How Knee Sleeves Help Bodybuilders Stay Physically Healthy

The Right Knee Sleeve equipment can save you a lot of pain.

We constantly put our muscles and joints under serious amounts of stress with heavy lifting, such as those dreaded barbell squats. Being in the squat rack and under a fully loaded barbell can certainly strain the knees, but knee sleeves can actually be a great alleviation tool. As bodybuilders, finding the perfectly sculpted physique requires hard work and serious dedication, does it not? With that comes a sense of pressure, both internal and external, to compete and be the best. Lifting massive amounts of weight to see our desired gains, while also moving with efficiency simply starts to beat up our joints and can lead us down a road we just don’t want to go.

Enter knee sleeves, a great piece of equipment to provide for comfort and support for those valuable, and often times vulnerable, joints to keep us as healthy and safe as possible during those big lifts. The right knee sleeve will prove to be a useful tool as you seek to alleviate much of the load that those heavy lifts cause. And as athletes seeking the most for balance and symmetry, protecting your entire body equally seems like a no brainer.

Let’s take a look at knee sleeves and their role in helping bodybuilders really achieve success. We’ll talk benefits. We’ll talk finding the right sleeve. We’ll talk why it matters for bodybuilders. And most importantly, we’ll give you some amazing options so you don’t have to sift through websites to find the right one. Your answers are below so let’s get into it.

Best Knee Sleeves
Dylan Wolfinger Testing Best Knee Sleeves

Benefits Of Knee Sleeves For Bodybuilders

Knee sleeves have tons of benefits for athletes of all sports, but especially for those working with heavy weight and explosive movements. At the end of the day, a great knee sleeve will promote confidence in your lifts so you feel as though you can push it to the next level without hurting yourself, or something worse.

Benefits of a quality knee sleeve include:

  • Compression and comfort: Work to add nice compression with a comfortable feel to reduce pain and decrease swelling.
  • Support your muscles and joints: Knee sleeves will support your muscles and decrease muscular vibrations to help fight fatigue and improve athletic performance.
  • Prevent injury and unwanted pain: Protect those vulnerable joints from pain and unwanted soreness keeping you free from dreaded injuries (1).
  • Better recovery: By promoting better workouts, healthy oxygen and blood flow, and less lactic acid build-up, your recovery is even more heightened for faster bounce back.

Choosing The Best Bodybuilding Knee Sleeve

Like most equipment, choosing the best knee sleeve can be a challenge. Going into the search, having a rough idea of what you want in terms of size and level of comfort can help narrow down your search.

When it comes to size, typically knee sleeves come in 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm. A 3mm knee sleeve is typically best for those endurance athletes as it is lighter and can help with better movements. Those 5mm and 7mm knee sleeves are most likely more in line with what a bodybuilder needs for they are thicker to provide for better support, while still being functional enough to move if need be. A 7mm may be more for those heavy lifters, so getting into powerlifting territory, but a 5mm knee sleeve should be exactly what a bodybuilder needs for both support and comfort.

Other factors to consider for a bodybuilding knee sleeve are whether or not you want padding, which can add comfort but affect mobility, the type of material used to maximize comfort as best you can, and the fit in terms of how tight you want your sleeve to not restrict movement, but still offer a snug, supported feel (2).

Knowing When To Use Them

Often times, the question comes up of when to use a knee sleeve. If you are just starting out with bodybuilding, you most likely don’t need a sleeve for the amount of weight isn’t as stressful as it will get to be. However, if you have existing knee problems then a sleeve may be a good bet to help keep you as healthy as possible. You also want to be conscious of becoming reliant on a sleeve. Working on proper form and maximizing your technique without a knee sleeve can help prevent any of those unwanted injuries that may unfortunately arise and not keep you so dependent on using a knee sleeve.

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Bodybuilders & Knee Sleeves

So, for us bodybuilders, a knee sleeve can help us greatly. In terms of our workouts, we tend to push our bodies to the absolute max and having that extra support is something we just absolutely need (3). While we look to build a sculpted physique, fix any imbalances, and push ourselves to the max, knowing we have the tools to help get things done is exactly what we need to give ourselves the best support for all those bodybuilding wants.

The Best Bodybuilding Knee Sleeves

As promised, we wanted to share some awesome knee sleeves that are well-designed and can offer only the best in terms of overall comfort and support, and that is Iron Bull Knee Sleeves.

Premium 7mm knee sleeves, meticulously crafted for the discerning athlete who demands only the finest in support and quality.

Iron Bull knee sleeves are known for their thick neoprene material, which provides extra support and compression to the knee joint, but allows for a full range of motion and breathability. The contoured design of the sleeves ensures a snug fit, preventing them from slipping or sliding during heavy lifts, such as squats, lunges, or other leg movements. These knee sleeves are made with durable neoprene material, making them suitable for heavy use. They are versatile and can be used for powerlifting, weightlifting, CrossFit, and other heavy lifts. Iron Bull knee sleeves are available in various sizes, providing options for lifters of all body types.

Check out the full review for Iron Bull Knee Sleeves here!

Check out our list of the Best Knee Sleeves for more great products!

Wrap Up

Knee sleeves are one of those luxuries afforded to us bodybuilders for their ability to greatly impact all of our gains and offer comfort and support to any of our lifts. While we seek to improve in all areas of our training and performance, having things like knee sleeves can be comforting in knowing the more we lift, the more protection we indeed have. Check out a great pair of knee sleeves and see what this great piece of equipment can do for your bodybuilding goals.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Aasa, U.; et al. (2016). “Injuries among weightlifters and powerlifters: a systematic review”. (source)
  2. Machek, S.; et al. (2021). “Neoprene Knee Sleeves of Varying Tightness Augment Barbell Squat One Repetition Maximum Performance Without Improving Other Indices of Muscular Strength, Power, or Endurance”. (source)
  3. Sharif, N.; et al. (2017). “Biomechanical and functional efficacy of knee sleeves: A literature review”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.