Are Knee Sleeves Cheating or a Great Hack for Stronger Lifts?

Knee sleeves are one of the many accessories that weightlifters adorn to perform their ritual weightlifting. Often, these accessories may be for comfort, safety, or just to look fashionable. In this vein, this article will …

Knee sleeves are one of the many accessories that weightlifters adorn to perform their ritual weightlifting. Often, these accessories may be for comfort, safety, or just to look fashionable. In this vein, this article will look at knee sleeves to determine their functions and answer the question, are knee sleeves cheating or for helping you exercise better? 

Knee sleeves

Knee sleeves are an essential inclusion in your gym outfits because of their numerous benefits. The accessory helps prevent excessive and potentially dangerous movements in and around your kneecap. Likewise, they can improve your body’s ability to sense its movements, location and actions. 

Knee sleeves are also excellent for improving responsiveness and blood flow to and from your knees as they offer excellent compression. In turn, this compression and its effects enable you to perform your knee-involved exercises with better control and stability. 

In addition, knee sleeves’ warming effects on your knees when you perform exercises like squats, leg presses, or leg extensions due to blood flow stimulation can help you reduce pain and discomfort while you perform the exercises.

💡 Quick Tip: In addition to knee sleeves, lifting belts are excellent support for your abdomen and can help you prevent hernias. For your belt, I recommend Rep fitness’s Lifting Belt

You can also use knee sleeves to accelerate post-workout recovery, as they reduce swelling and minimize pain. 

After learning some of the general benefits of knee sleeves, it becomes easier to answer the question, are knee sleeves cheating? or, indeed, weightlifting hacks. If you have decided to get one, you can get the Rogue 5mm Knee Sleeve.

Nevertheless, here are some specific benefits of the gym accessory.

Support for your knees

Many exercises put considerable strain and pressure on your knees, especially if you are working your lower body muscles. Because of this, your knees can use as much support as they can, and the knee sleeves offer this.

Weightlifters use knee sleeves to address pain around the knee region and offer vital support. This remarkable support is one of the reasons knee sleeves are widespread among Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters. 

Because knee sleeves support the internal parts of your knees, the support also translates into a better weightlifting form for exercises like squats, leg presses, and deadlifts.

📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: 7 Best Knee-Friendly Goblet Squat Alternatives

Reduce pain

Knee sleeves are also excellent for addressing knee pain related to arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other similar issues. This may not be a concern for you as a young person (if you are), as they typically come on as you age. 

Naturally, you are more prone to it as a weightlifter with all the stress you place on your knees. This necessitates getting a pair of knee sleeves. Knee sleeves are perfect pain relievers as they eliminate the extra stress from weightlifting pressure on your thighs. In turn, this enables better joint mobility and reduces stiffness around your knee joint. 

💡 Quick Tip: As knee sleeves help reduce the possibility of pain during or after a workout, the Abmat can help you perform essential stretches before and after a workout to keep the pain away.

Protection from external injuries

In addition to reducing pressure on your knees, knee sleeves also help reduce external injuries to your knees and their surrounding areas. Picking up bruises and cuts is common with weightlifting, especially if you are a heavy lifter. Wearing knee sleeves can help you focus on your exercises without worrying too much about bruising and cuts. 

Maintain body temperature

It is often the case that you get all sweaty and hot in the gym as you squat and bench repeatedly for hours. As a result, your temperature can climb slowly, making you more uncomfortable. However, knee sleeves prevent this as they can wick away moisture from your sweats, leaving the residual cool, helping you remain cooler and steadying your body temperature. 


A lesser known-yet-essential benefit of knee sleeves is assisting with your sense of placement or knowing where your knee is in relation to your body. This improves your form and gives you proper leg alignment when you squat during weightlifting or powerlifting.

With these benefits, it becomes clear that knee sleeves are not cheating and are definitely a weightlifting hack. Your form becomes much better, your ability to lift improves, and you experience fewer chances of injury.

Exercises that can benefit from knee sleeves

The leg press

The leg press is an excellent lower body developer and is the most common alternative to the barbell squat as they work the same muscle groups. Because it is a machine-based exercise, you can use heavy weights with it, increasing the need for knee sleeves to protect your knees from pressure and stress. 

A primary advantage of the leg press is that with the machine, you need not worry about the stress a barbell places on your back or falling with the bar, as the machine takes care of that. I recommend the Leverage squat machine if you prefer the leg press machine.

Barbell squats

Barbell squats are one of the most common powerlifting exercises for the lower body and are the free-weight alternative to the leg press. It involves loading your barbell with your desired weight and squatting with the weight and barbell on your upper back.

📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: Kettlebell squats vs barbell squats: Which is Better?

Squats are very challenging and require knee sleeves, more so than the leg press because your legs carry most of the weight and are your only support base during the exercise. In addition to the knee sleeves, you may also need a squat or power rack to safely and optimally perform squats, and I recommend the SML-1 rogue 70″ monster lite squat stand.


Lunges are excellent for targeting multiple muscle groups in your lower body at once. It is a common leg-strengthening exercise with different variations to include diversity in your workouts. Because of the increased motion during lunges, knee sleeves can help you reduce excessive movement in your knees to prevent injuries. The workout typically targets your glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, calves, and obliques.