Elbow Wraps for Bench Press: The Ultimate Guide 2020

If you take your bench press seriously, then you need the best gear to perform at your highest. This is where elbow wraps and sleeves come into play, which help with joint protection, warmth, and stability.

Currently, the best elbow sleeve in the market is the Sling Shot Strong Elbow Sleeve. This sleeve earned the top spot because of its ease of use, quality of material, and thickness.

Today, I’ll be providing you with detailed reviews about the best elbow wraps and sleeves for bench press. By the end, you’ll know how to pick the best one for you.

What Do Elbow Wraps & Sleeves Do?

Elbow wraps are tight-fitting garments that you wear on your elbows.

Here’s a brief overview of the benefits:

Enhancing Blood Circulation

Similar to compression therapy, elbow wraps helps to regulate the blood circulation. This reduces the inflammation that results from weak circulation.

It should be noted that clinical studies aren’t conclusive about the evidence yet. However, many professional athletes claim that it improved their blood circulation.

Helps in Recovery

According to many studies, it was found that elbow compression helps in achieving a faster recovery process. This was especially the case when the type of exercise involved a heavy eccentric load.

Although it has no direct effect on the healing process, it helps in pushing more blood and oxygen into the tissues.

This, in turn, helps in reducing the swelling around sore muscles. That’s why a lot of athletes with dedicated recovery teams use compression for recovery.

Protection Against Injury

In addition to their recovery action, you can use them for prevention against certain injuries.

Elbow compression can stabilize and protect weak, injured, or recovering elbows.

Using elbow wraps provides relief from golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, elbow tendonitis, and other related elbow injuries. This is because the compression provides additional stability to the muscles and tendons in the forearm and tricep, which takes stress off the joint itself.

Performance

By adding compression to your elbows, you’ll feel stronger handling heavier weights.

This is because there will be elastic energy stored in the wraps as you lower the weight to your chest. Then, when you drive the barbell up, the elastic energy gets released (like a spring) and will give you a performance-enhancing effect.

Notwithstanding, I find having something tight wrapped around my arms simply gives me the confidence to handle more weight.

Top 5 Elbow Wraps for Bench Press Available in the Market

Elbow wraps and sleeves come in different shapes and sizes. In fact, there are some slight differences between elbow wraps and sleeves as well. But, we’ll tackle these variations later in the article.

For now, here’s a detailed overview of the best 5 elbow and sleeves that you can find in the market.


Sling Shot Strong Elbow Sleeve

Kicking off the list with one of the best options that are among powerlifter’s top choices. The Sling Shot Strong Elbow Sleeve offers the utmost quality for value.

This elbow sleeve is endorsed by Mark Bell, which is one of the biggest names in powerlifting. The elbow sleeve comes in pairs and is available in blue and black colors.

Additionally, the elbow sleeve comes in a wide variety of size options. It’s available in size small and all the way up to 4XL, which is ideal for benchers with bigger arms and struggles to find sleeves that fit them.

The product is designed with powerlifters in mind. SlingShot removed all the seams from the back and front of the elbow. This reduces friction and eliminates skin irritation while benching.

Not only that, it’s also made from level 3 neoprene. This is the highest quality neoprene that you can buy. It’s extremely durable, yet maintain its flexibility, which is the perfect combination.

Moreover, the neoprene layer is 5 millimeters thick. This allows the elbow sleeve to provide the compression needed for lifting without being bulky and annoying to lift with.

This one is ideal for those who are looking for professional powerlifters who bench with higher weights. It’s also great for those who have a hard time finding a size 4XL sleeve for their large arm.

Pros

  • Comes in a variety of sizes
  • High-quality neoprene
  • Provides a strong rebound for the maximum weights
  • The material will last a long time without fraying

Cons

  • A bit tricky to go on and off if your arm is sweaty

Inzer XT Elbow Sleeve

Inzer XT is one of the comfiest and easiest elbow sleeves on the market.

