Why should you fuss over expensive accessories — knee sleeves, knee braces, knee wraps — for such a small part of your body. That little cap that connects a very long portion of your body deserves some tender love and care as it does lots of hard work for you in the gym. Knee problems are among those more common injuries and are infamous for keeping you from lifting or even exercising for a very long time.
I assume that this is something you would like to avoid, thus I wrote a short guide on your most common knee accessories.
Most common knee accessories and their uses
Here are the most common uses for the most common types of knee protective gear:
- Knee sleeves are for performance support
- Knee braces are for injuries
- Knee wraps are for lifting heavier
There’s a good deal more to it than that! In this report we’re going to have a good look at every one of these choices for your knee, compare them with one another and explore when, where and why you’d use them.
Knee sleeves are considered to be the smaller brother of a knee brace, but unlike the braces, which we will discuss later in this guide, sleeves are not composed of metallic rods and hinges. Braces essentially act like a”substitute knee”.
Knee sleeves, on the other hand, don’t limit or replace the role of a normal knee. Sleeves are more apt for athletes with healthy knees and should be work during moderate to intense workouts.
You will typically see long distance runners wear knee sleeves during training.
Knee sleeves can be worn during and after a workout. Its most emphasized feature is the compression it supplies. Compression limits muscle oscillation and narrows blood vessels, which translates to less strain on the muscles and quicker and more efficient blood circulation to and from the knee or leg region.
Muscles, tendons, and ligaments endure lots of stress during rigorous workouts.
These sleeves can also serve as excellent support for a powerlifter’s or crossfitter’s knees, which are at creating a risk of tendonitis due to the frequency of their lifts.
Efficient blood flow is quite important to get rid of the waste made by the muscles (e.g., lactic acid) and also to bring oxygen and essential nutrients to the muscles to ease quicker recovery. That means reduced distress, swelling and pain in only a few days.
The compression also reduces muscle vibration and reduces knee instability, providing the user a more stable base that is very valuable during jumps, twists, and lifts. Last, knee sleeves serve as a precious aid during warm-ups because it warms and lubricates the joints.
When to Begin wearing knee sleeves
A widespread argument among athletes is how necessary sleeves are for performance and protection. There are several choices of knee sleeves on the current market, so first-timers usually get overwhelmed by their alternatives. In this post, we compiled a list of all our reviewed Knee sleeves.
However, wearing a pair of knee sleeves may not always be optimal, and for beginners with healthy, functioning knees, there is no need for wearing knee sleeves or wraps.
Once the intensity of your workout increases and the weights get heavier (in the case of lifters), knee sleeves can offer added support particularly once your knees get a little shaky. They will aid you to achieve a natural stance during lifts. Typically knee sleeves helps lifters to get their knees pointing outwards, or away from their body during squats, which is a good thing! Knee sleeves should not be a substitute for proper form.
You could even use thinner ones after training to facilitate a quicker recovery. This is especially applicable for those who have recently started to increase the frequency and intensity of their training regime, and are starting to feel fatigue in their knees. A little discomfort or pain in the knee region is normal, so reach for your sleeves to improve your recovery. Bear in mind, if the pain does not go away, or it gets worse, it might be time to see your doctor, as you may have damaged your knee, and this is something which a knee sleeve alone cannot address.
Also, keep in mind that knee sleeves for running and general sporting activities are different to knee sleeves for weightlifting and powerlifting. Make sure you get the right pair of sleeves for the activity you want to pursue.
Knee braces are normally worn whenever there is a pre-existing injury, whereas knee sleeves and wraps are used for compression, support, and largely preventive measures. Getting a knee brace is serious business, you should consult your physician for a professional recommendation on which type of brace to get.
There are 4 Types of knee braces:
Functional braces: These are bracing are highly suggested for patients whose ligaments have been damaged and torn. Functional braces reduce uncertainty in the knees, which is fantastic for injured athletes who do a good deal of leaping, pivoting and twisting. They somewhat function as”external ligament” because they substitute for a working ligament. These braces are often worn for 6-12 months, or for as long as the athlete is under therapy.
Prophylactic braces: This is the sort of knee brace used by athletes that take part in high-risk contact sports like basketball and football. This is best used as preventative support by those who have a history of badly damaged knees. Prophylactic knee braces help stop re-occurrence of an accident.
Rehabilitative braces: Like functional braces, rehabilitative braces are worn during treatment and rehabilitation. The largest difference is that rehabilitative braces are worn only for many weeks right after the injury. These braces limit the motion of the knee to let it heal. After the patient is off the crutches, they can move to functional dentures while continuing their treatment.
Unloader braces: they’re lightweight braces which alleviate knee pain of individuals that suffer from osteoarthritis.
When should you use a knee brace
Braces are made for people who suffer or have suffered a serious injury like:
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL) Tear
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) Tear
Knee braces are usually made from neoprene materials, just like knee sleeves, but also has metallic hinges to restrict the knee’s motion.
If you wear knee braces?
Given its nature and purpose, this choice should not be made without your doctor’s recommendation. Which sort of knee brace and for how long you should wear it should be subject to the approval of your physician.
This is a knee wrap
Knee wraps are somewhat more common among bodybuilders and powerlifters, particularly the aggressive ones. They’re wound tightly around the knees in a spiral fashion. Wraps improve performance and prevent injuries related to heavy weights and squats.
The knee area collects elastic energy for a powerlifter when he or she goes down into the squat position. A tightly-wrapped knee will react with more elastic energy. This elastic energy will then be used when you explode up and lifts.
The mechanical advantages of knee wraps include heavier, quicker squats and greater vertical explosions. Also, an advantage of knee wraps is the reduced horizontal displacement. It helps by limiting the horizontal deviation of the barbell, or in layman’s terms, when you lift it doesn’t go forward and backward too much.
Knee wraps also lessen the chances of injury by reducing the stress on the joints, which will consequently reduce the stress on the quadriceps and patella. But, improper use of these wraps can backfire.
The tightness of the knee wraps presses the patella towards its cartilage, which may lead to knee joint problems like arthritis.
Follow this guide on how to use knee wraps efficiently.
What do you need to use knee wraps for?
There is just a very few types of movements for which you ought to use your knee wraps:
- Heavy Front Squats
- Heavy Back Squats
- Heavy Leg Press
- Heavy Overhead Squats
- Heavy Squat Snatch and Squat Cleans
That is it; you ought not to be using them for anything other than these, not deadlifts or other lifting motions.
How frequently should knee wraps be utilized?
There are lots of opinions and bro-science about the use of knee wraps, but the consensus is that you should only wear them if you’re intending on competing.
Competitions frequently allow lifters to use knee bends but through strengthening and conditioning, try to train with bare knees to truly create the squats without relying upon the aid of knee wraps. In the long term, it will also reduce wear and tear on your joints. Use knee sleeves instead in the event you will need the compression and warmth.
Give Your Knees the Help They Need
Knees are among the most exposed parts of your body during workouts, but their motion is vital to proper execution. By identifying the functions and differences of each knee attachment, you can pinpoint which ones you will need the most. Moreover, it’s important to know when not to use them. This point is quite related to knee wraps because they’re more specific to lifts and squats. Frequent use or abuse of wraps may also lead to accidents, so use them sparingly.
As I said at beginning of this guide, braces are for already injured knees; sleeves are for warmth and support and quicker recovery, and wraps are so you can lift heavier, and get heavier!
If you are receiving any pain or discomfort in the vicinity of the knee, I recommend you visit the physician for diagnosis and consultation, particularly if it does not go away after a couple of days of painkillers, rest and ice packs. Your doctor is qualified to choose the most suitable support for your knee.