If you’re starting to squat heavier loads and considering wearing knee wraps, then you’re probably wondering what size and length you need to maximize their benefits.
Here’s my recommendation as a trainer with over eight years of experience:
The ideal knee wraps for most trainees are 72” to 82” long, 3” wide, and 0.2 to 0.25” thick. Knee wraps of this size allow for optimal knee coverage, encourage stability and comfort, and offer a modest boost in performance when worn properly.
That said, some lifters may benefit from knee wraps of different lengths and thicknesses so it’s important to understand how to find the right length and how to know if your wraps fit properly.
Wondering how and when to use knee wraps? Check out “How To Use Knee Wraps The Proper Way”.
Are There Different Sizes For Knee Wraps?
Unlike knee sleeves and other training equipment, knee wraps are generally made to be one-size-fits-all; however, there are some exceptions.
Most knee wraps are 72” to 82” in length and 3” in width. The fabric’s thickness is also standard at 0.2 to 0.25”.
Trainees can choose the compression level they desire by pulling the fabric more or less as they loop the wraps around their knees. This means a small female lifter and a large man could theoretically reap similar benefits from the same pair of wraps.
With that said, the exact knee wrap size can make a difference in some cases, so let’s talk about it.
Finding The Right Length Of Knee Wraps
Here is a brief overview of the available knee wrap lengths and when each would be most useful:
72” and 74” Wraps
The 72” and 74” knee wraps are ideal for most trainees. This length combined with a 3” width is enough to thoroughly cover the knee area and provide maximum support and joint stability, even when lifting close to your 1RM.
If you’re a first-type buyer then I highly recommend choosing 72” or 74” knee wraps, like the ones from Gymreapers. Their long velcro strap makes it easier to adjust the compression and get as much support as needed.
76” and 78”
Things get more serious with the 76” and 78” knee wraps because the extra inches of fabric can maximize joint support by increasing the amount of compression on the joint, which can help when you’re squatting maximal loads.
The 76” and 78” knee wraps would be ideal for larger lifters who are squatting heavier loads, or those who have a larger knee circumference.
I don’t recommend this length for smaller lifters because it will be too bulky and uncomfortable, and there will be no performance enhancements beyond what they could achieve with shorter wraps.
80” and 82”
Some of the longest knee wraps on the market are 80” or 82” long. These are typically reserved for the most hardcore lifters who routinely squat hundreds of pounds and have massive thighs.
The extra length provides more support and ensures a tight wrap around the knees to minimize the injury risk and offer a modest performance boost.
Similar to the 76” and 78” wraps, this length will not benefit smaller lifters or those who aren’t lifting heavy.
What About Shorter or Longer Knee Wraps?
Shorter and longer wraps are available, but I generally don’t recommend them. Anything over 82” is overkill and anything under 72” inches might not be long enough to cover the knees and provide the necessary support unless you are a smaller lifter (<120lbs).
How Tight Should Knee Wraps Be?
Knee wraps are designed to offer a tight and somewhat restrictive fit. You should feel some knee stiffness as you walk to the bar and set up for your set once you’ve put the wraps on.
The wraps should provide more compression as you descend into a squat, causing the fabric to stretch and providing a boost out of the hole that helps you stand up more easily.
However, remember that more compression isn’t always better, as there is a point of diminishing returns. The wraps should offer a snug fit, but you shouldn’t tighten them to the point where they cut off circulation and you can barely bend your knees.
The level of tightness that is best for you will depend on personal preferences, the load you’re lifting, and the length of time you need to wear the wraps.
The beauty of knee wraps is that you can regulate the compression level easily with the velcro strap. Begin with a tight initial pull to loop the material around your knee, then wrap the fabric by feel. You will probably have to experiment until you can consistently get the desired fit.
“A common mistake will be that a lifter will remember to pull the wrap tight in their first or second spiral, but fail to keep tightening the wrap as they move through the entire process. This results in a failure to maintain tension, which negates the benefits of the wrap.”
-Oleksiy Torokhtiy, European & World weightlifting championships medalist
If you don’t need as much compression, wear knee sleeves instead. A pair of 7-mm sleeves will provide enough support and help warm up your knees more quickly, which can reduce joint discomfort and allow for a more comfortable training experience.
To learn more about the differences between sleeves and wraps, check out “Here’s Why You Need Knee Wraps”.
How To Know If Your Knee Wraps Fit Properly
The right fit comes from striking a fine balance between tightness and knee range of motion.
Your Knee Wraps DON’T Fit Properly If:
They feel incredibly uncomfortable, affect circulation, and make it difficult to bend your knees, even with a loaded barbell on your back
- You can barely feel the wraps on your knees, even as you descend during squats, and your performance doesn’t improve in any way
- They aren’t long enough to complete at least two rotations around your knee joint.
Your Knee Wraps DO Fit Properly If:
You can bend your knees and reach a parallel thigh position during squats
You feel increasingly more compression as you descend, which provides a ‘bounce’ off the bottom position
- You can maintain proper form without feeling like you have to make adjustments to complete each rep
Best Knee Wraps: Our Top Pick
I recommend the 72” wraps by Gymreapers because of the excellent knee support, affordable price, and premium materials used.
The Gymreapers knee sleeves blend comfort and support into one, ensuring a safe and comfortable training experience.
Securing the quality elastic material with reinforced stitching and Velcro closure ensures durability in the long run and makes it effortless to adjust the compression.
For example, you can tighten the wraps more and immobilize your knees for heavy low-bar back squatting and loosen them up a bit when you need some freedom of movement and knee stability.
The wraps are 3.25 inches wide, which means you can easily cover the area from your lower thighs to your upper calves.
To top it off, Gymreapers offer a one-year replacement guarantee in case there’s an issue with your knee wraps.
Frequently Asked Questions
How thick are knee wraps?
The fabric used to make knee wraps is typically 0.2 to 0.25” thick (5 to 6 mm). Anything thinner might not be enough to offer the necessary support, whereas a thicker fabric might not be as elastic, which could limit your range of motion.
How to measure for knee wraps?
There is no sizing guide for knee wraps, as standard options (72” to 82” long and 3” wide) will fit most lifters and provide the necessary coverage and knee support. That said if you are a smaller lifter (<120lbs) then you may need shorter wraps and if you’re a larger lifter (>300lbs) then you may need longer wraps.
What's the difference between knee wraps and knee sleeves?
Knee wraps are long pieces of elastic material you loop over your knees several times and secure in position, typically with a velcro strap, to get the necessary compression. Knee sleeves are usually made of neoprene, which also has elastic properties. They come in several sizes, depending on knee circumference.
Unlike wraps, where you can adjust the compression, knee sleeves come with a fixed tightness, so picking the correct size is vital.