Are you looking for a way to squat heavy but aren’t sure if knee wraps are worth the investment? The good news is yes, they’re definitely worth a try. Knee wraps allow you to lift more weight and improve your squatting technique due to the energy created by the wrap pressure.
As with anything (especially lifting gear), there are those who support and those who oppose the use of knee wraps.
When used correctly and sparingly, knee wraps bring added benefits such as knee pain relief, reduced knee joint inflammation, and reduce swelling.
Chances are that you’ve seen many people wear some sort of supportive knee gear, whether it’s knee wraps or compression knee sleeves. There are some differences between knee wraps and knee sleeves — which we’ll get to in a later part of this article.
It’s important to know that knee wraps (as well as any other lifting gear) are meant to enhance and support heavy lifting. So, if your squat form is horrible and you have pre-existing joint problems, knee wraps might not be incredibly helpful to help you.
Knee wraps or knee sleeves?
Which could be right for you — knee wraps or knee sleeves? As with most training gear, the answer is it depends. Everything relies on how you intend to use knee wraps.
For example, knee wraps are preferred by powerlifters because they help move as much weight as possible due to the fact that there is more energy stored, which allows for greater momentum during lifts.
The last thing to consider is that knee wraps can be more restrictive than knee sleeves because of the extra material that wraps around the knees. Similarly, knee sleeves are great for heavy lifting and recovery but aren’t a replacement to mobility and form. Read the full comparison between knee sleeves and knee wraps later in this article.
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What are Knee Wraps?
We just covered whether or not knee wraps are going to be an essential part of your gym bag, but we haven’t covered what they are. Knee wraps are compression-type wraps that are designed to provide support and stability to the knee joints.
Knee wraps also help ease the tension and stress placed on the knees and quadricep muscles.
Knee wraps are made of similar elastic material used in wrist wraps but are much longer in material length (typically 72 inches or longer). Knee wraps have gained popularity as they tend to improve knee safety during heavy workouts such as squats or leg press movements.
When to use Knee Wraps?
The most common exercise you’ll see knee wraps being used for is during squats. You’ll often see powerlifters use knee wraps because they offer the ability to lift more weight.
How do knee wraps allow lifters to lift the heavier weight?
That’s one of the biggest questions people ask. The energy stored in the knee wraps is helpful during the eccentric phase of the squat, which acts as a propellant to move the lifter upwards and complete the move (rep). Other moves you might see knee wraps being used on include leg press, deadlift, and other squat variations.
Why use knee wraps? Aside from the above mentioned reasons people use knee wraps, they also allow more weight to be moved at a faster pace. Knee wraps are also useful in reducing the pressure and strain on tendons located in the quadriceps.
As with any supportive material, overuse can result in the body adapting to the added support, causing weaker muscle strength which can lead to injuries. Limit using knee wraps (and supportive gear) to assist with the heaviest lifts or one rep maximum.
How to use knee wraps?
You can’t really mess up his part. Okay, maybe there’s still someone out there that could, but we’ll clear the air for everyone right now. Everyone will have their own preference but there are two major ways of applying knee wraps. In the video below, we show you the spiral technique.
The spiral technique teaches you to start below the knee and wrap the material around it in a spiral method until you run out of material. During the spiraling motion, be sure there is enough tension that provides support but doesn’t constrict the knees so that you can’t bend them.
The second option on how to use knee wraps is called the cross technique. Just as it sounds you’re essentially criss-crossing the wrap starting above the knee, then maneuvering the material below the knee. From there you’ll form a pattern that weaves the material from the top of the knee to the bottom until you run out of material.
The nice thing about most knee wraps is that they feature a velcro strap that makes it easy to secure the wrap in place. If you’ve never used knee wraps before, it might take some time to perfect the fit and it’s recommended that you wear them a little loose until you get comfortable with the extra compression.
Using knee wraps - the spiral technique
Knee wraps vs. knee sleeves
So which option is best: knee wraps or knee sleeves? Should you wear knee wraps or knee sleeves? Knowing what knee wraps do and who they’re used by most often, you can probably determine which is the best option for you. There are some things to be conscious of when choosing either knee wraps or knee sleeves.
When it comes to knee wraps, some gym-goers with knee pain can experience added pain due to the increased friction created by knee wraps. Another consideration is that knee wraps might change your squat form, so be sure you’re not sacrificing it just to be able to say you’re lifting more weight.
Knee sleeves are also very popular, especially for people who are into CrossFit or competitive environments. Knee sleeves keep the knee warm and add compression throughout the activity by increasing blood flow, decreasing the risk of injury.
Knee sleeves are also more widely used in a variety of other athletic purposes such as running, basketball, volleyball, and more.
Among the benefits of knee sleeves, there are also a few disadvantages. Although they provide pain relief and support, knee sleeves will not help you lift heavier weight. Most importantly, they should not be used as a brace or long-term solution to joint or knee pain.
Related Article: How to Properly Size Knee Wraps
Where can I get knee wraps?
The decision to opt-in for knee wraps should be a little easier now. The great thing about fitness gear is that it’s widely available just about anywhere. The major difference between the many brands out there is the quality and durability of the product. Knee wraps are no exception. If you’re looking for premium knee wraps (or knee sleeves) that will help you lift heavier weight, Gymreapers has you covered.
Gymreapers has successfully merged quality materials, functionality, and comfort in our premium knee wraps. Our gear is backed by world record-holding powerlifters, IFBB pro athletes, and world-known fitness icons like Kris Gethin. So if you've been looking for quality knee wraps, ours are comprised of high performing elastic material, reinforced stitching, and a Velcro closure to give you long-lasting durability and compression.