A lot of lifters like to compress their arms to varying degrees depending on the weight or exercise. However, with most elbow sleeves, you only get one type of compression. You can’t release the compression between exercises. With velcro tape, you can tighten or loosen the fit anytime you want.

The fabric also allows for better aeration than other materials while staying tight and compressing.

Inzer XT isn’t only for compressing your arms while you’re lifting. It’s also praised for its rehabilitation abilities, as a lot of lifters use it to help with sore biceps.

Besides its velcro straps, the product comes with 6 different sizing options to choose from. These options range from small and up to 3XL.

What I like most about this sleeve is that as you get bigger arms, you can depend on the straps to adjust the fit of the sleeve. So when you invest in this sleeve, you’ll have it for the long haul.

Pros

  • A great option for the alleviation of pain while lifting
  • Comfortable while wearing
  • Comes with velcro straps for easy adjustment
  • Will expand as your arms grow

Cons

  • Available in a single design/color

Stoic Elbow Sleeves

Stoic Elbow Sleeves is another great elbow sleeve that you can wear for bench press.

The best feature of this elbow sleeve is that it comes in the thickest neoprene available. The neoprene layer is 7mm thick, which will provide the utmost performance benefit. When benching, you will find a good amount of ‘spring’ as you drive the barbell off the chest.

Lifters have also noted that the Stoic Elbow Sleeve provides superior warmth compared with other brands, which provides great comfort while lifting.

The sleeve comes with triple-stitched seams for maximum resistance against wear and tear. You can count on this sleeve lasting a long time.

Pros

  • Triple stitching for maximum durability
  • Offered in the rare X-small sizing option
  • Excellent arm coverage for superb performance
  • The only sleeve with 7mm thickness

Cons

  • Not really suitable for any other exercise other than bench press

Iron Bull Strength Elbow Wrap

Unlike many elbow wraps on the market, the Iron Bull Strength Elbow Wrap is extremely easy to put on. It has an excellent velcro closure system on each sleeve. This makes it highly adjustable according to your needs.

The elbow wrap comes in several colors. In addition to all-black and camo designs, you can choose between six more vibrant stripe colors. Color patterning doesn’t matter so much for me, but if you’re someone who cares about matching outfits, this is a big benefit compared with other wraps.

This product is designed to provide optimal performance while lifting heavier weights. This is because you can pull the wrap tighter for heavier weights, which will provide more elastic energy to support the lift. You can also use this wrap for other exercises such as dips and overhead press.

The elbow wrap is also double stitched in a zig-zag pattern to keep the velcro tightly secured on the wrap. You won’t have to worry that the wrap will ‘undo’ halfway through a set.

Pros

  • Breathable fabric for added comfort
  • High-quality nylon for durability
  • Zig-zag double stitched velcro for maximum durability

Cons

  • Some lifters complain about the difficulty of putting it on

Mava Sports Elbow Sleeve

The elbow sleeve from Mava Sports is believed by many to be one of the best and most versatile sleeves on the market. It’s also the most affordable sleeve you can buy, making them ideal for people on a budget.

The Mava Sport Elbow Sleeve doesn’t hug the elbow as tight as other sleeves, so your arm can move more freely. This means that you can wear this sleeve for virtually any exercise in the gym.

However, because it doesn’t offer the compression like other elbow sleeves, it won’t give you the ‘pop’ off the chest like many others. So you have to ask yourself whether you want something specifically for bench press or if you envision wearing it for other exercises as well.

The unit comes in pairs and is available in different sizes starting from small and up to XXL. Additionally, you can choose between black and grey colors.

The Mava Sport sleeve is known for its high-grade materials, which contributes to the longevity of the sleeve. So even though it’s a budget option, you don’t need to worry about having to replace it in a couple of months. It should last years.

Mava Sports trusts in the quality of their product. That’s why they back their elbow sleeve with a 6-month money-back policy to guarantee your satisfaction.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Highly versatile
  • Comes with a money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer as much compression

What Makes A Good Elbow Wrap?

