Most likely, everyone is familiar with the discipline of powerlifting, even if only by hearsay, and it’s easy to envision the athlete lifting heavy weights. Among the equipment and accessories considered useful in performing powerlifting exercises, there is a category that serves the purpose of supporting and safeguarding the athlete: powerlifting knee sleeves.
One could consider these among the most useful tools suitable for any type of athlete delving into this discipline. Just watching a few YouTube videos will make it clear that many powerlifters use them extensively.
So, it’s likely that someone new to this sport may wonder if they should also consider using them.
What are powerlifting knee sleeves?
Their simple structure consists of an elastic wrapping that fits snugly around the knee. They are made of a material called neoprene, and their purpose is to provide compression and warmth to the knee, aiding the athlete in their lifts.
But the extra support provided by the knee sleeve isn’t the only benefit it offers to the lifter. Another advantage lies in its ability to increase stability and proprioception, which is the body’s awareness of its position in space. It’s the sleeve’s firm fit that enhances one’s sense of the knee, making it feel more compact and controlled.
Continuing with the list of benefits, we find the ability to provide injury protection. Knee sleeves indeed have the capability to effectively warm up the joints. It’s important to put them on right from the start, even before warming up, and not just when lifting heavier loads. Their purpose is to ensure safe lifting, especially when aiming for higher weights.
The greatest advantage that these knee sleeves can provide, especially in the context of heavy lifting, is for situations where there are pre-existing knee issues. They help improve stability and address any muscle deficiencies that may be present in the knees.
Why to use knee sleeves in powerlifting?
They can be considered valuable allies not only for powerlifters but for anyone who needs or is interested in lifting heavy loads and performing squat and deadlift movements. Additionally, they can be beneficial for individuals with joint discomfort or a history of knee injuries.
Very well-known in this discipline, parallel to knee sleeves, you’ll also find powerlifting wrist wraps. There are indeed differences between these two accessories.
Considering the description given earlier about knee sleeves, let’s now explore what their counterparts are: they are nylon wraps designed to wrap around the knee, keeping it stable and providing a significant elastic rebound.
Their usage is at the discretion and preference of the athlete, but we could consider them to be more intricate compared to knee sleeves. Even knowing how to apply them correctly is not straightforward. They are typically recommended for individuals who engage in equipped powerlifting, where squatting is performed with specific wraps and suits.
On the other hand, they are not recommended for classic powerlifting, as they are not accepted in some competitions of this type. There is also no real necessity for their use, and it’s often better to have someone who can explain the correct way to put them on.
If we were to make a comparison between the two accessories, without considering what is allowed, it’s important to note that wrist wraps need to be tightened significantly to achieve the desired performance. In fact, they often require external assistance to be properly applied.
How to choose the knee sleeves?
There are several factors that come into play when making such a decision. The knee sleeve should be analyzed based on material, thickness, and size components.
In terms of material, the choice allows for evaluating between something more rigid and something less rigid. In the former case, the accessory’s response is better suited to powerlifting, considering the high loads to be lifted and the relatively static performance. Conversely, for crossfit, one would lean towards something more versatile to meet the dynamic nature of the discipline.
When considering the thickness of the accessory, it’s important to know that it is closely related to the previous factor: the thicker the knee sleeve, the more rigid it will be. Among the most common measurements, you’ll find thicknesses ranging from 5 to 7 mm, although there are even thinner options available, which may be less suitable for performance purposes.
Regarding size, it’s important to consider that the greater the compression, the more useful its use will be in the context of this discipline. It should also be kept in mind that the elasticity of the product, over time and with frequent use, may diminish, potentially making the knee sleeve wider than it was at the time of purchase.