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For a powerlifting look to add weight to their squat, a knee wrap should always be among your gym gear. It helps you lift more and gives your knee added stability while squatting.
So what are the best knee wraps for squats? I recommend the Titan Signature Gold Knee Wraps (click for today’s price on Amazon). They are the best knee sleeve on the market due to the stiffest of their material and the overall long-lasting durability. They provide a snug fit, which keeps the knee wrap in place while squatting. Additionally, these wraps are approved for competitive powerlifting.
If you want to know more about knee wraps, what they do, and how to use them properly, then keep reading! I’ll provide you with the ultimate guide to knee wraps, so you can pick the one that works best for you.
Top 8 Knee Wraps for Squats Available on the Market
You might want stiff wraps to lift more weight or mildly stiff ones that can be slightly more versatile.
With all the knee wrap options on the market, you can easily get overwhelmed and confused about which one would be the ideal pick for your needs.
To help you with that, I’ve compiled a review list of the best knee wraps for powerlifting that you can find out there. This will help you narrow down your selections or even pinpoint the perfect one for you.
The 8 best knee sleeves for squats are:
- Titan Signature Gold Knee Wraps – Best Overall Knee Wrap
- Inzer Gripper Knee Wraps – Most Innovative
- Inzer Iron Z Knee Wraps – Most Stiff
- Titan THP Knee Wraps – Least Stiff
- Mava Sports Knee Wraps – Best Budget
- Slingshot Knee Wraps – A Fan Favorite
- Iron Bull Knee Wraps – Easiest To Get On
- Inzer XT Knee Sleeves – Most Versatile
Kicking off the list with my recommendation for the best overall knee wrap. Titan is one of the most reputable brands that make some of the best gym and powerlifting gear out there.
These Signature Gold Knee Wraps are the most durable and powerful knee wraps that Titan has ever made.
In fact, a lot of professional athletes and powerlifters believe that these are the most supportive wraps that money can buy.
The knee wraps are made in the United States with excellent quality materials, which ensures their longevity and sturdiness against abuse as well as wear and tear.
The wraps are made from anti-slipping materials, so you won’t have to apply chalk and other irritating materials on your skin while using them.
Despite being super supportive, they’re relatively comfortable when they’re compared to other stiff options on the market.
The knee wrap is sold in pairs and is available in various lengths, so you can choose the one that works best for your needs. These lengths are 2, 2.5, and 3 meters.
However, my recommendation is the 2m wrap. This has plenty of length and it’s the size that all competitive powerlifters use.
- Extreme support to the knees
- Available in various lengths
- Approved for competitive powerlifting
- Premium price tag
One of the most daunting issues of wrapping a knee wrap is that you need to pull on it as hard as possible with each cycle around your knee.
The problem is that this can hurt your fingers and you’ll feel like you’ve climbed some stairs after you’re done.
If you find putting on your knee wraps a bit tedious, you should try this impressive and innovative design from Inzer.
As the name suggests, the Inzer Gripper Knee Wraps are designed to automatically grip on itself, so you won’t need to use any kind of external help like chalk or applying stickum spray to keep them on.
Despite that, they are pretty stiff and supportive while they’re on, which helps you lift more weight and do more reps!
- The wrap grips onto itself
- Pretty stiff and supportive
- Approved for competitive powerlifting
- They don’t stretch as much as some other options
If you like the Inzer Gripper but you’re looking for something stiffer, you should consider the Inzer Iron Z instead.
Similar to the Gripper, this one also grips on the skin pretty nicely, so you won’t need to use chalk to prevent it from slipping.
Also, it’s designed with extremely tight rubber, which allows it to wrap super-stiff around the knees.
This allows you to lift as much as you possibly can. However, you should keep in mind that such design will also cause some bruises and discomfort in your knees, so you can’t wear it all the time.
This is the most popular choice among competitive powerlifters because of the stiffness of the wrap.
- The maximum level of stiffness for the ultimate squat lift
- Grips on the skin nicely to eliminate the need for chalk
- Excellent value for its price
- Will cause bruises if worn for a long time during the session
Another knee wraps from Titan, which shows the level of quality they put into their products. This one is the Titan THP, which is a competition approved knee wrapping.
What makes these knee wraps special is that they come with relatively less stiffness than most other options on the market.
