You have probably seen athletes around the gym sporting some flashy, bright blue knee sleeves. And, you might have said to yourself “self, those a super stylish and I wonder if I could benefit from their brilliant blue power for performance while enhancing my workout ensemble.” The answer is probably yes, but lets take a look at the reason why one might want to invest in some knee sleeves.
Are you experiencing knee pain or discomfort? If the answer is yes, then it is best to identify why that is. Are you experiencing tendinitis, pain due to mobility issues, or are your movement patterns off? If any of the aforementioned describes you, try to tackle these issues first, otherwise knee sleeves would only be a temporary fix and not a permanent solution for solving the underlying issue. Kind of like driving around town with a spare tire on your corvette after getting a flat. You can do it, but it looks tacky and you will still be unable to maximize the full potential of your ride.
There are a few different types and materials of sleeves to choose from, so identifying exactly what you want them for will help narrow down the search:
Cloth sleeves: compression and some warmth.
Neoprene sleeves: warmth, injury prevention, and mild compression.
Knee wraps: Extreme compression, typically worn for performance.
The sleeve that I have found work best for CrossFit are the Rehbands. They are a neoprene sleeve that provide just the right amount of compression and warmth, keeping your knees feeling as “snug as a bug in a rug.” Since purchasing my pair, I have experienced less knee issues than I have in the past and wear them for just about every workout session. In fact, I even wore them while hiking a stint on the Appalachian Trail, 60 miles in 3 days and my knees appreciated the extra love.
Although I love the Rehbands, they can be a bit pricey, around $80 for a pair. If that is a bit out of your budget, Tommy Kono makes a comparable sleeve for about 1/2 the price. Both brands provide the same thing, warmth and mild compression, but the Kono’s are more difficult to get on and off and they tend to tear at the top. And if you are a Sasquatch type of human being, the TK’s will assist in hair removal along your entire leg in a “ripping off a band aid” type of way.
The down side to the neoprene sleeves can be the smell that accumulates after only a few training sessions; a pungent oder that stings the nostrils, and not in a good way, kind of like pure gasoline. So, if you do decide to treat your knees like a neoprene bagel dog, you will want to wash your sleeves often or perhaps invest in a second pair. Your nose, and everyone else will thank you.
If you have any questions if sleeves would be right for you, feel free to ask one of your Invictus coaches. We are always happy to assist.