How to Use Knee Wraps

Here are a series of messages on how to use knee wraps.

Subject: Re: Directions for knee-wrapping

There is no exact method for wrapping knees, but I can tell you what is most common. Start about one full wrap width below the knee, and wrap up overlapping by half the width of the wrap. Wrap up as far as you like, and then down again as far as you can. Some like to criss-cross over the knee cap, its a matter of taste.

But most important is the tightness. Powerlifters want to get some help from the wrap, so they pull the wrap as tight as it will possibly go. So tight you can’t stand around more than a minute before your lower legs start to go numb. I see a lot of lifters in the gym who wear wraps for the whole workout. They can’t possibly be helping or even protecting your knees much, if they are so loose they are comfortable for 1 – 2 hours.

I hope this helps.

Mike Armstrong
President, Canadian Powerlifting Union

—————————————————–
Subject: Re: Directions for knee-wrapping
From: Peter Haase <peter_haase@Claris.COM>

I am assuming you have wraps like mine, which are cotton/spandex strips, about three inches wide by about 4 feet long. The material is the same stuff they use for jockstrap waistbands.

The wraps should be rolled before you put them on.

1. Sit down. You cannot effectively wrap your knees while standing up.

2. Extend the first leg so it’s basically straight. Relax the leg.

3. Take the first roll in one hand, and grab the loose end with the other. Put the loose end behind your knee, just below the joint. One long side of the wrap should be aligned with the crease in the back of your knee, so when you bring it around you have covered the lower portion of your knee.

4. Unroll the wrap around the lower portion of the knee, pulling it snugly (but not tightly) enough so that it holds the loose end in place.

5. Continue unrolling the wrap around the knee, being careful to wrap with an even snugness all the way up. You want to stretch the wrap somewhat – NOT all the way. If you stretch it too much, there won’t be any “give” and you’ll strangle your knees. Too little stretch and there won’t be enough support, and the wraps will fall off. (Not fun to have happen when you’re doing heavy reps.)

6. Unroll the wrap until it covers the upper part of the knee. You should “plan” the wrapping so you start at the bottom of the knee and end at the upper part. You don’t need to go too far down on your upper calf, or too far up on your lower thigh. But this is a matter of individual preference. Emphasize supporting the kneecap from below and from above. When you’ve unrolled all the wrap, tuck the loose end in securely wherever you can. I wrap in one layer, from bottom to top, but you could use two layers, bottom to top to bottom if you want to and your wraps are long enough.

7. Bend your knee a bit. Then stand up and try squatting in place. Your knee should bend reasonably easily, without restriction. If it feels like nothing’s on, then the wrap is too loose. Rewrap. If you feel the blood getting cut off to your lower leg, or if you cannot comfortably bend your knee more than 90 degrees, the wrap is too tight. Rewrap. Again, when gauging how much to stretch the wrap, pull it to maximum stretch, then shoot for somewhere halfway between that point and unstretched.

8. Repeat with the other leg, then retest again for proper tension.

9. When you’re done, re-roll the wraps so they’ll be ready for the next time. Periodically, bring them home and throw them in the wash. They get grungy fast but gradually, and after washing them you’ll be surprised how dirty they were.

Beyond this, you’re on your own. You will find you know better than anyone else what wrapping positions, and snugness, work to minimize your knee pain. Despite my detailed instructions, after a short while you’ll find wrapping becomes just another article of clothing you put on without thinking about it.

Good luck – hope the wrapping helps.

Pete

————————————————————-

From: TMccull230@aol.com
Subject: Re: Directions for knee-wrapping

…..Knee wraps are not only a necessity for safety they are an aid in squatting with heavier weights. Knee wraps accomplish this by adding a tremendous amount of support and spring to the bottom of the squat enabling you to train with heavier weights. Knee wraps actually help you get out of the hole. Training with heavier weights stimulates more muscle growth, which will eventually lead to new personal bests. There are many different brands of knee wraps from which to choose, so experiment with different brands until you find the one that best suits your needs.

