Currently my knees feel fine, but I am reluctant to push superheavy on my squats. My PR is 370 at about 180. Does anyone have any suggestions as to whether they prevent against injury and if they help when pushing the heavy weight?
Knee wraps are used, particularly by powerflifters to diminish the strong pulling forces on the lower quadriceps and the quadriceps tendon where it attaches to the patella (knee).
This will (might) safeguard against the chance of chances of detaching your quadriceps tendon or damaging the muscles of the quadriceps. I would theorise that the risk of developing Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or PPS is probably rediced by using wraps by reducing overload of the patellofemoral joint.
But...using knee wraps for squats and particularly in those who already experience patellofemoral pain is not always recommended. Typically many wrap users do so because they have painful knees and see the wraps as some sort of palliative for this.
Knee wraps can stop the the patella from deviating too far laterally. This can be detrimental because the patellofemoral mechanism is a multi plane movement system.
I would suggest knee wraps are probably best employed as a therapeutic device for knee injuries rather than an aid to training with pain or preventing injury as mentioned above.
I don't use wraps and have never experienced knee pain, injury or as far as I know de-generation. But focusing on the biomechanics of the squat, stance, foot postition, posture are sure ways of preventing injury over relying on knee wraps and then employing excessive weight and bad form. Just my humble opinion.
Random fact: knee wraps can help aid in muscle torque by inhibiting quadriceps recurrent inhibition via the Renshaw cells.
There's my geeky neuro moment for the week!
The whole wrap debate is stems on the pro's and con's and its sometimes hard to fathom it out. Kinda like the weighlifters belt thing, wazzing (tightening) up the buckle of the belt may pre-load erector spinae before any flexion of the spine or contraction of the erectors occurs, although some tests to prove that the belt offers good lumbar support and prevents possible injury.
These guys are on the money. They're basically good when you're pushing a max, but a bad idea to use over the entirety of your training cycle.
That's a cool geeky neuroscience moment, btw - how is it exactly that the mechanism works? Is it a mechanoreceptor activiation thing? Always interested in learning something new.