When we exercise, we want to strengthen our bodies. The trouble occurs when we do not perform the exercises in a safe and skillful manner. When we exercise, we are putting ourselves at risk of getting injured. That is why we seek expert assistance when learning new exercise moves, and why we take the necessary precautions to prevent injury, and protect ourselves from further injury if necessary.
One of the most at risk exercises that there are include squats. When we perform squats, we are placing all of our body’s weight and additional weight on our knees. To perform a squat, correctly:
• Plant your feet flat on the ground, toes slightly outward.
• Your feet should be shoulder width apart.
• It is important to keep the weight on your heels, but keep your feet flat on the ground.
• Bend your knees and slowly lower your hips as if to sit in an invisible chair. Do not rock your knees forward at the ankles or curve or bow your back.
• Press through your heels to stand back up.
This is how to perform a squat but I would highly advise following a more extensive training program (watch here). You should try to prevent distributing your weight to your toes or the balls of your feet, because this can injure your knees. You also need to prevent your knees from wobbling. Keep them straight.
By performing a correctly formed squat, you can help prevent your knees, as well as your back, ankles and feet, from injury. What if you need a little extra protection? Or what if you already have a knee injury that you want to prevent from getting worse?
Knee Sleeves Help Protect Your Knees
An additional protection for your knees when performing squats are the use of knee sleeves. Knee sleeves offer compression to help keep the circulation and give extra support to your knees. These are generally sleeves that you slide up your leg and over your knees. Most of them are made of a neoprene material, but are available in some other materials as well. You will want to consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of knee sleeves before you use one. You also may want to consult your primary care physician to make sure this is the right choice for you.
Knee sleeves are commonly used in CrossFit workouts because they are versatile and they help you recover from heavy lifting sessions. Studies have shown that knee sleeves significantly reduce pain when used. Further studies explained that people with a good sense of joint positioning reported a perceived benefit from knee sleeves in a fatigued state. Therefore, knee sleeves are not just a gimmick or something that only super-power lifters use. This tool is a great way to help protect the knee by keeping it warm and compressed.
Advantages of Knee Sleeves for Squats
The main reason you will want to utilize knees sleeves in your workout is to protect the knees from future injury or risk of damage. Keep in mind that these are not knee braces, however, and can mainly be used to prevent future harm and not cure previous aliments. They will be able to prevent injury when performing squats.
What knees sleeves provide when performing squats is the ever valuable compression. These help increase blood flow and reduce pain and swelling in the knee joint during and after your work out. Allowing for this blood flow will help you recover more quickly from your work out, which will help you perform better each day.
Knee sleeves also help keep your knees warm doing a workout. If you choose the correct size, they will keep your knees warm to help prevent tendonitis and other issues that can occur in your knee joints. This warmth helps during and after workouts. When your knees get cold during your cool down, it can result in pain. Utilizing the knee sleeves will prevent this from occurring by keeping the joint warm.
In addition to warmth and compression, knee sleeves help the mechanics of a given movement by limiting patella movement, provide lateral stability and can increase your sense of the relative position of the neighboring parts of your body and strengthen the effort of being employed in movement.
All around, by incorporating a knee sleeve into your squat work out will give you great protection from injury, and help increase the quality and strength of your work out over time.
Disadvantages of Knee Sleeves
Although valuable to a work out, some of the good quality knee sleeves can be on the pricier side. Also, you need to wash them after every work out, as they will get an odor to them from all of your sweat creeping in to the nooks and crannies. Further, it is important to understand that simply by wearing a knee sleeve will not automatically improve your technique, nor make you a better lifter. By incorporating a knee sleeve into your exercise outfit will give you the support you need to become a better lifter over time. You still need to work hard and be diligent about your mobility, refining the mechanics of your squats and taking good care of your knee joint and your body overall.
Knee Sleeves Are Different from Knee Wraps
Do not be confused by the difference in knee sleeves and knee wraps. They are very different, and have different purposes. Knee wraps are usually worn by competitive power lifters and bodybuilders. They are made of an elastic type material, like that seen in wrist wraps. They are designed to be wrapped around the knee in a spiral or diagonal method for use in squats. Knee wraps allow you to lift more weight; however they do not help you get any stronger because they are so restrictive. They completely cover the patella and are worn tightly. This can actually lead to injury, not prevent it. They do have benefits, but knee sleeves are excellent for the everyday type of squat exercise.
What Types of Knee Sleeves Are Available?
There are many brands and various varieties of knee sleeves available for purchase. The design and fabric of the knee sleeves give comfort to the knee. Provided here are some suggestions for knee sleeves that you can find available through various retailers online and in store. Do your research and consult your doctor before purchasing. Again, these can be pricey, so it is an investment in your health.
• KASP 7mm Knee Sleeves – These sleeves are made of soft neoprene which helps keep the knee warm and the best knee sleeves for squats. It has a thick 7mm sleeve which is flexible and designed after understanding the complete requirements of weight lifters. The sleeve has tight openings which prevents slippage and gives protection to your joints.
• Crossfit Weightlifting Knee Sleeves – If you are facing tendon inflammation, this is likely your best option. It too is 7mm thick and has soft material which reduces the strain and gives joint compression. These are known as the best fit for rigorous work outs and it promises to take your performance to the next level.
• AceList Compression Knee Sleeves – perfect for cardio style sports including basketball, soccer and hockey.
• Nike Pro Combat Knee sleeve – Sold as a single this knee sleeve is very lightweight to support joints and muscles. Use it for indoor or outdoor sports gives you freedom of movement.
• Yosoo Knee Sleeves – Perfect for running, they are lightweight and don’t feel compressed. Enables you to run long distance but still provides a sung support preventing pain.
These are just a few of the available knee sleeves for squats and other exercises. Speak to your personal trainer or someone at your gym, a fellow weightlifter, or your doctor for a recommendation of their favorite knee sleeve. Further, once you choose the knee sleeve you want, check their sizing chart, as it varies by brand.
Protecting your knees while you are performing squats is of vital importance. A knee injury could follow you for the rest of your life, and even every day knee pain can be avoided by this simple use. And do not forget that to protect your knees, you need more than just knee sleeves. You need to know how to perform the squats correctly. Knee sleeves cannot give you good form. They protect your knees while you use good form. And, as always, speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.