How To Properly Use Knee Wraps: To get optimal results from your knee wraps, they must be put on correctly. First, start with pre-rolled wraps. The leg should be straight and locked out. Then start wrapping just below the knee and spiral upward about two wrap widths above the knee. If you wrap with a bent knee you will not have the necessary tightness, so make sure you are getting the wraps on tightly. You should have wrap left over by the time you get to the top of the knee. Use the remaining to wrap the knee for extra support. Tuck the loose end of the wrap in on the front of the leg just above the knee. Leave the loose end showing too. During competition this will give the illusion of extra depth to the judges. When To Use Knee Wraps: You should avoid using the knee wraps until you are doing heavy sets of five repetitions. Start out with an old pair and gradually add newer knee wraps as the weight goes up and the repetitions decrease. The heavier the weight the more tightness is desired. So obviously, you would wrap tighter for a heavy single than you would for a set of five reps. It is advisable to buy a couple of new pair of knee wraps each year. As you use your knee wraps, they will gradually lose their tightness. Save the old ones for back ups and to be used with the lighter weights…….

Good Luck!

Tom McCullough MS RD CSCS MSS
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Sport Nutrition Consultant
Houston, TX

———————————

From: Gitmon@aol.com
Subject: Re: Directions for knee-wrapping

If your goal is to reduce post workout pain from medium to heavy squats knee wraps may not be the answer. If medium squats are giving you a problem it may be that at some point during the squat you’re putting undue force on the knees. You might want to track down a competent strength training professional and have them assess your technique. Also, proir to squatting make sure you’re warmed up. When I squat heavy, I wear some neoprene knee warmers (there sold as “braces” but they really aren’t what you’d call supportive) and post workout, stretch and if necessary, ice your knees (the wraps come in very handy when icing).

Lest things be taken out of context, I should clarify my position on wraps. I believe that for the wide majority of lifters under most conditions they are not necessary. While wraps have become an integral part of powerlifting, their use (as well as all the other technology) is for performance enhancement. The wraps and wrapping technique are specifically geared towards performance enhancement. This type of performance enhancement has a very limited scope of applicability i.e. powerlifting meets (and even that is coming into question in some quarters). The catch 22 is that an effective wrap is supportive but in being so it removes stress from the joints and muscles limiting adaptive response opportunities even as it allows for the use of more weight.

If after weighing all the pro’s & con’s you still want to know how to wrap, here’s a couple of options including the one that’s worked for me and all the world champions (er, both) that I’ve trained:

1) Assuming you are seated, straighten out your leg so that your knee and foot are straight. If your were doing a competition style wrap you’d want to chalk your knees.

2) Start the wrap immediately below the patella, make one revolution (clockwise for the right knee, Counter clockwise for the left) of the knee then ascend, overlapping between 1/2 to 3/4 of the wrap width each revolution until you’re about 1to1- 1/2 wrap widths above the top of the patella.

3) Make one revolution directly over the highest one then cross down and make one revolution about 3/4 of the way down the patella, then cross up to just above the patella and wrap straight around with whatever is left.

4) to secure the end of the wrap. On the last revolution stick your thumb of your free hand in between the wrap and your knee. When you finish the revolution just tuck the end of the wrap into the space under your thumb and pull as tight as you want it.
5) to get the dang things off, just pull the slack end in the opposite direction until they’re loose enough to undo.

This may look familiar to some of you as I believe I got it from a booklet published in the early 80’s by Fred Hatfield.

The more pedestrian approach is to just go with a straight wrap, using the same landmarks described in item 2).

Hope this was a suitably exhaustive answer
Mark Hunter
Portland ME USA

——————————

From: acc@cee.hw.ac.uk (Andrew Clegg)
Subject: Re: Directions for knee-wrapping

I suggest any novice powerlifters should watch experienced lifters putting their wraps on, then practice what they saw (without actually squatting) until they get it right. It amazes me how many lifters still put the wraps on loosely, non-uniformly and with bulges of knee/thigh protruding through the wraps.

