"You're Getting Old"! No one wants to hear this inevitable truth. Fact is the body will begin to break down in some places faster than others. There are some things you can do to help get you over the hump and make training bearable. Knee sleeves during lower body lifting was shown to me by my graduate assistant mentor Coach Leo Seitz. He explained the benefits of having the knee sleeves to keep everything tight and warm though out the movements.
As a Twenty-Something, I felt like I might as well start wrapping the barbell with a pad during squats. But after giving it some thought, I'd like to keep my knees healthy and sleeves don't add much weight in relation to maximal weights so, so why not? I started with cheap knee sleeves and ended with Tommy Kono's. These got good reviews and priced at about $50 for the pair. The TK Bands are well made neoprene sleeves that slip over the knee. The TK emblem should be over the knee to give you a guide as to how high they need to go.
- Materials-The sleeves are made with good materials but a little suspect at the seams. My current TK's have lasted about 2 years so they are showing some wear and tear. The inside material is excellent for keeping your knees warm and the tightness keeps everything together without impeding knee bend.
- Effectiveness-I purchased the knee bands to keep my knees healthy during heavy lifting and they met my expectations. For about $50 you can step it up from some cheap things that will tear within a couple of weeks. After heavy lifting my knees felt great and the real test was the next day. No soreness or discomfort at all.
- Portability- Before having my own garage gym I would lug all my stuff to a commercial location. Carrying a bunch of extra equipment was a pain in the ass so most stuff never made it. Ever try to show up with a foam roller. I did. The TK's can be thrown in your bag or even worn to the gym. No excuse for not having a little extra support.
- Slippage-As tight as the sleeves fit and hold with the neoprene grabbing the knee, they fall more than I like. In my opinion adjusting them became annoying. After every set I'd have to pull them back up. If you ask my brother Big Lou a big thumbs down just because of them slipping and his TK's received a fatal tear from picking them up. Maybe a different material on the inside at the top and bottom could keep them in place.
- Construction-The material were well made but pulling them all fell short. The two places that went first were the back seam that runs back of the knee and the front near the knee bend. Some extra sewing and reinforcing near these spots would help tremendously.
- Putting them on-The part of the bands that helps the most also makes it pretty hard to put them on. The inside of the sleeve grabs on the skin so just pulling them straight up is not an option. You must fold it down in half cutting the surface area of the neoprene pull up and unfold. I had to search around the internet on forums for some tips and this technique helped the most.
Final Say-I got the most out of my Kono's and would recommend them as the next step from basic sleeves. You will get your money's worth but be prepared for the inconvenience of adjusting them regularly. Mine lasted for a long time and got the job done. Also I think the only way to order them is online so try and get the size right the first time to save the hassle or exchanging. I weigh about 205-210 and the mediums fit perfect.