Many bodybuilders use elastic bandages warped around their knees when performing squat exercises with heavy weights. Theoretically, the use of knee wraps is supposed to offer extra protection to your knees when exposed to heavy stress.
However, this theory has never been scientifically tested. That is, it wasn’t tested until recently.
A recent study conducted by U.K. researchers has focused on determining the effect that elastic knee bandages have on the squat biomechanics when performed by lifters with 80 percent of their one-rep maximum. The results were then compared with those obtained by the same lifters performing the same exercise but without the bandages.
The findings of this study have revealed that the knee wraps had indeed greatly improved the squat’s force production, especially during the decent. On the other hand, the use of wraps had a negative impact on the biomechanics, as it restricts the flexion of the hip joint. As a result lifters tend to take a more vertical position, with increased flexion of the knee.
As a conclusion we might say that the advantage that knee wraps provide is purely mechanical, resulting from releasing the elastic energy created with the decent. This effect is very similar to what happens when you press down and release a spring. The study has identified two major flows in using knee wraps.
First, they can damage the lower-body development by altering the squatting technique.
Second, they transfer greater stress to the knee joints as a result of both the altered position and the physical barrier at the back of the knees.
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All things considered, it turns out that it’s highly advisable to avoid the use of knee wraps, especially when aiming to increase your lower-body strength. Knee wraps could also have very negative effect on you knee joints, making them more weak and prone to injury on the long run.