But most important is the tightness.
Indeed, there ain’t no point in putting them on unless they are tight.

Changing the question slightly, has anyone got experience with wrapping starting from above the knee and going down ? I wrap from
bottom up (as most powerlifters do ??), but one guy in the gym (450 schwartz – i.e. a very good lifter), wraps from the top down.

I did try this once and there was a huge difference in how the wraps felt. They felt *a lot* tighter, giving more spring, but it also felt incredibly painful – to the point of unsettling my mind and messing the form of the lift. So I returned to using the bottom up wrapping style.

I might try it again – for the next competition.

——————————

Steve O’Donnell wrote:

Should I be wearing knee wraps when I squat? They don’t look like they’d provide enough support to make a difference. I know plenty of guys that wear them for b-ball but are they going to help me if I’ve got a couple hundred pounds on my shoulders? I seen squatters use them but then I’ve also heard some fairly big guys swear by carnitine and HMB.

Steve
Use them only it you need them. If your knees start to hurt – wrap. If > not – don’t. simple. As your get older and/or use heavy weights during squats your joints may not be able to take the punishment anymore.
Before they blow, wrap them. Also, before doing squats do 4-5 sets of leg extensions to warm up the knee joint area. I have been doing this for the last 2 years and have not experienced any knee problems like I use too! good luck

Good advice!
It really helps to do leg extensions before doing squats. Two years ago i had a problem with my knees (no pain, but this damned
popping sound), i tried to do leg extensions before doing squats, and it helped. I’m also of the optinion, that you only should wear knee wraps if you are going really heavy or if you suffer pain in your knees. Those knee wraps raise the hydrostatic pressure in your knees, and allow to use more weight than without knee wraps.
Most people in the gym wear them all the time (even for ab-workout!) – how stupid.

——————————

Stefan ‘Shup Up and SQUAT!’ Roehrig – roehrigs@zedat.fu-berlin.de

From Andrew@hawkhome.demon.co.uk Mon Mar 10 21:23:07 PST 1997

In article <331FAC51.2155@psu.edu>, Steve O’Donnell <slo109@psu.edu>
writes
>Should I be wearing knee wraps when I squat? They don’t look like
>they’d provide enough support to make a difference. I know plenty of
>guys that wear them for b-ball but are they going to help me if I’ve
>got a couple hundred pounds on my shoulders? I seen squatters use
>them but then I’ve also heard some fairly big guys swear by carnitine
>and HMB.
>
>Steve

Personally I never use wraps until the last 3-5 weeks before a
competition and then only for the final few sets. As far as my
understanding goes, the long term regular usage of wraps can be
detrimental to the strength of the knee joint and the associated
stabilising tendons/ligaments, whilst regular squatting without wraps
can strengthen them.

Andrew Hawkins

From: tmccull230@aol.com
Subject: Re: squats and knee wraps
Date: 16 Mar 1997 03:05:54 GMT

Speaking of squats and knee wraps. I am a firm believer in using knee wraps
for your heavy work sets. After 17 years of using them I still believe there
is some factor of saftey in using knee wraps. Not to mention they allow you
to lift heavier weight, thus stimulating better growth.

Anyway, I was watching these two guys do squats the other night and really
had to wonder why they even needed knee wraps. In most gyms it is pretty
rare to see someone squat over 400 lbs, much less for reps. Since I regularily
squat in the 700’s, I am usually the only one in most gyms that dares load the bar
up with any kind of weight. So naturally, when I see 400 lbs or more on
the bar I get kind of excited to see someone else squat some weight for a change.

Well two guys the other night loaded up the bar to 180 kg (396 lbs). They
pulled up a bench and put on their knee wraps. The first guy got under the
bar and walked out with the weight. He slowly lowered the bar and then stopped.
Shit!!!! He only went about 1/3 of the way down. What kind of crap is this?

Well to my surprise, he went on to do six reps with this weight. All were hardly
1/3 of the way down. Geez, why bother? If you are going to use the knee wraps,
at least put on a weight that you can do to a parallel (or damn close) position.

