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Whether you’re using knee sleeves to keep your joints warm or to provide your knee with support and stability under maximal loads, a knee sleeve is the go-to piece of equipment for a wide range of athletes, including powerlifters, weightlifters, crossfitters, and more!
And while there are many products and options on the market, a few of them beat Slingshot’s STrong Knee Sleeves, which are designed by Mark Bell, one of the most influential powerlifters on the planet.
The Slingshot Strong Knee Sleeve is made of grade 3 neoprene, which is the thickest neoprene out there, allowing it to be one of the top choices for powerlifters. This means the sleeve won’t wear or tear over time, which is common for most sleeves after 6 months of daily use – but not for the STrong Knee Sleeve.
It also has an ideal thickness of 7mm as well as 30 cm length regardless of the size you’re going for, which range from X Small to 4X Large. For context, the 7mm thickness and 30cm length is the maximum dimensions for any competitive knee sleeve, which again, means more support for the knee joint.
In fact, if you’re using a knee sleeve without these dimensions (7mm thickness and 30cm in length), you’re not getting the most strength possible in movements like the squat.
The Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeve also recently became approved for competition use, so if you’re a recreational powerlifter now and plan to compete later, then rest assured this sleeve will last throughout your career.
Here’s a quick look at what I liked about the knee sleeves as well as some potential drawbacks:
- Very supportive knee sleeves that are made from special neoprene to suit heavy lifters
- They’re designed to stay locked in position, so they don’t slide down with sweat
- Recently approved for competitive powerlifting by the IPF
- Designed by a top-level lifter, with many reputable powerlifters using the sleeve
- Available in a wide variety of sizes and colors
- A bit pricey
- Some users claimed that it can fray quickly if left bent in the gym bag (to avoid this make sure you don’t leave your wet knee sleeves in your gym bag)
Things to Consider Before Buying a Knee Sleeve
From my lifelong experience with gym equipment, I can safely say that the durability of any item should always be your top priority while picking a suitable product, especially if you’re lifting heavy or joining competitions.
As for materials, neoprene is fairly durable and moisture-resistant on its own, it can come in grades.
These grades affect the stiffness and sturdiness of the sleeve. The higher the grade, the stiffer the sleeve will be.
Another thing you should know is that a knee sleeve isn’t exactly built for comfort, especially when it’s a 7 mm neoprene one that’s made to support the heaviest of lifts.
So don’t plan on wearing your 7mm knee sleeves throughout the duration of your workout. You put them on for your heavy squats, and then you take them off during your accessory movements.
Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeve Review: An In-Depth Review
In this section, I’ll provide you with all the details about Slingshot’s STrong Knee Sleeve, so you can compare it with your needs and see if it is your ideal choice.
Material and Durability
One of the secrets behind a knee sleeve’s durability is, of course, its constructing material. In the STrong’s knee sleeve case, it’s neoprene.
Although neoprene is fairly durable and moisture-resistant on its own, it can come in grades. These grades affect the stiffness and sturdiness of the sleeve. The higher the grade, the stiffer the sleeve will be.
The STrong knee sleeve by Slingshot uses grade three neoprene, which is the toughest version, all the while keeping it one ply. This prevents the sleeve from stretching around while you wear it while staying competition-approved.
Grade three neoprene is also less absorbent than other kinds of neoprene, making it ideal for those who sweat at the knee, so they will resist the moisture damage and make a bad odor for longer.
The stitching on the sleeve’s sides also ensures that it won’t rip while lifting heavy. As you can see, durability is one of the STrong knee sleeve’s assets. However, they don’t like being bent for a long time.
Some users complained about signs of early fraying at the seams due to leaving them bent inside the gym back for a long time. But, if you use the sleeves properly, you shouldn’t worry about that.
There are some knee sleeves that are notorious for pinching when you wear them for a long time, especially with exposure to moisture.
Luckily, this isn’t the case with the STrong Knee Sleeve. I’m not saying that it would be a pleasure wearing them, as they’re as tight as a knee sleeve should be.
Yet, Slingshot really paid a lot of attention to create a knee sleeve that isn’t too annoying while working out.
The sleeves are quite comfortable to use for squatting but not as much while doing cleans. In other words, they’re not versatile but they do what they do best!
As previously mentioned, these sleeves are 7 mm thick. This means that they’re not perfect for all athletes.
In fact, 7 mm knee sleeves are more reserved for competitive powerlifting because they offer the level of support needed to help you bounce back up from the squatting position.
However, such thickness wouldn’t be suitable for a general gym-goer or a crossfitter because these thick sleeves restrict the knee’s range of motion, making it quite hard to move around.
Olympic weightlifters should also consider a 5 mm alternative, such as Rogue Knee Sleeve because they need to go down much lower while squatting.
Size and Fit
It’s always essential that you get a knee sleeve that provides you with a snug fit without being a nightmare to put on and take off.
Luckily, Slingshot makes the STrong Knee Sleeves in 8 different sizes and offers a size chart for both comfort and competition.
