• Knee Wraps INCREASE Joint Damage

      From Ergo Log

      Knee wraps may help you to use heavier weights for squats and leg presses in the gym, but regular use might not be such a good idea. According to British sports scientists, knee wraps alter how you move during a squat in such a way that you're likely to cause more damage to your knee joints.

      If you use knee wraps during strength training you can generate more power in your lower body. This has been officially known since 1990 [J Strength Cond Res 12: 3035, 1990.], but long before this strength athletes had worked out that they could do heavier squats by using the things. It's probably the elasticity of the material that helps.

      Little was known however about the effect of wearing knee wraps on how you carry out a squat. That's why sports scientists at the University of Chichester got 10 experienced male strength athletes to perform squats with [Wrapped] and without knee wraps [Unwrapped].

      They discovered that there was a pronounced effect on how the movement is performed. During a squat the weight on your shoulder not only makes a vertical movement, but also a horizontal one. Wearing wraps reduced the horizontal movement considerably, the researchers observed.

      As the weight was lowered [from a to b] the horizontal component of the movement decreased by 39 percent; as the weight was raised [from c to d] the horizontal movement decreased by a massive 99 percent.

      As a result of the reduction in horizontal movement, the researchers suspect that friction in the knee joint increases, leading to more wear and tear.

      This effect is reinforced because the knee wraps help the athletes to perform the movement faster: power increases.

      "We therefore propose that knee wraps should not be worn during the strength and conditioning process and that if an athlete feels that additional support is needed for the knee, the integrity of the joint is thoroughly assessed and treated rather than relying on artificial aid that could exacerbate any underlying issues", the researchers write.

      Charles Poliquin agrees with the British researchers' view of the matter. [charlespoliquin.com December 30, 2011] He also fears that strength athletes who always train their legs using knee wraps do not develop their hip muscles sufficiently.

      J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Oct; 26(10): 2844-9.

      Source: http://www.ergo-log.com/using-knee-w...nee-joint.html
      Comments 7 Comments
      1. TheMovement's Avatar
        TheMovement -
        Wow! being an individual that has had several knee surgeries and has been on the fence about buying some Im glad there is an article just in time. Meniscus tears in both knees and one torn ACL have left my legs weak and I am just starting to get back to notable numbers. After leg pressing one day my knee ballooned up and my doc recommended trying them out to aid in the hydro-static pressure of the joint. Now Im guessing that they should only be used on 85%-max lift days. Thanks for the info and if anyone has any other links to this kind of information I would definitely love the read!
      1. Torobestia's Avatar
        Torobestia -
        Very interesting research. I like how well you can see how knee pathing is altered with wraps vs. without. Without wraps, knees are coming out as you descend, and to reverse motion out of the hole the squatter drives out the knees further, and it's only when the squatter approaches lockout that the knees begin to come back in. With the knee wraps, the knees get driven out less on the descent, and during the ascent the knee path is simply the reverse of what it was during the descent - so there's no knees-out to initiate the concentric. How this affects things - I don't know. It might be described in the paper in greater detail but I don't think the detrimental effects were delineated well here.
      1. chestloids's Avatar
        chestloids -
        For those who don't have access to the full article, I think you should know this study only tested people who are unfamiliar with knee wraps. This doesn't diminish the effects they saw, but it's premature to make assumptions about long-term effects of using knee wraps based only on data from novices. There's a good possibility that lifters experienced with using knee wraps would produce different data.
      1. Falcongts's Avatar
        Falcongts -
        As far as I can see from the research and summary the findings regarding the detrimental effects on the knees are an assumption. I coach sprinters predominately and gym is a major factor in our training. Maximum strength with as little weight gain is what we try to achieve. I am passed my used by date in regard to competitiveness (over 40 now), but I still like to lift and train with my athletes. A few years ago I had to stop lifting because the pain in my knees where too much, I was starting to drop just walking down the street, had pain going up stairs but worse going down. I had MRIs done on both knees and was surprised to find out very little wear in my meniscus (normal for my age) and all ligaments intact. The diagnosis was knee not tracking correctly and had to go into a stretching rehab program. After this the knees improved but only to a point. I could squat but knees would get sore for a few days and could not do any running. I then started to use knees wraps, I wrapped to push kneecap inwards on both knees. Initially after squatting, no pain or reduced pain. Within a few months squats started to improve and knees where getting better and better. Two years later have no pain squatting and no pain running. However if I try to squat heavy with no wraps the next few days my knees will be a little sore. I am back lifting above 200kg full squats at end of season without pain and knees never get sore. I have a couple of older athletes that where having sore knees during training and now I have them using knee wraps for their lifts. Every one of them now has little or no pain lifting and they do not have any knees problems running. From what I have seen knees wraps have fixed my athletes knees and this has allowed them return to full training and competition. I probably should go and get another MRI on my knees to see if there has been any significant degradation compared to a few years ago, however if I go by pain and mobility my knees are better than they were 10 years ago. The above is purely my observation with my athletes and myself, I am only going by pain reduction and improvement in mobility and performance.
      1. Torobestia's Avatar
        Torobestia -
        Originally Posted by Falcongts View Post
        As far as I can see from the research and summary the findings regarding the detrimental effects on the knees are an assumption.
        I agree as well. I think it does at least establish that knee tracking is affected. What consequent effects this has is up for debate.

        Do you guys do a lot of work on the posterior chain as well as high-elevation step-ups or reverse lunges?
      1. VikingBP's Avatar
        VikingBP -
        Knee wraps are lifesavers for people with knee problems who want to squat heavy. I haven't met a single person who could say "man my knees were always killing me, but those wraps just made it worse."
      1. discobisket's Avatar
        discobisket -
        My knees already hurt, so I'm going to squat heavy. And make things worse. But in order to make my knees worse, I need to wrap them. Yeah that makes sense....
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