Knee sleeves are popular choice these days in the world of strength training. They offer support, warmth and can be very helpful if you have a pre-existing injury.

Because of that, the question often arises, should you wear knee sleeves to deadlift?

What are knee sleeves?

Knee sleeves are a type of supportive equipment that is worn around the knee to provide support and warmth. They are often made from neoprene material or a similar supportive cloth.

There are a few different reasons why someone might wear knee sleeves when deadlifting. The first is to support for the knee. Knee sleeves can help to stabilize the joint and protect it from injury.

Another reason to use knee sleeves is so the knee joint stays warm. This is especially important if you lift in a cold gym or if you have any kind of joint pain that is aggravated by cold.

Finally, some people just find that using knee sleeves makes them feel more comfortable when lifting. There is no right or wrong answer here, it is simply a matter of personal preference.


Should you wear knee sleeves to deadlift?

Knee sleeves aren’t commonly worn in deadlifting, but there’s nothing saying you can’t use them.

If you feel like you need the support or warmth they offer, go ahead and give them a try. Otherwise, don’t worry about it too much – they’re not essential for a good lift.

Benefits of using knee sleeves to deadlift

Thinking of giving them a try? There are a few advantages of using knee sleeves to deadlift.

Injury prevention

Knee sleeves can help to prevent injuries by providing warmth and support to the knee. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing joint conditions that could be aggravated by lifting.

Similarly, wearing knee sleeves can also improve your performance by increasing blood flow to the muscles around the knee. This can help you achieve better form and technique, improving your overall strength.

Added stability from joint compression

If you use your knee sleeves over your knee joint when deadlifting, you’ll gain the benefit of the compression from the sleeves. This can offer greater stability, particularly if you’re working with a prior injury, and it can help give you the confidence to attack heavier weights.

You can use them to protect your shins

As we mentioned above, it’s not common to use knee sleeves to deadlift. However, for those that do, one way to do it is to use your sleeves over your knee joint between sets and then pull your sleeves down over your shins when it’s time to lift.

Your deadlift will be the most mechanically sound if you pull the barbell as close to your body as possible. Of course, this can result in some road rash on your shin from the bar knurling, so this can help to protect your shins from scrapes and bumps.

Drawbacks of wearing knee sleeves to deadlift

There are a few things to keep in mind before you strap on your knee sleeves and hit the deadlift platform.

Your sleeves can catch on the barbell

A great deadlift should track as closely as possible to your body on the way up. If your knee sleeves are loose or baggy, they can catch on the bar as you deadlift.

It’s an annoying thing to deal with, and when working with heavy loads, the margin of error is razor thin. If one quick snag on a sleeve might disrupt your attempt, it might be best avoid wearing sleeves.

It can feel awkward

If you’re not used to wearing compression gear, it can take some time to get used to the feeling of knee sleeves. They can be constricting and may cause discomfort if they’re too tight.

This is especially true if you deadlift with the sumo technique. In this case, you’ll want to make sure that your knee sleeves aren’t so tight that they impede your range of motion.

You cannot wear them over your shins in competition

In some powerlifting federations, wearing compression gear over your shin is not allowed in competition. If you’re hoping to compete in the future, keep this in mind and train without knee sleeves if this is the case.

Benefits of deadlifting with a thinner knee sleeve

If you choose to wear knee sleeves to deadlift, it’s typically better to wear a thinner knee sleeve. This is because you want the knee sleeve to offer support and warmth, but you don’t want it to interfere with your mechanics.

A thicker knee sleeve can be more constricting and make it difficult to achieve proper form. It can also be more likely to catch on the bar, disrupting your lift.

Here, sleeves like Rehbands can be a good choice, while it’ll be better to save your SBDs for squats.

What about knee wraps? Understanding the difference between knee sleeves and knee wraps

Knee wraps are made of a stiff, elastic material that is wrapped around the knee to add support and stability. They are commonly used in powerlifting for the squats.

The main difference between knee wraps and knee sleeves is the level of support they provide. Knee sleeves offer compression, but they do not provide the same level of support as knee wraps.

Knee wraps are much more binding than knee sleeves, and as such, they can be difficult to adjust if they are too tight. They can also make it difficult to achieve proper form and technique.

Should you wear knee wraps to deadlift?

For the reason we outlined above, it isn’t advisable to wear knee wraps to deadlift. The level of support they provide can interfere with proper form, and they are more likely to catch on the bar.

If you’re looking for extra support for your knees, it’s better to stick with knee sleeves. If you choose to wear knee wraps, save them for your squats.


Whether or not you should wear knee sleeves to deadlift comes down to personal preference. They can offer some benefits, but they also have some drawbacks.

If you decide to wear knee sleeves, make sure that they are thin and don’t interfere with your range of motion. And, as always, focus on proper form and technique first and foremost.