This makes it relatively more tolerable and comfortable for longer sessions, especially for someone who is lifting medium-heavy weights.
The wrap is quite durable with anti-slipping materials that help the wraps to stay locked in place without using stickum and is also available in 3 different lengths.
- Durable construction with anti-slipping materials
- Attaches to itself for easier use
- More comfortable than other wraps
- Not stiff enough to support super heavy lifts
If you’re on a strict budget, you might consider opting for their inexpensive yet decent quality knee wraps from Mava Sports.
They’re made of elastic polyester fabric that allows you to stretch them for high stiffness, which helps you lift extra lbs.
They’re 72 inches long (about 1.8 m), which isn’t too long but also not too short. The wraps come with a hook and loop closure, which allows for a lot more secure tightening than just tucking the wrap end within the loops.
The knee wraps are also stiff and adjustable enough to be used as knee braces, which enables you to use them for applying compression on your knees.
The knee wrap is available in two colors, which allows you to pick the one that suits your style. However, you should keep in mind that this one isn’t approved for competition.
- Ideal for buyers on a budget
- Comes with a hook and loop closure
- Available in two color
- Not approved for competition
A lot of powerlifters are being sponsored by Slingshot these days and we’re seeing more and more slingshot wraps in the powerlifting community.
The Slingshot Knee Wraps are tried by many lifters and it helped them improve their technique and lift more weight.
The knee wrap comes in pairs and is available in both standard 2-meter wraps and 2.5-meter ones for those who need extra security around their knees.
Additionally, the knee wraps are available in blue and pink, but it lacks the aesthetics and stiffness that you can find in Inzer and Titan wraps. However, it has a springy feel that makes it easier to use the knee wraps between reps.
- Approved for competition
- The fabric has more give than other stiff wraps
- Available in different sizes and colors
- Some users reported that the threads might come loose with time.
If you find putting on knee wraps a challenging endeavor, you’d be delighted to try these Iron Bull Knee Wraps.
They come with a velcro system that makes them much easier to secure as you put them on. Additionally, they’re quite supportive and will stand the test of time nicely.
Another great thing about them is that the 80 inches (2 meters) wraps come in a wide selection of colors and designs to match your lifting gear.
The only downside to this affordable and easy to use wraps is that they’re not approved for competition. But if you don’t compete in powerlifting, they’re an excellent choice!
- Extremely easy to get on
- Available in a lot of designs and colors
- Affordable price
- Not approved for competition
Last but not least, if you’re looking for something that can help you lift a bit heavier while staying on throughout the session, consider this one.
The Inzer XT Knee Sleeve is a cross between a sleeve and a wrap. Unlike regular wraps, you can keep this one on between sets.
This happens because they have a smart tightening system that allows you to easily shift between stiff tightening for lifting heavy and loose tightening for compression.
The US-made knee sleeve is available in a wide variety of size options, so you can pick the one that suits your knee and thigh size the most!
- A versatile option that you can wear throughout the entire workout session
- Allows you to easily adjust the compression level
- Approved for equipped lifting
- Like most sleeves, this one is pricier than most quality wraps
What Should You Consider Before Buying A Knee Wrap?
Knee wraps vary greatly depending on some aspects. That’s why the first thing you should do while shopping for a knee wrap is to decide on some certain aspects that can dramatically change your choice.
In the following list, I’ll briefly discuss what you should know about each of these critical points, so you can decide on which one to opt for.
Knee wraps come in various lengths. The most common one is usually the 2-meter type.
However, if you need to do more tightening around the knee, you may opt for the 2.5 and 3-meter ones. But again, the 2-meter length is plenty long for most lifters.
Stiff vs. Soft
Choosing between a stiff or soft wrapping might be one of the most critical decisions to make while picking a knee wrap for squats.
On one hand, a stiff wrap will hurt the skin and may ever leave bruises if left for long. However, they’ll allow you to lift a lot more weight due to their supportive effect on the maximal isometric force.
On the other hand, a mildly stiff or soft wrapping probably won’t let you lift as much weight when compared to a stiff wrap.
However, it gives you a more ample chance for versatility and comfort, allowing you to wear it for more than just squats.
As you can see, the choice between these depends mainly on your priority between versatility and lifting more weight.
Ease of Use
Some knee wraps are easier to put on and off when compared to others. For example, the Inzer Gripper Knee Wrap grips on itself while you’re wrapping it around your knees.