Tom McCullough M.Ed., M.S.S.

From: lylemcd@edge.edge.net (Lyle McDonald)
Subject: Re: squats and knee wraps
Date: 16 Mar 1997 04:06:11 GMT

In article <19970316030501.WAA18040@ladder01.news.aol.com>,
tmccull230@aol.com wrote:

> Speaking of squats and knee wraps. I am a firm believer in using knee wraps
> for your heavy work sets. After 17 years of using them I still believe there
> is some factor of saftey in using knee wraps. Not to mention they allow you
> to lift heavier weight, thus stimulating better growth.

gotta disagree here. Even though you’re lifting heavier weights, it’s
because of the spring action of the wraps. Like saying that benching with
a major arch means more growth stimulation becuase you can heft more
weight. Nope, you’re stimulating the muscles *less* than if you did it
straight. As to the safety issue, I can’t recall seeing any research to
that extent but I haven’t really looked. And, wrapping the knees too tight
can lead to tissue death. I think it much better to train without knee
wraps and then pull them out for contest day (if allowed) to lift more
weight and nothing else. Maybe use them a week or two pre-contest to get
used to them.
Lyle McDonald, CSCS

From: Jason Burnell <jburnell@jps.net>
Subject: Re: squats and knee wraps
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 16:01:21 -0800

Lyle McDonald wrote:
>
> In article <19970316030501.WAA18040@ladder01.news.aol.com>,
> tmccull230@aol.com wrote:
>
> > Speaking of squats and knee wraps. I am a firm believer in using knee wraps
> > for your heavy work sets. After 17 years of using them I still believe there
> > is some factor of saftey in using knee wraps. Not to mention they allow you
> > to lift heavier weight, thus stimulating better growth.
>
> gotta disagree here. Even though you’re lifting heavier weights, it’s
> because of the spring action of the wraps. Like saying that benching with
> a major arch means more growth stimulation becuase you can heft more
> weight. Nope, you’re stimulating the muscles *less* than if you did it
> straight. As to the safety issue, I can’t recall seeing any research to
> that extent but I haven’t really looked. And, wrapping the knees too tight
> can lead to tissue death. I think it much better to train without knee
> wraps and then pull them out for contest day (if allowed) to lift more
> weight and nothing else. Maybe use them a week or two pre-contest to get
> used to them.
> Lyle McDonald, CSCS
>
The only problem with this is that the wraps (well, at least the good
ones) will change your timing a bit. The extra rebound is something
you’ve got to train with a bit or it may throw you off on meet day.
Personally, I don’t usually put the wraps on until around the 500 mark.
Thereafter I wrap. That way I can get used to the extra material arounf
my knees. Interestingly, to prepare for a raw meet I have gone over my
usual 500 mark with no wraps and I’ve ,thus far, felt no ill
effects…..do miss the rebound though….don’t miss the numb feet!!

Jason Burnell – http://home.jps.net/cburnell/deepsquatter.htm

Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 21:55:40 -0500
From: “Jim Mcgee” <jmmcgee@townsqr.com>
Subject: Strength_List: Re: Strength-Digest: V1 #675

>So what is this method on wrapping your knees? Inquiring minds want to
know.
>And congrats on the lifts.

Actualy I don’t think its a secret or anything. My perspective on knee
wraps was and still is very uneducated. I mean I bought some wraps, took
them to the gym and wrapped my knees on heavy squat days. It might not hurt
Inzer to include tips on technique in with the wraps. My wraps were pretty
loose, even came unwrapped on my first attempt. I was watching guys have
other people literally place the wraps on so tight that I was afraid they
were going to pinch their legs in two. One guy told me he could tell my
wraps were too loose because I wasn’t walking stiffe legged and I didn’t beg
someone to take them off right away :-)

My new found friend Robert, (Smith, sorry big guy), spoke very politely
after my squat and said I may want to try wrapping from the top down, “bass
akwards” I think were his words :-) Placing the first two wraps very tightly
over the “tendon of Quadriceps Femoris” acourding to Gray. You wrap down,
TIGHT, then back up and tie off just above the knee. I’ll give it a shot
my next cycle and see how it works.

