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Knee Wraps Needed When Squatting?


Hi everyone. I’m new to this forum and just have a quick question about knee wraps. I’m female, I like strength training and lift fairly heavy whenever I work up to courage to do so. So Sunday, I was training legs and worked my way up in the squat to 245lbs for 6 reps, before my boyfriend chimed in, come and do 3 plates a side for one rep. What! For some reason I agreed and went for it. So another fella who trains there, he’s a bodybuilder too and spots me when I need a hand, said I should wrap my knees.

So, he brings his and wraps my knees up. They didn’t feel tight at least when I was sitting having it done nor when I stood up initially. However stepping out with the weight, I felt like I couldn’t feel my knees/lower legs, especially the left one. I felt like Bambi walking for the first time. It felt like my knees wouldn’t bend properly. Needless to say that first attempt was disastrous because I was shaky going down and couldn’t get any drive to push back up. Second attempt I ditched the knee sleeves and went for it; I managed 2 reps.

So the guy was saying though if I would be attempting such heavy weights I should wrap my knees to protect them. But like I said before it’s like I can’t feel my legs. Is it because maybe they were wrapped too tightly? Or is it like a learning curve where I have to get used to them? And would knees sleeves be a suitable alternative to the wraps? I don’t suffer from any knee pain, and luckily never have but I’m not a young chick anymore, I acknowledge this. Lol. So would it be advisable to squat without the knee wraps or still use something just for that extra support.

Thanks for any help or suggestions you make in advance.


Knee wraps help you lift heavier as they will give you extra rebound out of the hole. They do add some support, as do sleeves (just not as much), so some people feel safer squatting heavy with them. If you don’t have any pre-existing injuries, squatting heavy without wraps won’t necessarily hurt your knees, however, as many heavy squatters don’t use them. It kind of boils down to personal preference. They are a pain in the ass to put on/off for each set, so if you do use them only use them for the heavy sets.


There’s a couple studies on knee wraps being dangerous to the knees, primarily the pressure on the patella which can cause the cartilage in the knee to wear down over time. Honestly, if you’re not a Powerlifter that competes in wraps, wraps have no use. They’re just gear helping you add weight by using a larger stretch reflex at the bottom of the squat.

Keep training with your knees naked, or invest in some knee sleeves to keep your knees warm in colder gyms. They should fit snug but easily able to be taken on and off.


Unless you’re competing in a powerlifting federation where everyone is wearing certain types of supportive garments to help them lift the most weight possible, they are unnecessary.

Now, I am talking about thick tight powerlifting knee wraps, not light wraps (similar to simple gauze) that add nothing to your lift.

If you like having something around your knees to keep them warm and give some light support around the joint, a quality pair of knee sleeves is all you need to squat heavy.


[quote=“ashac, post:1, topic:225127”]
I’m female […] worked my way up in the squat to 245lbs for 6 reps[/quote]
Just wanted to point out that this is pretty awesome.

Loose wraps (or knee sleeves, not wraps) can be fine for support. Tighter wraps would be more intended to lift heavier. But it sounds like you’ve been doing more-than-fine without anything and you said there are no knee issues, so I’m kinda wondering why you’d start using them out of the blue.

Mark Rippetoe had a good bit about them in his book “Strong Enough?”:

“I use them below the patella, loosely wrapped to keep things a little tighter, and provide some feedback about position. They are on loosely enough that I can leave them on the whole workout with no discomfort or venous occlusion - nothing south of the wrap changes color. Used in this way, they add support and a feeling of tightness that actually helps with position, but no assistance with the weight itself.
The wrong way to use wraps is to put them on tight enough that they need loosening between sets. This level of support is quite different from the loose way. My loose wraps allow me to squat without further injury; tight wraps allow a lifter to squat more weight. They add greatly to the rebound out of the bottom normally provided by the hamstring/adductor stretch reflex.
If you are not going to a powerlifting meet, you are fooling yourself about how much you can squat if you use wraps this way. Fooling oneself, of course, is not good; it leaves one more prone to being fooled by others.”


What Chris said. Sleeves, great. I love my sleeves, and I rarely wrap even though I compete in a federation that allows them. I’ll use wraps six to eight weeks out from a meet and that’s it. If you want to use wraps, go ahead but be aware that you need to learn how to use them to get much out of them. If you aren’t a powerlifter, it probably isn’t worth the effort.


Sleeves or a light wrap cant hurt your moving good weight now , start out with cheap wraps learn how to do wrap right. As you get stronger get thicker wraps.
But start out only using on top sets, and yes wrapping to tight, can do moreharm than good.
I dont know but i think that wrapping super heavy with heavy loads may cause vericous veins in calves ?