While elbow wraps vary in styles, there are some essential aspects that make an elbow wrap stand out.

Material

Elbow wraps come in different materials. Each one of them has its own pros and cons.

Generally, most elbow wraps are made of neoprene, nylon, rubber, and spandex. These materials offer tight compression with different levels of aeration.

The best material to go for is neoprene. It offers the perfect combination of compression and flexibility, so you can exercise comfortably.

Thickness

The thicker the wrap, the more compression support you’ll get. The ideal elbow wrap should be anywhere between 5 to 7 millimeters.

Thinner wraps won’t provide the support you need while lifting heavier weight.

However, one thing you’ll want to make sure is that even though thickness should be a priority, you want to make sure that it’s not designed to be ‘bulky’. Otherwise, it will just be hard to wear.

Length

Most elbow wraps provide decent coverage over the bicep area. To make the most out of the elbow wrap, it should, at least, cover half of the bicep area and the forearm.

However, you should make sure that it isn’t too tight for your bicep, as you don’t want it cutting off circulation to your arm.

Design

Design isn’t only about style. An elbow sleeve with a tapered design is much easier to put on.

It’s critical to make sure that the wrap is designed to maintain a full range of motion while you’re using it.

Also, make sure that the design is seamless or double-stitched to provide the durability needed while exercising. This is especially important if you plan on wearing it daily.

Ease of use

Some elbow sleeves are a huge burden to wear. That’s because the tighter the fit, the more difficult it gets to slip the wrap on.

It’s important that you choose an elbow wrap that isn’t too hard to put on. A good solution to this problem is those wraps with velcro closure systems, such as Inzer XT and Iron Bull.

However, I find that if I put elbow sleeves on at the start of the workout when I haven’t already begun sweating, that they are much easier to slide on.

Elbow Sleeve vs. Elbow Wraps: What’s The Difference?

Describing the difference between elbow sleeves and elbow wraps
Elbow sleeves vs elbow wraps

Elbow sleeves and elbow wraps have the same function, which is providing the elbow with compression, warmth, and stability.

However, the main difference between them is their designs:

Elbow sleeves are one-piece garments that are slipped on.

Elbow wraps are long pieces of material that you need to wrap around the arm.

Elbow WrapsElbow Sleeves
Ease of useEasier to get on when sweatyHarder to get on when sweaty
When to wear themTypically worn for a single set and then removed afterwardCan be work throughout the entire workout
CompressionCan adjust how tight you want to compress the elbowThe compression isn’t adjustable
VersatilityTypically work for heavier liftsCan be worn for heavier lifts or everyday use

When to Use Elbow Wraps?

You should wear elbow wraps if you want to gain performance advantages in the bench press. Gaining a performance advantage means two things:

  • Adding a bit of joint stability and warmth in order to boost overall confidence in the movement, and reduce aches and pains.
  • Leveraging the elastic energy stored in the material as it compresses over your arm, which will give you a ‘boost’ off the chest.

Either way, elbow wraps are a great piece of equipment to keep in your gym bag.

Do Elbow Wraps Increase Bench Press?

Elbow wraps can be used to increase your bench press if the compression is tight enough. The tighter the wraps, the more they will assist the movement. They also have an indirect role in increasing your bench press by providing more stability and compression while working out.

The best way to increase your bench press though is to work on your technique. I recommend you check out my bench press technique articles.

Final Thoughts

When I’m looking for an elbow wrap for bench press, It needs to be comfortable and to provide the support I need. That’s why the Sling Shot Strong Elbow Sleeves wins this round in my book.

From its excellent coverage to its wide selection of size, it provides the best of sleeves and wraps combined. All that comes at a budget-friendly price that won’t poke a hole in my wallet.

As a reminder, if you’re a competitive powerlifter, you can’t wear elbow wraps in competition. However, several powerlifters wear elbow wraps in a training environment in order to keep the elbow healthy. This is especially important if you’re bench pressing multiple times per week or handling heavier loads.