All the knee sleeves made by Slingshot come highly uniform in terms of size, thickness, and length, so you won’t have to worry about receiving a non-matching pair.
Slingshot also offers a size chart for both comfort and competition, which is measured in inches exactly around the center of the knee cap. The sizes start from 11 inches at X Small and go up to 20 inches for the 4X Large.
Keep in mind that sizing is usually a personal preference, which is why lifters with large quad might end up getting one size up. Lastly, Slingshot recommends that you get the larger sizes if you’re unsure between two sleeves.
According to Slingshot, this knee sleeve is capable of increasing your squat power by up to 20 to 50 lbs, which allows you to “bounce” out of the hole much easier.
A lot of lifters found the rigid structure of the knee sleeves quite helpful in fulfilling Slingshot’s promise. Personally, I don’t know anyone who has gotten 50lbs out of knee sleeves, but 20lbs from a tight knee sleeve sounds about right.
However, as previously mentioned, the sleeve is too stiff for CrossFit WODs, because with such structural rigidity, it’s quite hard to move around with these on.
Design and Style
Despite not being a critical kinetic advantage, aesthetics is always important for the confidence of the lifter, which is proven by science to enhance their performance.
If you like to match your gear, you’ll be delighted to know that STrong Knee Sleeves come in 7 different color options and a unisex design and sizing system that’s suitable for both men and women.
The design of the knee sleeves also limits the sleeve’s stitching to the sides, which makes them much more comfortable than other options on the market that have annoying seams at the knees.
Approval for Competitive Powerlifting
Since these knee sleeves are better suited for high-level powerlifting, they should be also approved for competition by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF).
In fact, a lot of powerlifters get disqualified from competitions because of unapproved equipment.
Luckily, the STrong Knee Sleeve got their IPF approval recently because they meet all the requirements for a competition-legit knee sleeve.
What Others Say About the Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeve
I’ve asked some of my powerlifting friends to tell me what they thought about the Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeve.
The majority of users had a rather positive experience with the knee sleeves, agreeing about the supportive features that they have and how they can greatly help in adding some strength to heavier squats (especially when compared with other popular knee sleeves like SBD).
Although some of the users acknowledged that the product is pricey when compared to other options on the market, they also think that it’s well worth the price when you put its features and durability in mind.
Billy Buhler – National Powerlifting Champion
“The sleeves gave me more support than any other knee sleeve I’ve tried, including SBDs. In comparison, they felt more rigid. Plus, they have cooler colours”
Joey Simms – Competitive Powerlifter
“Slingshot sleeves have more rigidity than any other sleeve, including SBDs. While other sleeves may be more comfortable, if you’re looking to add weight to your lifts, there is no comparison to the Slingshot sleeves. Less give and more pop”.
What Are the Best Alternatives to the Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeve?
If you’re looking for some alternatives to the SLingshot STRong knee sleeves, here are some other options on the market that I recommend looking into:
The Titan Yellow Jacket Knee Sleeves are my choice for the best overall powerlifting knee sleeve. The main advantage that made the Yellow Jacket my top choice rather than the STrong is that it offers more durability around the seams, thanks to the X-Seam technology.
Here are the aspects where the Titan Yellow Jacket is different from the STrong Knee Sleeve:
- More durable
- Less expensive
The Mava Sport Knee Sleeve is commonly known for being the budget-friendly option of the market, coming at a price fraction of what some other options might cost you.
The 3 mm compression sleeve is ideal for cardio and working out at home. It’s also popular for everyday use for keeping the knees warm without restricting their motion.
Here are the aspects where the Mava Sports Knee Sleeve is different from the STrong Knee Sleeve:
- Thinner neoprene
- Less durable
- Much more affordable
As you’ve probably noticed, the STrong Knee Sleeve is specifically designed for competitive and serious powerlifting.
However, If you like Slingshot’s product quality and innovation but you’re looking for a more versatile, the Mark Bell’s 2.0 Knee Sleeve might be exactly what you’re looking for.
This one uses a slightly different neoprene formula that makes it an excellent all-around knee sleeve for a variety of movements in the gym.
Here are the aspects where the Slingshot Mark Bell’s 2.0 Knee Sleeve is different from the STrong Knee Sleeve:
- Much more versatile while retaining Slingshot’s quality
- More suitable for injuries and warmth if you still need a 7 mm knee sleeve
- An excellent choice if you want to incorporate CrossFit WOD along with powerlifting
There you have it! A complete Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeve review that walks you through everything you need to know about Mark Bell’s best creations!
When it comes down to sheer support and powering through a heavy squat, not many knee sleeves on the market would compete with the STrong Sleeve.
The IPF-approved grade 3 neoprene is perfect for a competitive powerlifter who wants to add extra support strength by having an enhanced rebound action.
So, to sum it up, it’s a perfect knee sleeve for powerlifters, but not as versatile while moving for crossfitters and Olympic weightlifters.
If you like the Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeve, click here to find out more about today’s prices and more users’ experiences!