How to put your knee sleeves on properly

Putting on knee sleeves isn’t complicated, but it must be done with care. There’s a lot of pulling and tugging that happens when you put on knee sleeves. While they are stretchy, they can rip apart after a few uses if you don’t put them on properly. Here are 3 different ways put knee sleeves and video demonstrations that will teach you how to put them on without tearing them apart.

NOTE: This guide is only needed if you have sleeves that are designed for heavy lifting. They are meant to be very tight in order to fully support the knee under heavy pressure. 

1. Single Fold

For some who have tried different brands of knee sleeves, there’s a certain way of wearing some sleeves. Take the Tommy Kono (TK) knee sleeves, for example. Durability is a huge issue for some TK users, which is mostly due to user error when putting these sleeves on. The Single Fold method is an easy way of preventing that damage from happening.

Here are the steps:

  1. Turn the sleeves inside-out.
  2. Put them on upside down (and inside-out) up to just below the knee.
  3. Fold the top of the sleeve inside the knee. This should be the bottom of the sleeve and sit where the bottom of the sleeve normally sits.
  4. Then simply grab the bottom (top) of the sleeve and pull it so it is the right way up.

This method ensures that the sleeve is worn snuggly. It also prolongs the life of your TK sleeves and reduces the chance of tears.

NOTE: This method isn’t exclusive to TK. You can put on any sleeves this way, regardless of the brand.

This video by Steven Fex will demonstrate to you how it’s done:

2. Double Fold

The Double fold method is required if your sleeves are MEGA tight and won’t go on using the single fold method. There are only a few sleeves out there that will require this method, and the SBD knee sleeves are definitely the most popular of them.

Here are the steps:

  1. The sleeve is pulled upwards normally at first (not inside-out).
  2. When the bottom end of the sleeve reaches the mid-calf section, you fold the upper half down to the middle of the sleeves, revealing the wrong side.
  3. You then fold the bottom half upwards the same way. Basically, folding the opposite ends to meet each other halfway.
  4. Then you will be able to pull the sleeve up to the middle of your knee.
  5. Lastly, unfold the sleeve and move it into a comfortable position on your knee.
This video by Matt Kido, AKA Gokuflex below shows how this is done:

 

The secret to keeping the knee sleeves in great shape is to put them on without stretching them too much. The double fold technique works well with knee sleeves that cover a part of the thigh area, like SBD, because they’re long enough to fold both ends.

3. Fold Your Way Up!

You don’t have to follow the suggestions above step by step. The common thing between the two methods is the folding. Fold the sleeve from time to time instead of pulling it up all at once so that the sleeve retains elasticity and compression. This piece of advice is really valuable, especially if you’re using neoprene sleeves. Folding really helps when wearing thick, dense material like neoprene.

Brandon Campbell’s demonstration of how to put on tight sleeves (he uses SBD in this video) is only slightly different from Matt Kido’s. Campbell already folds the opposite ends inwards before pulling the sleeve up to the knees. It doesn’t matter where exactly you do your folding, as long as you can wear it comfortably without tearing or damaging your knee sleeves.

 

What about the Thin Knee sleeves?

Some knee sleeves like Zensah’s and Tommie Coppers are easier to put on because they are much thinner and more stretchy. Although you don’t have to, I would still suggest you use one of them anyway in order to extend the life of your sleeve.

Wear Your Knee Sleeves Right…

… and you will be rewarded! They already stretch to their limits when you workout with them. They don’t need any extra strain. Neoprene knee sleeves are understandably harder to wear because they’re thick and supposed to be tight. Folding them before hoisting them up is the way to go. And remember that by putting your knee sleeves on properly, you will prolong their life.