T Nation

Compression Sleeves?


Any thoughts on wearing these while working out? I posted a little while ago about my problems with elbow tendonitis which continues to plague me. I received some good suggestions and will probably be trying the voodoo floss bands, but I also see some guys wear compression sleeves while working out. What is killing me most right now is any type of barbell pressing or dipping. Dumbells are slightly more comfortable, but it gets worse the heavier I go.

I have heard that the sleeves take stress of the tendons and transfers it more to the muscle, which sounds good in theory, but I know we should have strong tendons too. So does anyone think these are good to use or are they counter-productive over the long term?




I have TK Bands that I use for squats. I actually wear them during my warm/ramp up and then take them off after the first heavy set as my knees are nice and warm by then. I have an older pair that are a size down that I use in the same way on my elbows for pressing days and occasionally for chins (if i do them first).

I’ve never actually left them on for a full session, or even a whole exercise, I just start with them until everything feels nice and warm then take them off, but I definitely feel better with them on, speeds up the process of getting everything feeling comfortable. TK Bands are good and cheap but they are other options that would probably work better conforming to the elbows. They are a BITCH to get on though, you gotta wear them tight enough so I always have use a ton of baby powder to get them on.


Personal philosophy has always been to reserve sleeves/tape/braces for competition and to train as close to unequipped as possible. Your joints hurt for a reason and you ought to figure out why before you resort to alternative support.

However, if your objective is simply to build an appealing physique with no regard to performance outside of the gym then maybe the sleeves are the way to go. Unfortunately I don’t have a wealth of experience of how sleeves might impact muscular development other than a knee brace that hindered calf growth, however that was a metal brace and not a neoprene/compression sleeve.


Thanks and you are definitely right in that the joint pain means something is amiss. I just cannot stand to take time off, but I know sometimes you have no choice. I have had this problem in the past and it just seems to go away on it’s own, not from anything too specific. I have pretty much deep-sixed lying extensions, whch I can live without, but when all other exercies start hurting, I get concerned. It is also worse than it ever was before.

I will be seeing a chiropractor in a bit that practices ART. I have heard some good things about it, but not so sure it is that miraculous. I also read a posting by a dude that recommended using castor oil on the affected joint. The main pain on that is dressing up the area because the oil stains so bad, but may try that too. I also tried some foam rolling last night, have not noticed anything yet, may have made it worse. One thing I am realizing is how much this is associated with the forearm muscles. I used to think the problem was just isolated to the elbow joint and in the triceps area, but I can defintiely feel pain and tenderness in the area where the forearm inserts into the elbow too.


I’m 59 and wear elbow wraps on push days and knee sleeves every workout. I try to not lift without them. I’d say use them as needed, but some day it may be necessary to wear them all the time when working out. Go by feel, whatever works.


For me sleeves are the only way i can press pain-free, i put the sleeves on 15 minutes before lifting, and keep them on the whole session. at the end of every session, lower body included, i do roughly 100 band pushdowns with a mini-band. this keeps my elbows feeling great. i also apply some deep heat cream before high volume sessions