Knee sleeves are really nice to have in your gym bag. Some days your knees are going to feel weak before a workout. On days like that, I wear 7mm knee sleeves because I need the extra “bounce” out a squat. I also feel more confident with something wrapped around my knee.
In the Winter, your legs will have a tendency to get cold in between sets (or if there is running outside on a cold day). I like to wear 5mm knee sleeves on these days because it just keeps my legs warm. I feel slow and sluggish when squatting and jumping with cold legs… knee sleeves can solve that problem.
And then on rope climb and lunge workouts, knee sleeves provide an extra layer of cushion between your skin and the rope/ground.
I treat my knee sleeves like I do my gymnastic grips. I wear them when I feel like I need to in a workout… but I don’t wear them every time. In fact, I do more workouts without this gear than I do with this gear.
So here’s what you need to know before going and buying a pair of knee sleeves.
Choose your knee sleeve like you would a shoe: are you going to use these primarily for lifting or for metcons?
If you need a knee sleeve to help you just lift heavier weight, go with a 7mm thickness. These are tougher to put on and are a little uncomfortable when just wearing around. The purpose of these are simple: provide additional support to the knee joint while giving you extra bounce out of the bottom of a squat.
If you need a knee sleeve for metcons, choose a 5mm thickness. These are easier to slide on and off in a workout but still provide the additional support most want. You will have no problem going for a run in these and feeling comfortable.
Rogue Fitness also sells 3mm sleeves, but I would only buy these if you plan on wearing them outside of the gym. These are a better option to wear all day, or when rehabbing an injury. They don’t provide much bounce out of a squat.
And I suppose I should add something about a 9mm for our strongmen and women. Many brands don’t even carry this option, but if you need a durable knee sleeve that will help you lift record breaking weights–choose this one. (PS-these are typically only for competitive powerlifters and strongmen.)
The top brands are Rehband and Rogue. You can’t go wrong with either of these brands.
I have two pairs of knee sleeves: Rehband and a different pair. I only wear the Rehband because the sizing on the other one rolls, bunches, and takes my focus off of a workout.
For what it’s worth, a few of our coaches like the Bear Komplex knee sleeves. As for me, I haven’t had good luck with any knee sleeve that isn’t Rehband. You can’t go wrong with Rehband.
Choose a 5mm thickness if you need a knee sleeve for metcons. Choose a 7mm thickness if you need one only for lifting.
And go with Rehband and Rogue. A sizing guide is at the bottom of every page on the Rogue website, or you can watch this video here.