Should You Wear Knee Sleeves When Weight Lifting?
by Evelyn Valdez·
If you’re on a strength training journey, chances are that you already own a few pieces of fitness gear to help you get through the tougher workouts more easily, such as a lifting belt or a pair of wrist wraps. This is because your body might need some support every once in a while, and that includes your knees!
Knee pain can be killer, especially if you’re an active person that moves around a lot. This is when knee sleeves can come in handy! This piece of equipment can give you the support and protection that you need during your heavy lifting workouts. But are they actually necessary?
In this article, we’ll tell you everything that you need to know about knee sleeves. How and why to use them, their benefits, and if they’re the right piece of equipment for you or not. Plus, we are giving an update on UPPPER Knee Sleeves…
What are knee sleeves used for?
While other fitness equipment pieces might help you lift heavier or complete a few more reps, knee sleeves are specifically designed to support your knee area and prevent injuries, as well as reduce knee pain and swelling during and after exercise.
As the name suggests, you can wear knee sleeves by sliding them up your legs, just like sleeves. Once they’re at knee level, they will offer warmth and compression to keep your knee joints safe during your lifting sessions at the gym.
While knee sleeves can offer great protection during heavy lifting and they’re more commonly used during heavy squats, other squat variations, and Olympic lifts.
Benefits of knee sleeves for lifters
We briefly mentioned why knee sleeves are a useful piece of equipment for your knees, but now let’s see exactly why they’re beneficial for you:
Improved control and stability
The warmth and compression offered by knee sleeves increase blood flow around your knee area. An increased blood flow enhances proprioception around the knee area, which is your body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location. This allows you to have better control over your movements.
Knee sleeves offer a tremendous amount of support to your knee area and help stabilize the knee, making lifting movements less strenuous on your joints. They also help reduce pain, discomfort, and even swelling in your knee area, particularly during heavy lifts where your knees are under a lot of tension.
Lower risk of injuries
Because of how tight and compressed the knee sleeve is, it helps limit knee cap movements to avoid overflexion, overextension, and any other kind of extreme movement by mistake. This helps prevent any possible injuries and lowers the chance of post-workout soreness.
Knee sleeves aren’t only great at supporting your workouts, but they’re also an effective way to help improve and speed up your knee recovery post-workout. Because the compression helps increase blood flow, oxygen and necessary nutrients can reach damaged areas more quickly, aiding in pain relief and recovery.
Support for injured knees
While knee sleeves are mostly used to protect from injury, they can also help aid in past injuries. By keeping the knee compressed and stabilized, the strain and tension on the knee are reduced, making it a great alternative for those who have knee injuries and are trying to get back to lifting safely.
So… should you wear knee sleeves?
If you need knee support, want to improve control and stability, and increase training performance then yes! Knee sleeves are a great piece of lifting equipment that can help you train with heavy weights while supporting your knees and preventing injuries.
However, if you’re a beginner or do heavy lifting that doesn’t involve putting stress on your knees, then compressive sleeves aren’t necessary for you. For beginners, focus first on perfecting your lifting form, gradually increase to heavier weights, and once you're ready and squatting heavy, then you can incorporate knee sleeves into your routine!
Something to keep in mind is that, like most fitness equipment pieces, knee sleeves have a time and a place to be used. It shouldn’t be a regular part of your lifting routine; instead, keep them in hand for when you need the knee support for heavy lifting exercises that actually involve knee movement!
How to choose the right knee sleeve for you
Most high-quality knee sleeves are made from the same Neoprene material, which works great at retaining heat and warming up your knees. But when choosing the right one for you, you need to keep two things in mind: thickness and size.
When it comes to thickness, you can usually choose between three sizes, which are 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm. The thicker the knee sleeve is, the more warmth, support, and control it’ll provide during your workouts.
Those in CrossFit training and other kinds of high-intensity, high-mobility activities tend to prefer a 3mm thickness because it allows for a wider range of motion. But if your focus is on strength training, powerlifting, and other kinds of activities that involve heavy weights, 5mm to 7mm thick knee sleeves offer the best support.
Now, the size of the knee sleeve will, of course, depend on your actual knee size. To measure your knee size, follow these steps:
- Find measuring tape or a string that you can use to wrap around your knee for measuring.
- Sit down and extend your knee while leaving a slight bend. You can also do it while standing, but try your best to avoid bending your knee too much.
- Wrap the tape or the string around the center of your knee, right where the kneecap is.
- Mark it, then take it off and measure it (if using a string).
Now that you have your knee size, you can go where you want to buy your weightlifting knee sleeve and use their sizing chart or guide to choose the right fit for you!
Keep your knees safe and healthy with knee sleeves!
As you now know, knee sleeves can be an incredible addition to your workouts – just remember not to rely on them too much! And one last tip: keep your knee sleeves clean. You sweat a lot during your workouts, so make sure to wash them now and then to keep them clean and fresh for your future workouts.
When will we be releasing UPPPER Knee Sleeves?Our Knee Sleeves are currently in production and have been for the past few months. We’ve been working hard to make sure they’re the best knee sleeves for all your heavy lifting needs – and they’re nearly ready! Expect UPPPER Knee Sleeves to be released this summer!