Are Knee Sleeves Cheating?

Anyone I’ve ever met that lifts weights wants to lift more weight. In fact, most weight lifters are always honing their technique, wondering how to change their lifestyle, and spending a lot of time trying to lift more and more. And the deeper you get into lifting more weight, the more equipment you find yourself using, right? Especially knee sleeves and wraps, wrist wraps, and belts which definitely aide in lifting more weight.

In fact, you just as well admit it! Any equipment you use is going to enable you to lift more weight and lift it with a greater degree of safety. Knee Sleeves are no different at all — they are going to add pounds to what you can safely lift. To tell you the truth sometimes you’re going to find that people using sleeves and wraps are in a different division than those who choose not to use them.

How Do Knee Sleeves Boost My Lift?

Most everybody agrees that they lift more with knee sleeves, but why is that? Here’s what happens: When the sleeve is tight it is exerting a lot of compression on the knee to keep it in the straightened position. As you go down into the squatting position, bending the joint, the sleeve builds and stores elastic energy.   As the squat gets deeper, more energy is created in the neoprene sleeve or knee wrap and as you straighten your knee the energy releases as a force.

The tighter the binding, and better sleeve, the more elastic energy is stored and then released. The faster the decent into squatting, the more energy is stored.   So if you want more lift from knee sleeves you can either use them tighter, locate sleeves that store more energy, or descend faster.

Are Knee Sleeves Cheating?

Cheating is the receiving of a reward for ability or finding an easy way out of an unpleasant situation by dishonest means.

I am afraid there’s no real answer to the question at all? If you are wondering if you’re cheating your workout partners in the gym, the question is definitely going to be a consensus of opinions, isn’t it. If everyone is wearing sleeves or wraps, then everyone is getting the same advantage from the equipment used, right?

Maybe not?

To begin with, what if everybody’s not using the preferred Rehband Sleeve for lifting? What if everyone is using the same brand, but some are using a 3mm, some 5mm, and you’re using the 7mm sleeve?

Now who’s cheating when it comes to using knee sleeves?

In fact the use of knee sleeves to increase your lifting power gets even more involved when you consider that if you aren’t using them properly, there’s no advantage at all, and perhaps a disadvantage?

Whether you’re using wraps or sleeves to lift more weight, how tight they are is key to success. You want them to be as tight as possible! The tighter you can get them, the more elastic energy can be stored and then released. The more knee bend you can get when squating, the more stretch for upward propulsion. Experimenting with different brands is going to be the best method to finding the best results.

As you develop skill and confidence in your squat you will become more aggressive into descending into the squat. Generally the faster you can go down, the more energy explodes from the sleeve pushing you upward.


Whether you decide knee sleeves are cheating or not, they should add a little overall performance to your squats and lifts. Unless their worn super tight, you probably won’t even notice a difference, though. So if you want to cheat up a few extra pounds, get some good knee sleeves, wear them extremely tight, and as an added feature you will probably avoid quite a bit of pain and soreness in your knees.

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2 thoughts on “Are Knee Sleeves Cheating?”

  1. Hey I really like the article but I’m not a heavy lifter or anything really. I’m probably about 80-100 pounds overweight and I’m trying to exercise so I can burn fat/gain muscle. Im experiencing mostly knee pain during these exercises.

    TL;DR: will using something like a knee sleeve take away from my gains? Will it hurt the amount of fat that I’m trying to burn?

    • Hi Joshua
      They will not take away anything when it comes to either weight lifting or weight loss. If I were 80-100lbs overweight and lifting weights or do most any exercise to lose weight, I wouldn’t waste a minute finding a good pair of sleeves. They will help protect you from knee injuries while you are putting excess stress on them from workouts or from your own body weight. Here’s an article to explain some reasons why wearing knee sleeves are great for most anyone.

      Thanks for stopping by, good luck on your weight loss plans and by the way, you can find more info on losing weight under the Nutrition button in the nav bar at the top of this page.

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