Today we are going to take a look at the brand new Eleiko Knee Wraps for 2017. I had the chance to use this for the past two months for training as well as a competition and while these have been my everyday wraps, they certainly excel during competition. The new Eleiko wrap appears to be a redesign from the ground up and even touts the new Eleiko logo proudly. With their addition of a new type of steel in their bars, you can see the forthcoming Eleiko 2.0 brand coming our way and so far, it all looks to be good news.
Description from Eleiko
The Eleiko Knee Wraps come in a pair of two and feature black elastic with Eleiko gray accent stripes and Eleiko logo at one end of each wrap. These very firm, supportive, elastic knee wraps are one long wrap, measuring 2.5 meters or approximately 8 feet, so you can adjust the tightness to your preference.
The wraps are built with solid woven fabric with a tight elastic material. The thickness of the material allows for a good amount of stretch and the elasticity tightens up real fast. I have worn them in quite a few training sessions and ran them through the wash and the woven material and the elastics show no signs of wearing out anytime soon. You can always expect to get quality materials from Eleiko.
Simply put, they are durable and built for quality which is par for the course when it comes to Eleiko products.
Fit and Finish
Overall the fit and finish of the product is “nice and tight” which is fairly literal when I say it. From the overview of the materials given and their quality, when you put these one, they do not want to come off. They band your connecting tissues, joints, etc all together and are certainly ideal for those extreme heavy days. For those that like to wrap their legs with multiple passes, these you will find to get one pass consistently unless you are really casting your legs.
The Lifts & the Squats
As time has progressed, some gains, and some pains have occurred, I have become a frequent users of knee wraps during my trainings. I used to only wear wraps for Clean & Jerk and squats but nowadays, I also wear wraps for snatching as well. One of the reasons is not necessarily due to mobility but more due to use and years of training. For some honesty here, not everybody is going to have knee pain, but just like stretching and good recovery, we do the best we can to prevent bad things from happening.
I am a frequent unwrapper and re-wrapper of wraps when training and especially when competing. I like everything to be tight, compressed, with good support, and the feeling of a good rebound.
This isn’t a long wrap, but its a tight wrap. I can get one pass starting at just below my knee, around the top of my calf, and work my way up to my quad. So there is plenty of coverage but for those that like to make multiple passes, you won’t be doing that here. But then again, you don’t need to with these. The thickness of the wrap alone, when not strapped tightly, gives enough support and padding.
During long training sessions you may need to re-wrap your knees a couple times as they can constrict but I got them for the support in training and competition, not so I could wear them for an entire day like a pair of socks. Much like the sentiment already shared about Eleiko, this wraps are top notch but with the caveats I have discussed.
If you are looking for a thick, heavy, and very supportive material, these are the wraps for you. If your choice of wrap is something that is lightly wrapped around your knees and cloth like, I would look to other wraps on the market like the California wrap from Kilos not Pounds. If you want something that is worthy of competition or to keep you safe and secure during a max out day, these are the wraps for you.
Editor’s Notes: The Purpose of Knee Wraps and Knee Sleeves
Here’s a bit of general info you will find useful as an adjunct to Justin’s review above.
There are two reasons to use knee wraps.
- As supportive gear – Justin went over above for his training – As supportive gear to prevent knee pain when squatting. The pressure keeps the knee tight enough that things don’t get pushed around in a way that causes pain.
- For performance enhancement – ie: to squat bigger numbers. When the elastic wrap is tight enough around you knee, it provides a spring effect as you bounce out of the hole in your squat, substantially increasing your max.
Back in the 70s and 80s, powerlifters wrapped their knees in Ace bandages, and it didn’t really up their numbers much. Nowadays with modern wraps you can get quite a jump in your squat just by putting modern knee wraps like Eleiko’s on. Thus the need to specify now that meets are “raw” or “equipped”.
Even if you aren’t competing, there is some benefit to using wraps. For your heaviest sets they do add external power to what your quads produce, but the rest of your body still has to deal with the extra weight, whether to add as much force as possible in the case of your quads, or as supporting muscles. In that way upping the weight with the help of wraps still works to condition yourself to lifting heavier weight and getting the benefits from it.
However, don’t use them for every set if you don’t have to support an injury. Wraps take some stress away from the knee joints, and your knees will not adapt and become stronger if you rely on wraps all the time. The worst situation is if you always rely on them for a long period of time, and then you decide to try raw and you blow out your knees because they were not adapted to lifting anything approaching a heavy weight raw. It’s like a beginner lifter trying to find his max on his first workout, or a 35 year old HR manager joining the company softball team and thinking he can show off the skills he had when he was 17.
For olympic weightlifting, wraps aren’t used as often. Powerlifters are fine with the slow squat descent, but weightlifters have to quickly descend to receive the barbell in a snatch or clean. The wraps slow them down and prevent them from hitting the full depth to be able to catch the heaviest pulls (powerlifters don’t need to go as deep). The olympic lifters you see using wraps aren’t wrapping them as tightly as powerlifters and aren’t getting that kind of dramatic benefit to their max lift. It’s more to protect their knees.
You can get the knee wraps that Justin reviewed directly from Eleiko.
Knee sleeves are a different animal. Eleiko makes these too. Made of neoprene, they fit tightly around the knee as well, but you slip it on from your foot. Their purpose is mostly to keep your knees warm or help your knees warm up. Knee injuries often happen when the knees aren’t fully warmed up and you’re putting them through too much, like any body part.
Some lifters also say sleeves have a proprioceptive benefit in helping you align you knees better because you’re more aware of them. Some really tight sleeves can give you a bit a spring back up like wraps, but not as much as wraps.
A final note – On the topic of squats, a major form mistake that lifters need to keep in mind is what they call “butt wink” (the most annoying term ever). Catalyst Athletics wrote a very nice article on eliminating butt wink.