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Thursday 141204 - Rest Day/Open Gym

Great looking squat Kristen!
"Why It's Time to Break Up with Your Knee Sleeves" by Brad Chase, Breaking Muscle

The first question that comes to my mind is "why do you wear knee sleeves?"

As the article discusses, if it's to make your knees "feel better" why do they not feel better without them? If it's because you have some of the movement/mobility issues that he talks about, are you letting your knee sleeves give you an excuse for not taking the necessary time to actually care for your knees with proper, consistent, mobility and stability training? Something to honestly assess.

The other reason I could see wearing knee sleeves, or rather, the tight sleeves made out of thick neoprene, is because of the extra "bounce" they give you coming out of the bottom of your squats. I'm certainly not going to be a purist that says to not use appropriate supportive give in the proper setting, but I will say that if you're using them every day for that extra performance boost, you're probably using them too often. My rule of thumb is to only use my supportive gear (i.e. neoprene sleeves and a weightlifting belt), when I'm training above 90% (sometimes not even then) or when I'm really going for an all-out max. That way I don't get reliant on the gear and make it out to be some sort of mental or physical crutch.

In full disclosure, I should also say that I use two different kinds of knee sleeves. I've got the really tight, neoprene Rehband sleeves that are most common and those are the ones that I save for the >90% or testing days (and like I said, not even always in those situations). The other pair I have are little more than cotton and elastic, not very tight or supportive at all, but simply help to keep my knees warm. I don't have knee "issues" but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the warmth of keeping just a little something on my knees, especially this time of the year when the gym is a bit cooler.

All that to say, make sure you know why you're using your knee sleeves. If it's because there's something wrong with your knees that you can do something about, well you should take care of the issue, not just mask it with the sleeves. On the other hand if it's because you like the extra "spring" you get out of the bottom of your squats, I challenge you to only use them, and your belt for that matter, when you're training above 90% or testing. Otherwise they'll become a crutch.

What are your thoughts?