A powerlifter lifting heavy weights

Powerlifting is a powerful yet demanding sport that requires strength, determination, and dedication—and that’s just to get you to the standing position!

On a serious note, the qualities that make heavy training (such as powerlifting) so rewarding equally put a lot of strain on your joints, particularly the knees and back. 

They’re not called power or strength sports for nothing! 

This is why proper form when using heavy weights is non-negotiable. It’s also why wearing a good knee wrap is fundamental for any powerlifter. 

Truly, you can’t go wrong when using a knee wrap as a form of injury prevention (plus extra support) They’re a good choice when moving onto a heavier weight, too, or if you’re a novice just starting out. 

What Are Knee Wraps

Knee wraps (aka knee straps and/or compression knee sleeves) provide stability, strength, and support to protect your knee joints from injury during a heavy weight lifting training session. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss why knee wraps are so essential to powerlifters, the different types of materials available, and how to choose the best knee wrap for you. 

I’ll also give my top suggestions for knee wrap brands and models so you can enhance your powerlifting performance while keeping your knees safe and steady. 

Best Knee Wraps For Powerlifting

It’s worth noting that knee wraps can be used for all sorts of other activities too, from running and volleyball to track sports and the gym. The reality is that many competitive weightlifters swear by the use of knee wraps to improve their output. 

But what exactly do knee wraps do?

Knee wraps provide support, compression, and warmth to the knee joint, helping reduce pain and swelling in the knee while stabilizing the leg during heavy lifts or active exercise.

A woman lifting heavy weights.

Why Use A Knee Wrap?

The benefits of using a knee wrap while powerlifting are:

  • Knee stability
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Joint protection
  • Pain relief
  • Improved blood flow
  • Enhanced powerlifting performance
  • Prevention of knee injuries
  • Reduced fatigue

Knee Compression Sleeves

Knee wraps are an essential piece of gear for powerlifters, and the material used is just as important as the fit. 

High-quality neoprene is the most popular choice of material for knee wraps, as you’ll see in the knee wrap suggestions in the next section. 

With its ability to provide comfort, breathable material, and significant structural support alongside incredible flexibility, neoprene is by far the best option and tends to be the preferred choice for many powerlifters out there. 

What’s also good about Neoprene material is that it’s lightweight yet highly durable and can be thrown into the washing machine and washed with a regular cycle, yet it still maintains its shape and hold when dry. Neoprene is also water-resistant (it’s the stuff that also makes wetsuits…), so it’s perfect for protecting your joints from sweat during heavy lifting training sessions.

Nylon is another option, which is also breathable, stretchable, and lightweight.  

Polyester is an option and tends to be a bit cheaper in price too. It’s lightweight and wicks away moisture rapidly, which makes it perfect for longer training sessions. 

Choosing a suitable material for knee wraps ultimately comes down to personal preference and what’s on offer from the brands you like.

What works well for one person likely won’t work well for another, depending on their needs, and of course, if they’re dealing with a knee injury or post-surgery, they’d need to look into something with even stronger support. This post may be helpful in that case.

A power lifter wearing knee wraps, lifting a heavy weight.

Top Knee Wraps For Powerlifting

Powerlifting is a sport that requires strength, stability, and great support to perform at the highest level. They help reduce knee pain while offering support to the legs when lifting heavy loads. 

Of course, one of the gifts of powerlifting is the increase in strength the individual gains through repetitive, consistent practice, usually on a weekly basis. 

But this won’t come if the individual’s technique is off or if an injury disrupts the sessions. 

Therefore, knee wraps are well worth considering to ensure the individual can progress to heavier lifts. 

Now, there are several top-tier brands out there that provide high-quality wraps.

Some of my top suggestions are listed below:

Best For Heavy Weights: Extreme Sleeves 9mm

9mm Extreme Knee Sleeves- Massive Support for Powerlifting and Strength Training
$84.99

Elevate your lifting game with our 9mm EXTREME Sleeves – the pinnacle of neoprene performance! Engineered for ultimate support, compression, and rebound, these sleeves feature high-strength neoprene for a snug fit and robust compression. Crafted with a straight-cut design, they guide your leg straight, enhancing performance. Stand out with the thickest neoprene in the USA – 9mm thickness for maximum rebound, perfect for Strongman or those seeking extra compression.

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03/14/2024 11:33 am GMT

Medium – Heavy Weights: Bear Komplex Knee Sleeves

Neoprene Knee Sleeves - Bear Komplex – Bodybuilding.com

Get the best support for your knees with our Bear KompleX knee sleeves – sold as a durable pair in 5mm or 7mm thickness. Crafted from top-quality Neoprene, these sleeves are built to last, offering maximum support during squats, power cleans, snatches, lunges, box jumps, or runs. Rep better with Bear KompleX!

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Medium – Heavy Weights: Gymreapers 7mm

Knee Sleeves (1 Pair) Gym Bag - IPF Approved - Knee Sleeve & Compression Brace for Squats, Fitness, Weightlifting, and Powerlifting - Gymreapers 7MM Sleeve Pair - For Men & Women - 1 Year Warr...
$59.99

Maximize your athletic prowess and ensure longevity in your fitness journey with our top-notch 7MM neoprene knee sleeves. Crafted through rigorous testing, research, and user experience, these sleeves provide unparalleled knee support and protection, enabling our community to smash their health and fitness goals. Bid farewell to knee pain and injury risks – our reinforced stitching and 7MM neoprene offer compression benefits for recovery, mobility, and injury prevention. Don't miss out – try them today!

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03/14/2024 11:45 am GMT

Lighter – Medium Weights: Bauerfeind Knee Support

Bauerfeind GenuTrain Knee Support Brace (New Version) - Targeted Support for Pain Relief & Stabilization for Weak, Swollen & Injured Knees & Arthritis - Size 5C, Comfort - Color Titanium
$99.00

Achieve the perfect fit for your knees with our cutting-edge support! Our knee support boasts an ingenious silicone Omega pad, relieving kneecap pressure and boosting circulation for reduced swelling. The soft, breathable knit fabric ensures comfort, unlike inferior materials, and it's machine washable! Perfect for knee strains, arthritis, and more. Elevate your knee care with Bauerfeind – German-engineered excellence for over 80 years. Invest in quality, comfort, and performance!

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03/14/2024 11:50 am GMT

Care Of Knee Wraps

Good care and maintenance of knee wraps will help them last far longer and provide better support for you when heavy lifting. 

These are some extra tips on maintaining and caring for your knee wraps:

  • Wash your knee wraps after every use on a gentle cycle.
  • Hang them out to dry in the air 
  • Consider using talc or another powder on the inside to help put them on (avoid over-stretching)
  • Look out for fraying straps, stretched-out elastic, or signs that the material has become brittle or worn down over time.
  • Store your knee wraps appropriately when not in use by folding them up neatly and keeping them away from direct sunlight.
  • Make sure you purchase the right size to start off with

These simple steps help ensure your knee wraps stay in tip-top shape so you get fantastic performance from your training sessions!

Summary

I hope this post inspires you to try using knee wraps during your powerlifting sessions. Good knee sleeves are worth their money for strength athletes and novices alike. 

They really add an extra element to the session, providing strength, support, and comfort to the knees, thus improving technique considerably. 

If you’d like to read more posts from me, click here. 

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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