I wonder if a person could somehow start at the top, wrap twice, take
the excess wrap under and back over the wrap and the knee, pull it TIGHT to
the bottom of the knee, make two tight wraps at the bottom and then work
your way back up. This would place a verticle, tongue if you will, under
the circlular wrap and over the knee and may assist in the mechanical
(fulcrum? I’m not an engineer) aspect of the knee. I dunno, just a
thought……the resident gurus on the list should have some wrapping
comments.

Thanks for all the positive feedback. Can’t wait to start my next
cycle.

jim

I saw a lot of different wrapping styles at the last meet I was at.
The way I do it is to wrap twice at the top, go diagonally across the
kneecap and wrap twice at the bottom and then back up over the knee and
finish around the top.
The wrap only crosses the knee in the front so there is no wrap to pinch or
bunch up behind the knee.
It seems to work fine and was shown to me by a guy who squats 660+ in the
82.5/90 kg class.
Just about all of the guys in our gym wrap this way.

– —
Bob Mann
http://members.home.net/bobmann

Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:34:04 -0700
From: “BIO-FORCE” <bioforce@email.msn.com>
Subject: Strength_List: Re: Wrapping the Knees for MAX

Not a competitive powerlifter but when I used to wrap
my knees, I always felt the best technique (for the
greatest mechanical advantage) was to;

1, begin the wrap at the bottom of the knee with one
tight full circle. then;
2. go (stretching tightly) to just above the knee,
crossing the knee cap diagonally.
3 make a full circle at the top of the knee then
4. coming from the other side, again cross the knee cap
on the way down forming an x across the knee cap. and
form as many (tightly stretched) x’s as you can across
the patella (knee cap) so that in the full down
position the wrap is maximally stretched across the
front of the knee exerting the maximum knee extension
capabilities of the elasticity of the wrap.

This technique causes the criss crossed sections to
receive maximum stretch as you descend and that stretch
imparts maximum mechanical force (of the elasticity of
the wrap) at the bottom of the squat where it is
needed. Much like the center chest section of the
Bench shirt when you are at the bottom of your bench.

Another key was to roll the wrap in a way that
prestretches it so as you apply it, it is already
stretched somewhat.

give it a try

Regards,

John A. Casler

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 14:20:04 -0700
From: “Linda Schaefer” <vole2001@ix.netcom.com>
Subject: Strength_List: Knee wraps….

recommendation: get a pair of titan signatures or sig golds. i like
regular signatures right now. and a pair of inzer wraps.

the one difficulty I’ve heard repeated with crains – they seem slippery.
otherwise they give good rebound.

I know a lot of people who liked marathon double gold lines, but that was a
while ago.

everyone’s on either titans or inzers now….more or less.

the Phantom

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 18:25:08 -0500
From: “Jim Hinze” <jhinze@vbs-net.com>
Subject: RE: Strength_List: Knee Wraps

I’m far from being an experienced lifter, but I have squatted in three
different knee wraps,

* Inzer Z’s
* The NEW Titan Signatures
* Frantz’s TP5000’s

By far the most explosive and tightest were the Frantz’s but there not legal
in all federations, the second suprisingly were the new TITAN wraps… The
only problem were they were not as wide as the Z’s and if you didn’t wrap
them extremely tight, the’d roll a bit. In fact, there a very close second
to the TP5000’s. The Z’s were third.

I know this may be blasphemous on this list ;-), but these were my personal
observations.

Jim Hinze
FFA-MFW Web site: http://www.ffa-mfw.com
http://jhinze.dyndns.com
Southfield, MI

Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 12:56:28 PST
From: “Dave S.” <davepgh@hotmail.com>
Subject: Strength_List: Re: Z-wraps & Squat Depth

I agree, they are definately more comfortable than any wrap I’ve ever used,
especially the z-wrap. My knee bothered me a little about 2 months ago and
I tried the A-wraps–they let me use heavier wts and at the same time
protected my knees. I used them for about a month and then switched to the
z-wraps as I got heavier.

