T Nation

Investing in Knee Wraps for Squat Training


#1

What do you guys think about using knee wraps purely for periodic increases in overloading and the ability to increase knee stability to your liking?

I am using knee sleeves at the moment, but my hypertrophy block has literally destroyed my legs at the moment and I still have 6 weeks left before I enter my deload then peak for my meet. The knee sleeves (sbd) are just not cutting it at the moment.

My competition is strictly raw, so no knee wraps on meet day. But, I hear people say they use knee wraps even in raw training for the increased overload and compression/stability. How I see it, if knee wraps can allow me to pump out some more volume while keep my legs moderately sane for the rest of this hypertrophy block, I see it as a win. Under normal circumstances I would just rest from squats for a week or two, but at this stage in prep, I really want to keep going.

I’m pretty much textbook wide stance upright high bar squatter anyways, so I don’t think the wraps will change the groove that much.

What do you guys think? Simply from a stability standpoint. Not interested whether knee wraps allow me more weight, merely for the compression/stability while I finish off this hypertrophy block.

thanks!


#2

I’m relatively new to wraps myself but as I understand and have experienced knee wraps don’t really make your knees feel better. If anything the compression is worse for your joints and the bigger workloads being shifted are gonna put more stress there. Just the wraps themselves are quite uncomfortable and you can get bruising and tender spots around your knees. If you wrap less tight to avoid this you are pretty much turning them into sleeves.

I’m not sure what having your legs destroyed means exactly but it doesn’t sound like a good thing to me. have a look at your training and maybe modify so that you don’t get destroyed. I’m sure gains can be made without getting destroyed but long term training in that way sounds counterproductive

What exactly does destroyed legs mean and can you identify what is the cause like too high volume, over use injuries, poor recovery management, poor technique or movement patterns? Maybe there’s some way you can sustainably train?

From my knee wraps what I get when the wraps are under tension in the bottom half of the squat is increased knee extension torque / assisting the action of the quads and thus more speed coming up. Once you are half way up there’s less tension on the wraps so it’s all you and your quads do loads of work.

So if the bottom half, where the most pressure is on the quads, is where you want to take some stress off than it could work out for you. Your glutes will still get trained but your quads are doing less work so might end up falling behind a bit in the bottom half of the squat where the wraps help.


#3

The main problem at the moment is that the area of my middle upper quad is getting torched when i hit the bottom of the hole. Everything else feels great, but my upper middle quads seem to be failing as soon as i hit the bottom. I am not sure if its a bit of inflammation problem or just over tax, but if the knee wraps can help the quads some how, that should be beneficial?

The chances are my volume has just been too high, like insanely high, but its not a long term approach. Needless to say, squats have been awesome the last months, but lately, this problem has cropped up, which leads me to believe over use.


#4

Yeah if it’s the muscle and not the joint it should be more what you are after. Also as long as it’s not pain or tearing or something. I think the parts of the squat you are feeling the quads straining the most is just that the areas where quads work the most being the bottom half.

You know you if it is volume then you can just lay-off it a bit then your quads will be fresher and your performance will bump up (maybe not at first initially) as your gains from all that volume translate to strength. If you got 6 weeks to go it sounds like a perfect time frame to do an intensity block.


#5

Thanks for the response.

Yeh, it is most certainly muscle not the joint, which is why I think the knee wraps might be a nice help.

You are probably right, probably just need to reduce the volume a bit and let the quads actually recover up.


#6

Yeah I think I know where you are at. Weeks of tough high volume work and your quads just don’t feel like they have any juice left and squat form goes to shit and reps are tough. Guess it’s a sign for us to back off. It’d be handy to track how much volume you’ve done to get to this point so in future you know how much to push it and can compare if your work capacity has gone up


#7

That will make your legs hurt for sure. There is no use in doing way more than you can recover from unless you want to injure yourself.

Knee wraps could help if you have tendinitis but in your case you might as well just lift less weight and stay far from failure, using wraps for a hypertrophy phase makes no sense. If I was you I would decrease volume. Also if you aren’t sure about your technique then post a video for a form check, bad technique can cause all sorts of pain.


#8

I’ve done what you’re suggesting. Not a great idea.


#9

What happened if you don’t mind me asking


#10

Death


#11

So I came across this video from Mike and it seems that even if you don’t compete with wraps, wraps in a normal training cycle are a nice overloading technique. Not just for handling supra-maximal weights, but also being able to handle heavier weights for more reps. In other words, they seem a nice addition for pumping out higher volumes of work.

What do you guys think of this?


#12

They might be fine for some overload work, but I’m failing to see why you think overload work is appropriate for you right now. It sounds like you need a deload now, not heavier weights. I don’t think you’re listening to your body, man. You’re gonna burn the fuck out.

At the very least, I’d throttle the volume back a bit. You can always push back up to crazy high volume, but based on what you’re saying, that’s not what you need now.

Don’t be dogmatic. I’m sure you love to train, and it sounds like you also plan your workouts far in advance. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the plan when your body isn’t responding the way it should be. You’re so young, you need to learn from this and find a better way to adapt than strapping on some knee wraps. Adjust your program, not your gear.


#13

I was having knee pain. So I slapped em on and it just made my knees pop and crack like gunshots. And They just hurt worse. Had to throttle back my top sets for a couple weeks and tweak my stance a little bit to get it to stop.


#14

Out of curiosity, what’s a typical week or two of training look like for you?


#15

First of all, the last thing you need right now is more volume. Next, you are in a hypertrophy phase, why do you feel the need to be handling weights above your 1rm? What Mike is talking about is something you would do during meet prep to get used to handling maximal weights. I am familiar with his programs, he has people do sets of 1-5 in wraps, not 8’s or 10’s like you would be doing for hypertrophy.

In any case, wraps are going to decrease the work your quads have to do when squatting, so there is no sense in using them for a hypertrophy phase. There are other exercises that are better for building the back, glutes, hamstring, and adductors than squats so there is just no good reason to do this.

Try rolling your quads with a foam roller and/or lacrosse ball, and reduce volume. Recent studies have suggested that 8-10 hard sets per session is the maximum that is beneficial for hypertrophy, doing more than that will not lead to increased results.


#16

I’ve found that my wrapped set acted like an over warm up for my sleeves Sets after it. My back and torso feel much tighter and solid from going through range with heavier weight on my back. Like it’s only 10kg more on the wrapped sets but once I drop back down it’s great. My performance improves.

I’m careful with how much wrapped work I do because it takes a lot more out of you. Heavier weights + energy spent wrapping. I do two working sets during my strength phase