At the beginning it is worth clarifying that various accessories can be put on your knees.
The main ones are cuffs, stabilizers, bands (eg neoprene), which gently hold the structure of the joint, additionally increase the temperature during exercise, which protects against injuries, shortens the warm-up, etc. It is a form of compression and thermal therapy. This type of equipment is allowed in powerlifting games played as RAW (raw – i.e. without equipment), because it does not increase the performance in squats. We also classify squats with the belt to RAW.
The second group are protectors, you can say kinetic, protecting the knee from abrasions and bumps (they can be, for example, neoprene, cotton, etc.) In some aspects a similar role can be played by volleyball knee protectors, available for a small amount in almost every sports store (traditional or online). This type of equipment is strongly recommended for people planning an adventure with wrestling, lut-livre, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, sambo or krav maga next to the gym. In styles based on shanks, protectors will be useful when bringing to the ground and fighting on the ground (especially from the knees). The abrasion of the knees and elbows is a frequent ill problem affecting the grapplers. Equally often, these people complain about ear damage (so-called cauliflower, liquid collagen and pinch deformities). In sports based on impacts, e.g. Thai boxing, kickboxing, the knee protector can be useful for sparring, because unfortunate collisions and kicks are very common there.
The third group of products I wanted to write about are knee-length bandages, knee wraps, which increase the performance in the squats (back and front). For example, these are products from INZER and TITAN. Individual models differ in durability, support characteristics, stiffness – the selection requires experience. In order for the bandage to fulfill its role, it should be tied to a maximum, so it is often used for special folding (self-healing). The bandage is very uncomfortable, it limits or blocks blood circulation. However, the question arises whether this type of equipment is suitable for a bodybuilder? Similar types of bandages are often used by strongmen, bodybuilders. Karlsen used bandages for front squats and squats on the gantry. Coleman likewise – for different versions of squats and for breaking records in leg-lifting on a crane. In a powerlifting competition, the use of bandages is part of the equipment, like the deadlift costume, squat suit or t-shirt (special, super durable, sometimes multi-layer t-shirt allowing to increase the score by as much as several dozen kg – for some people more, for some less).
For a bodybuilder, bandages are not necessary – you do not have to beat records in squats, just do the job to shape the quadriceps muscle of the thigh. Ronnie Coleman paid for his craziness in a series of operations had four back surgeries, neck surgery and replacement of both hip joints! 3 The last problem – some tests (as in 2012 from 1.2) indicate that bandages for squats change the barbell movement path during squats, increase internal loads, can lead to knee joint damage. The men performed squats with 80% of the maximum weight, the maximum weight was 160.5 ± 18.4 kg for men, so the working load was 128 kg – 6 approaches, 3 with bandages, 3 without. When using bandages, the eccentric motion phase (descent) men performed 45% faster compared to the RAW version (in bandages the eccentric phase lasted 1.13 seconds, with no bandages of 1.57 seconds). Also, the standing up phase (concentric) was a bit faster for competitors using bandages. The higher speed of movement also translates into greater forces created inside the joint. The body during squats does not perform only vertical and horizontal movement. The use of bandages meant that horizontal barbell movement was reduced by as much as 39% in the eccentric phase and by 99% during getting up!
Final applications Bandages are not necessary for a bodybuilder, people looking for challenges can acquire them, remembering that bandages reduce muscle work, change the technique of sit-ups and can cause excessive overload in the knee joint.
You can read also: Why should you train legs?