The A-wraps wont give you as much rebound as the z-wraps but they have their
place in the routine–I used them for my moderately heavy workouts and then
gradually got into using the z-wraps. I also noticed using the a-wraps let
me get depth much easier than the z’s, basically they’re a lighter wrap to
be used with lighter weights. I used them for sets of reps greater than 5.
I don’t know if that helps just my opinion.

Dave

Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 17:12:55 -0500
From: “shawn spade” <shawn_spade@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Knee Wraps Question

Dan,
I just learned how to wrap the knees today (how to correctly). I will
tell you what I do and I’m sure you will get other opinions. Just try them
all and see what works for you.
I have heard that if you CONSTANTLY wrap your knees during training it
robs you of the very stress thatis critical to promote positive adaptive
tissue growth, including connective tissue. I would only use knee wraps
when your going greater than 80% of your maximum.
sit down. begin with the knee wraps already rolled up. With your leg
STRAIGHT start wrapping on the upper portion of your shin. wrapping from in
to out. (counter clockwise on the left leg, and clockwise on the right)
anchor the wrap by applying 2-3 layers on the upper shin, then move upward,
overlapping by half the width of the band.When wrapping around the patella,
make sure the wrap is a bit loose to avoid excessive pressure on the
kneecap. Apply the wrap tightly as you move past the knee, stopping on the
lower third of the thigh. Tuck the end of the wrap under the previous
layer to secure it.
The reason for prior to heavy squatting is it reduces the pulling
forces on the patellar ligament at its attachment to the shin. Plus it
feels springy. You will love the wraps just use them sparringly.
shawnspade
sidneyohio
p.s. I got this info from a book by Dr.squat Fred C Hatfield

Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 17:51:10 -0600
From: “Scott Shafer” <sknd100@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Knee Wraps Question

Dan,

While I can’t vouch this is the “best” way to wrap, its the way I do it:

1) Completely unroll wrap.
2) Grabbing one end tightly, step on the portion of the wrap on the floor so you can pull the slack out. Pull hard.
3) Roll the stretched wrap back up.
4) When you get to your foot allow another segment of wrap to slide under the foot so you can stretch it as well.
5) Continue until the pre-stretched wrap is completely rolled up.
6) Starting 1 wrap width below the knee, carefully wrap outwards (medial to lateral) on each leg, respectively.
7) Go up the knee with each wrap, making sure you overlap the previous loop by about half. Pull any slack out of the wrap as you do each loop.
8) You should complete wrapping approximately 2 wrap widths above the knee and tuck the loose end under one of the previous loops.
9) Begin wrapping when you are on deck, i.e., when the lifter preceding you is on the platform.

Notes:
–Wraps are not comfortable when used correctly. You should feel as if the circulation is cut off when the wrap is tight enough.
–Make sure you are used to wraps before you get to the meet. They change your groove in a positive way when you know how to use them. See if you can find someone locally to show you how to wrap and squat in wraps.
–Do not store your wraps in the pre-stretched state. If you do it will ruin the elastic qualities of the material. I just fold them gently for storage.

Good Training,

Scott Shafer
Converse, TX

Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 22:18:50 EST
From: TSteve4220@aol.com
Subject: Re: Knee Wraps Question

In a message dated 1/20/01 4:25:34 PM Eastern Standard Time,
eighty8z@home.com writes:

> What is the correct way to wrap? Is there a URL that has this info, or could
> someone give me a step by step walkthrough?
>
>
There are many ways to wrap. I use a sort of figure eight. I start below
the knee and do twice around. Then I shift to above the knee and do another
couple of wraps. then i wrap one on top, one on the bottom etc. until I use
all the wrap. I then tuck the trailing end in the front of the wrap. I also
don’t prestretch my wraps. I prefer to pull them as i wrap. Again a
personal preference. The best way to learn it is to have a couple of people
show you how they do it and use the method that works best for you.
Tom Stevenson
Wheatfield,NY