Knee Supports

Daniel Siegel
2 min read
October 20, 2021

Sleeves or Wraps... Both are used to stabilise, support and maintain warmth in the knee joint, but which are better?

Knee sleeves and wraps are used to stabilise, support and maintain warmth in the knee joint during training sessions. All serve the same core function, and it’s down to the user’s preference and requirements to determine which is most applicable.

Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves come in two main styles, one being the more supportive neoprene sleeve and the other the less supportive ‘knee warmer’ such as the Stock Sleeves V1.  

Neoprene knee sleeves are typically worn by weightlifters during heavy squats and cleans where the maximal amount of support is necessary, these help the athlete ‘bounce’ out of the bottom of the lift and allow for a quicker change of direction and maintaining greater barbell velocity. However, in order to get the desired ‘bounce’ from the bottom of the squat, the sleeves need to be tight, which makes them notoriously difficult to slide onto a sweaty leg mid training session and even uncomfortable and restrictive for some when performing the Snatch and its derivative movements due to their increased mobility restrictions on the knee joint.

Struggling to slide tight fitting sleeves onto your leg in the brief competition interval between the Snatch and Clean and Jerk is also the last thing you want to be doing... but they may help you add another 5-10kg onto your max squat during a training session.

The alternative style of knee sleeve is the ‘knee warmer’ style made famous by the Chinese Weightlifting team. These are much thinner than their neoprene counterparts and made of Nylon, rubber and spandex. They are designed to help warm and lightly support the knee whilst allowing the lifter to maintain the maximal range within the joint. They also are a more breathable alternative than neoprene, making them more comfortable during long sessions. Whilst they don’t provide as much support as neoprene sleeves, they also offer the benefit of precisely that, less support. Sound silly, but it isn’t. By instinctively wearing thick knee sleeves every session, you can get dependent and lazy with how you execute squats and lifts. By going back to basics, you can develop your legs and control technique more effectively, so that when you do go heavy, you will be even stronger and less prone to injury.

This style of sleeve is designed to be your all purpose ‘daily driver’ and can be worn casually throughout the session over the shin to protect from scrapes and scratches, over the knee for warmth and support, or even pulled up extra high over the lower thigh to provide additional protection against knurling when doing your pulls.

Knee Wraps

Similar to knee sleeves, weightlifting knee wraps are used to stabilise, support and maintain warmth in the knee joint. However, unlike knee sleeves, the wearer is in control of the tension and support provided through the chosen method of wrapping. These are used for the superior support that they can offer.

Weightlifting knee wraps are significantly thinner and less restrictive than the powerlifting counterpart, allowing for greater range of movement and increased speed under the bar. The thinner materials also minimise ‘bunching' at the back of the knee joint making them far more comfortable to wear. There are variations to how to wrap your knee sleeves, so experiment with different styles to find your preference. It is worth noting their obvious disadvantage: you have to wrap and unwrap them, a lot, so get used to it. Nevertheless, a huge number of lifters swear by them, and for good reason.

The choice is yours. Be that the aesthetic, ease of use or preferred level of support. For the best of both worlds, why not combine the STASH Reserve wraps with the Stock Sleeves to keep your wraps secure with a clean look and maximal levels of support.

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