These perks are great for someone who’s having a hard time stretching the elastic material to the max while wrapping their knees.
If you’re lifting competitively, it’s crucial for you to make sure that the wrap you’re going for is approved for competition.
To make things easier for you, this elaborate guide has all the powerlifting gear that are approved by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and abide by their regulations.
You typically wear knee sleeves while also wearing a squat suit. Check out my complete guide to Squat Suits.
Ideally, most knee wraps will have a price range of about $20 to $50 depending on various factors.
The first one is the special features and overall quality of the wrap. For instance, knee wraps with rubber stripping will usually cost you more than regular less elastic wraps.
Also, the stiffness of the knee wrap usually adds more bucks to its overall price. So it’s more likely to find the stiff options on the pricey end of the scale. Lastly, it goes without saying that the longer the wrap the more expensive it’ll be.
Benefits of Wearing Knee Wraps For Squats
Now that you know more about a knee wrap and how to pick one, you might be wondering what a knee wrap can do for you.
In the following section, I’ll answer this question and provide you with all the information you need about the effect of wearing a knee wrap while squatting.
They Help You Improve Your Lifting Technique
One of the first benefits of wearing knee wraps comes from understanding how it works. First, you should know that due to the materials and design of a knee wrap, it has stored elastic energy.
This energy gives you stronger upward propulsion as you’re heading up from the bottom of the squat position.
While it’s easily felt while lifting, this finding was also proved through research to assess the mechanical advantage of the wraps.
Improving the technique isn’t only about the “vertical impulse”, but it’s also about horizontal displacement.
In another study to assess the kinematic difference between squatting with and without knee wraps, it was found that the horizontal barbell displacement that happens during the eccentric phase was reduced by 39% during lifting with knee wraps than without.
They Help in Minimizing Chances for Injuries While Lifting
While squatting, you’ll be putting a lot of stress on your knee caps and tendons attached to them, which are known as the “quadriceps tendons”.
This may result in a specific type of injury where the tendons detach from the knee caps while lifting.
The problem with a detachment injury is that it’s quite severe and surgery is usually the only solution to it if it’s completely detached.
While a knee wrap isn’t an absolute preventive measure from detached tendons, they help in lowering the chances of such problems to happen and minimize its severity by reducing the stress on your knees.
Not only that, but they also provide your knees with warmth, which helps in speeding up recovery from minor inflammation.
However, if warmth is the only thing you’re looking for and you don’t lift heavy, you might consider a knee sleeve instead.
Stiffer Knee Wraps Allow for Better Muscle Activation and Lifting More
According to a study in 2011 by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, knee wraps have no effect on the characteristics of the squat and don’t alter the biomechanics.
In other words, they don’t directly contribute to the joint flexion performance and directly affect the muscle gains during squats.
Although it doesn’t directly activate more muscles during lifting, it allows for better muscle activation by helping you improve the technique itself.
Wearing knee wraps during squats will help you perform with better technique while providing you with additional force, especially while wearing stiffer knee wraps.
So in conclusion, stiffer knee wraps will allow you to gain more strength indirectly by bracing you to lift a higher amount of weight while squatting or doing more reps than your average.
All that while giving you extra force, keeping your knees warm, and improving your overall technique.
How To Wrap Your Knees For Squats
The only thing worse than getting injured because of not wearing a knee wrap is getting injured because you’re doing it wrong.
That’s exactly what I’ve encountered a few years ago at a competition while I was wrapping my knee when another athlete pointed out that I’m doing it wrong.
After this incident, I had to research the best way to wrap your knees prior to squatting, whether you’re lifting heavy or light.
The technique I’m about to explain is the one used by one of the most decorated equipped powerlifters in Canada. Here’s how it goes :
1. Start by putting your finger just beneath the kneecap and look for a bony protrusion, which is known as the “tibial tuberosity”.
2. Once you find it, stretch your knee straight while pulling your toes up with quad flexing to keep both your calf and leg tight and straight.
3. Place the wrap end on the tibia to just cover it to start the wrapping process.
4. While keeping the wrap end fixed on the tibia, pull and stretch the wrap around your knee. (You don’t want to wrap it then stretch it. Instead, you stretch it as hard as possible as you go).
5. Repeat the previous step while pulling on the wrap as hard as possible with each turn. About 3 to 5 cycles up towards the thighs should be enough.
