Why Do You Need Knee Sleeves?


Originally Published: 11/11/2019

Reformatted: 5/10/2021

BY Malia Warren

They’re versatile, comfortable, and ensure your joints are warm and ready to work – whatever your work entails.

Knee Sleeves can act as: 

  • Knee Sleeves: of course, but did you know that you can wear them not just for squats, but for lunges as knee protectors, bulgarian split squats, burpees, or any movement where your knee may need to come in contact with the ground to complete the rep.
  • Shin Sleeves: Pull your knee sleeves down over your shins and use them as a shield for rope climbs and box jumps. Knee sleeves can definitely replace a need to buy shin sleeves. For this we recommend turning them inside out to the solid color inside. The design side is more delicate and will rip against some rope types under friction.
  • Elbow sleeves: Though they aren’t as tight as a specially made elbow sleeve, if you’re in a bind and need some elbow compression (yuck, tennis elbow), a knee sleeve can help. Pull it up your arm to the correct placement, if it’s not tight enough, roll it in half on itself and it will feel smaller.
Knee Sleeve being used as a shin guard for Rope Climbs. We recommend turning them inside out to the solid color side.

Don’t be fooled by the notion that knee sleeves are only used inside CrossFit gyms. No way, Jose. These bad boys can be used in a variety of sports and professions like:

  1. Running: While they’re not my favorite to wear while running, I would say over half of our customers use them the entire time they are working out, including workouts with runs. If the sleeve is not too tight, this can work well for the user. The heat conducted by the knee sleeve placement will provide stabilization and reduce the risk of injury due to stress.
  1. Hiking: For the same reasons that customers use them for running, we can resoundingly recommend them for hiking. Have you ever hiked up the Manitou Incline? That’s 2,744 steps, 2,000 feet of elevation gain in about 1 mile distance, and some grades as steep as 68%. You know the saying what goes up, must come down? Yea thanks, Newton, but you’re going to want some super strong knees, or the companionship of a knee sleeve for the decent down. I thanked all the altitude gods I brought a pair for the hike down.
  1. Gymnastics: With all the running, flips, and bodyweight support needed in gymnastics it’s easy to see why gymnasts can benefit from using a low compression knee sleeve. This means, don’t go too tight so it impedes performance, but choose a lower thickness (5mm or lower) will allow for more flexibility. 
  1. Volleyball: It’s common knowledge that indoor volleyball players wear knee pads. Switch it out for a knee sleeve and you’ve got both protection and warmth in your knees to reduce the likelihood of injury. With flexibility that moves with you, not against you, you’ll be able to focus on the game. Just grin and spike it!
  1. Horseback Riding: This is a new one, but it makes sense! Sitting in the saddle for hours can take a toll on more than just your backside. You use your legs quite a bit while riding a horse, especially when going any faster than a walk. Your legs are meant to support you while you gallop and having your knees stay warm and flexible seems like a nice tradeoff.
  1. Soccer: Soccer players, male or female, are some of the toughest athletes out there. Running, sliding, ball dribbling – you name it. A knee sleeve can help protect the knees from tough blows, keep it warm for optimal performance, and secure it to help prevent injuries.
  1. Work Environment and More!: Knee sleeves have also been used in other sports like Basketball, Wrestling, and Cheerleading. I’ve also had customers purchase them for their jobs, such as painters, plumbers, groomers, as a way to combat knee stress due to work demands. Imagine being down on your knees for an hour or two, per job, and needing some joint and muscle relief.

Bonus: You can use them for rollerblading/skating too. Spice up your outfit and roll around in style!

What if I only need one knee sleeve?

Lifting the Dream sells knee sleeves in pairs, because we just don’t think it’s right to make you buy two separately.

In most cases, when you’re using both of your knees to accomplish one of the fine activities listed in this post, you won’t need just one sleeve.

We do not advise using one knee sleeve on one knee at a time, because over time, inconsistencies can develop in your muscles. One leg may be working harder than the other as a result of the sleeve, therefore, overuse pains may start to arise in the non-sleeved leg, like muscle cramps.

This of course, is just a possibility and not typical for most athletes. But we do maintain that if you’re going to protect one, you might as well protect both.

Use them for everything 

Either way you look at it, it’s amazing the amount of uses a knee sleeve can have. Think of it like your personal gym swiss army knife, a fancy little accomplice to your workout.

Important: Knee Sleeves generally have a lifespan of 6-12 months, depending on the amount of use. Some athletes will be able to stretch out the life of their sleeve for years. It all weighs in on how often the sleeve is used, how it’s cared for (see our blog on washing your lifting gear!), and fluctuations in the athletes body measurements.

Lifting the Dream

What do you primarily use knee sleeves for? How have knee sleeves helped you as an athlete?

If you have any questions or you would like to be a guest blogger, please email us at hello@liftingthedream.com 

Malia is the owner, and mamapreneur, of Lifting the Dream. When she’s not lifting heavy weights, she’s doing some fun shit outdoors with her family or attempting to make rollerblading cool again. She is a Cali girl born and raised, with salt water in her veins and sunshine in her heart. She and her family now reside near Denver, Colorado, soaking up the 300+ days of sunshine and breathtaking (literally, altitude) views.

Stay Lifting My Friends,

Bee Tee Dubs (BTW). 


One thought on “Why Do You Need Knee Sleeves?

  1. Pingback: 18 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting CrossFit – Lifting the Dream

Leave a ReplyCancel reply