had if used correctly. However, you must not forget that building strength properly will take time. In the same way, runners develop through seasons. Building strength for powerlifting and weight training should be completed in a controlled fashion. This avoids injury and builds the foundationary muscles required to keep improving. We see this in the strongman arena when an up-and-comer pushes too hard too fast and is plagued by injury, to a point where this may end their careers before they really get started.
If you are seriously considering knee sleeves, brands like Mirafit Knee Sleeves provide a good value, high-quality product compared to market leaders like SBD and Eleiko.
Knee sleeves do provide benefits and possible gains. They can be used constructively to assist in your strength development. However, you should never negate the foundational work required to build strength you can move on from Structured Workouts. Use the opportunity to confidently push yourself beyond your regular limits, but do it with a solid development of your core platform. If you are interested in improving your strength, please consider strength camps near you. We hope that you found this article helpful, especially if you are powerlifting and weight training.