6. Work your way up so that the other end of the wrap covers the outside of the quads (the Vastus Lateralis muscle). Once you’re there, you shouldn’t go up any higher, as it would be technically ineffective.
7. Now that you’ve got the initial wrap right, it’s time to tighten the knees using the cross pattern over the knee. This stiff style of wrapping produces the highest peak torque, which allows you to lift more weight.
8. Do the X-shaped wrapping so that the last wrap is at the top of the knee again, then tuck the remainder of the wrap underneath one of the loops to secure the wrap in place while moving.
What makes this technique great is that it prevents the wrapping from slipping or moving around while lifting. Also, due to the immense tension, it’s pretty easy to unwrap it once you’re done.
You’ll only need to untuck the end of the wrap and it’ll unravel automatically due to the applied tension.
How To Care For Your Knee Wraps
Knee Wrap comes in contact with sweat, so they’ll smell with time if you don’t wash them. Also, the buildup of bacteria on the fabric will slowly damage it.
Although most knee wraps are washing machine friendly, it’s recommended that you wash them by hand to keep them from tangling and getting damaged.
To do that, simply put them in a beaker with lukewarm water and some mild detergent to avoid damaging it. You can rub them either with hand or with a cloth to clean the wraps.
Once they’re clean, rinse them thoroughly with clean water to make sure that you get rid of all detergent.
Don’t wring or twist the wraps to get rid of the water, as you might damage it. Instead, gently press them to let the water out, then let them air dry away from the direct sunlight, so they don’t shrink or get damaged.
Note: While rare, sometimes compressive gear like knee wraps can cause nosebleeds while lifting. I wrote an entire article discussing this topic.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the differences between knee wraps and knee sleeves?
Knee wrap and knee sleeves are both worn to provide your knees with support and warmth during lifting. However, sleeves aren’t wrapped around the knees as tight as the wrap is, so they don’t help you lift more weight while squatting. Instead, they’re made of neoprene and enhance the blood flow to the muscles, which enhances the general performance and helps in alleviating mild inflammatory pain. Sleeves are a bit easier to wear and more versatile than wraps.
I’ve written a comprehensive guide that compares knee wraps and knee sleeves in terms of pros, cons, and what they’re used for. You can check it out to decide which one is more suitable for you.
Are knee wraps worth it?
The answer to this question depends mainly on what you’re expecting from a knee wrap and what you need. If you’re a serious lifter who does some very heavy reps, a knee wrap would be an excellent accessory for you. It’ll help you lift off more weight or do more reps than your average. Also, for a competitive powerlifter who competes in the equipped division, having an IPF approved wrapping will give you a mechanical advantage and potentially protect you from some serious injuries. However, if you’re a casual lifter who doesn’t lift super heavy, and just looking for moderate knee support while doing general exercises in the gym, opting for a knee sleeve might be a better investment for you.
When should you wear knee wraps?
Unlike sleeves, knee wraps are pretty stiff on the skin, which can cause some serious bruising if used as a crutch for your daily training routine. As a rule of thumb, knee wraps are usually worn during the heaviest sessions of lifting.
What are the drawbacks of wearing a knee wrap?
Although they’re usually more affordable than knee sleeves and help you lift 15% to 30%, knee wraps are only recommended for the experienced few who lift very heavy due to their challenging cons. For example, the adequate technique for wrapping them has a learning curve to the point that most people require assistance to put them on. Also, they’re only used for a few exercises and shouldn’t be worn all day.
That’s all you need to know about knee wraps! As you can see, wearing knee wraps won’t only give you a great edge by having a mechanical advantage, but it’ll also support you and protect you from some serious injuries.
Ideally, I’d pick Titan Signature Gold Knee Wraps as the best knee wraps for squats for all the good reasons.
Besides being an excellent knee wrap for serious amateurs, it’s also used by top-tier professionals in the game and is frequently dubbed as the most supportive option on the market. It’s super durable and will last you for a long time, which makes up for its premium price tag.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more versatile that can act as a cross between a wrap and a sleeve, you may opt for Inzer XT Knee Sleeves.
They combine the sleeve’s ease of use and comfort with the wrap’s support and stiffness, so you can use them for various purposes around the gym!
If you’re looking for more of a knee sleeve (not wrap), check out my article on the Top 5 Best Knee Sleeves.