What are Elbow wraps for bench press?
Elbow wraps sometimes called Elbow Sleeves are tight fitting garments you wear on your elbows. Whilst seem to be less popular with professional athletes than the more mainstream knee sleeves, but if your lifting regularly in the gym should you be wearing them? Read on for a summary of a main benefits and to see if they could assist you in getting that next PB you’ve been looking for.
What are elbow wraps?
Usually made from neoprene and fashioned in to a sleeve that you wear over your elbows they range in thickness and of course in quality but they are noted for helping to keep you warm, help to relieve your aches and pains. They also have a role in helping your connective tissue to warm up properly to reduce injury and in assisting with oxygenating your muscles which helps your strength. They have been used by many of the great power lifters including four time worlds strongest man title winner, Brian Shaw who used elbow wraps to support his elbow joints and win the title.
What do elbow wraps offer to bench press?
Specifically for bench press, elbow wraps are reported as helping with increasing blood circulation which in turn helps to reduce inflammation from working you muscles to their limit.
They can help reportedly you to lift more weight in two ways firstly by focusing on your mind on your chest as you will be less likely to worry about your elbow joints knowing that the elbow wraps have given you that extra level of stability. And secondly adding compression to your elbow joints will make you feel like you can lift heavier by providing some extra resistance to your elbows.
Another role for elbow wraps is to reduce injury or help with a comeback from injury, any sort of elbow injury will be helped by an elbow wrap meaning that you can start your training regime sooner after injury than you would be able to without an elbow wrap.
Pros and cons of elbow wraps
The pros of using elbow wraps are to reduce injury, increase blood circulation, keep connective tissue warm, and increase stability.
The cons of using elbow wraps are that they can’t lift the weight for you, so even with elbow wraps you can only lift a little more than without, you can’t suddenly pile extra weight on just because you re wearing them. They can also mask injuries or weaknesses in the elbows and offer a false sense of security meaning you don’t take the time to improve your elbow joints and use elbow wraps to compensate.
Finally there is a trend of tighter the better when it comes to elbow wraps, which of course is dangerous and can cut the circulation from the arm.
Elbow wraps for bench press: The Verdict
The general consensus is they are a good idea, they can protect from injury and help you just get up to your next PB , but don’t wear them ridiculously tight or expect them to add an extra 20 pounds to your load overnight.
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