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An Ace Up Your Sleeve

By Marcus | In Mobility | on November 27, 2013

I’ve had a number of people asking me about knee sleeves lately, such as the ones Holley is wearing in the picture above. Besides Holley, Ruth and I are the other trainers who wear those same sleeves. While I know there’s a lot of “me too” fashion trends within CrossFit, there are actual benefits to wearing these on your knees.

Now that we’ve entered the colder months, you may notice that your knees feel a little less spectacular when you first enter the gym. This is because your knee has very little fat to retain any warmth. Next time you’re wearing shorts, try this little test — put your hand on your calf or quad and then move your hand to your knee. You will likely feel a significant temperature difference as your knees will feel quite cool to the touch. You see, your knee has a liquid within the joint called synovial fluid. This fluid is normally the consistency of an egg yolk and its purpose is to reduce friction between the cartilage-covered surfaces in your knee during movement. One of the purposes of warming up is to make this fluid slightly less viscous to allow for the same cushioning effect during more vigorous activity.

Knee sleeves help you get a jump start on warming up your synovial fluid and keep your knees toasty. Additionally, they provide a bit of compression that many athletes appreciate. I picked up a pair based on this glowing recommendation from Mike Robertson, a well-known corrective exercise specialist:

Another great option … is compressive garments such as knee sleeves. These items are great for keeping tissue temperature up around your joints, especially if you’re taking long periods of rest between sets. I’ve been wearing the Rehband knee sleeves for two years now and I’ll never squat again without them. They really are that good. 

Around the gym, you’ve probably seen the classic blue sleeves (as pictured above) as well as others (Mike H., James, Troy) wearing gray sleeves. The difference? The blue ones are Rehband’s classic 7051 model which are 7mm in thickness, while the gray ones are their newer 7751 version and are 5mm thick. While they are a little pricy at about $80 a pair, they do last a long time (I’ve had mine since 2007) and are easily refreshed with a quick wash in the laundry. If you’re interested in giving a pair a try, they are available on Amazon although the cheapest price I’ve found is at Jackal’s Gym.


Power Snatch 3×3

4 rounds:
Run 400m
7 Curtis P’s (1/2 Body weight)

**One Curtis P consists of:
1 Power Clean
1 Right Leg Lunge (front rack)
1 Left Leg Lunge
1 Push Press

One Comment to "An Ace Up Your Sleeve"

  • James says:

    November 27, 2013 at 10:47 PM -

    Makes a huge difference in the squat movements! I also like them for pistols and anything that requires a lot of motion in the knee. They really do help with the warmth.

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