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Knee Sleeves During Squats

Like a lot of people, I sometimes feel like my knees take a beating during heavier squats. I’m thinking about putting on knee sleeves during my heavy squat sessions. However, I have some concern about them making the problem worse by providing a “crutch” to the muscles around the knee. Has anyone here used sleeves on a regular basis? To be clear, I’m talking about neoprene sleeves, not wraps, which I understand add quite a bit more support than sleeves. If so, I’m curious about your experiences. Did they help?
As always, thanks in advance for all replies.

So do you have actual issues with your knee or are you just paranoid/playing it safe?

Personally didn’t have knee issues with squatting before sleeves so sleeves didn’t do much other than a tiny bit of rebound cos of the material bunching up and being elastic and stuff.

Anecdotally I heard some people say it helps them. It’s just a bit of warmth and compression so it’s not like it’s going to fix big existing problems magically.

I use sleeves for all my squatting. Pretty sure they give about zero extra, apart from warmth and improved circulation. Apparently the SBDs add weight if they’re super tight but I’m still sceptical.

I can definitely squat more with sleeves (SBDs, not tight) but I think that’s because I tend to squat deeper without them.

It also just feels more stable for me.

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I do all my squatting with them. I have forgotten them some times and it didn’t make an extra difference in weight/difficulty. For me it’s more about having my knees warmer, less pain/strain and more confidence (ACL surgery on both knees). I definitely recommand them.

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It sounds like there is something wrong with your technique if your knees hurt after squatting.

Just don’t buy excessively tight sleeves. The recommended fit for SBDs or similar sleeves probably won’t add anything to your squat, and if it does it’s only a couple pounds. Knee wraps are a totally different thing.

Knee sleeves are somewhat overrated, unless you get a ridiculously tight pair with the intent of adding pounds to your squat. All they do is keep the joint warm, it could help a bit if you have tendinitis but other than that they have no therapeutic use.

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I have some patellar tendonitis that flairs up from time to time. I’ve had PT for it and it helped. Nothing crippling, but it’s something I have to be mindful of and take precautions against; for instance, I work a lot on getting the glutes firing so they do their job and the knees don’t get overloaded. I thought sleeves might give me a bit of help in warding off the inflammation.

If you have tendinitis then knee sleeves should help somewhat. Ben Pollack has a video where he is putting capsaicin on his knees for his tendinitis, look it up. It might be worth trying.

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Personally, I don’t recommend people knee sleeves. They only have a slight effect on the psyche, otherwise it’s the placebo effect. They will never be better and more efficient than traditional knee wraps.

The thing is that you can use sleeves and compete against people lifting without wraps, once you put on wraps you are in a different division. Despite the doubts of some people, a tight enough pair of certain knee sleeves can add a few pounds (maybe 20 at most, probably less) to your squat and it’s not just placebo effect. IPL/USPA only allows Titan Yellow Jacket sleeves in their equipped divisions, to give you an idea of how much of and advantage you can get out of a ridiculously tight pair.

My SBDs are amazing . Not overly tight in anyway (easy to put on and take off, size medium) and without a doubt add pounds to my squat . More than rehband which is what I was using before … I use them every workout cause I don’t see any reason not to. They feel great .

I have a pair of these, size large(correct size according to my measurements), when i first used them I thought they gave me a small or something by mistake. They were crazy tight, lots of rebound at the bottom. Definitely added some poundage to my squat.

The grey Rehbands add absolutely nothing, I have a pair of those. I deadlift in them to avoid scraping my knees.

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I have never tried the Yellow Jackets, according to some online reviews they are similar to SBDs. The only difference that I can see is that the Yellow Jackets aren’t tapered like most other sleeves so they will be easier to get on if you have big calves (like myself) which will allow you to put on an extra tight pair. Just the fact that USPA/IPL doesn’t allow them for raw makes me think that there must be a significant advantage to them over SBDs. Some people use suit slippers and multiple people to help put their sleeves on, if you have something like that going on then you are definitely going to get something out of it. At the same time, it kind of defeats the purpose of raw lifting and you might as well squat in wraps.

I got a pair of Rehbands several weeks ago. Mostly they keep my knees warm, which feels great. There’s a little compression, but the warmth is what I like.
I don’t regret getting them at all.

Get SBDs if you’re going to get knee sleeves. @khangles told me to get them, I got them, and they are absolutely fantastic. I haven’t squatted without them since I wore them for the first time back in October last year.

They will allow you to squat more weight (not a ton, but it will be noticeable) which will make your legs stronger all around. I don’t think you need to worry about them making the muscles around your knees weaker; any assistance provided by the sleeves will presumably be negated by the extra weight you are able to load onto the bar.

They’re also awesome for keeping your knees warm, which is insanely helpful if you’re planning on spending any extended amount of time in the squat rack. I’ve noticed that since I began using sleeves, I’m able to take the rest periods that I need between sets and not worry about my knees getting cold. That might sound weird, but I never realized that my knees could even get cold compared to the rest of my leg during a 4 minute rest period until I started using sleeves.

Overall, they make a difference. The SBDs I got were around $90 USD if I remember correctly. Definitely the best investment I’ve made for my lifting. Well… that or wrist wraps. Or protein powder. Whatever. Just get the sleeves hahaha


I didn’t either until 3 months after they arrived and they no longer stayed on my knees :sadpanda: