Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be very hard your body’s joints, especially the knees. From shooting wrestling shots, scramblings to submissions like knee bars, foot locks & ankle locks, your knees are under a lot of stress.
We break down why you should wear a knee brace or pad, which ones are worth getting and show you our favorite exercises to strengthen the knee.
Short on Time? See our Top Recommendations Here
Knee Pads and Braces help support your knees mobility and range of motion when training. They are not a magic talisman that will ward off the injuries that may occur to your knee.. but they can help!
For example a good set of knee pads can help soften the blow driving your knee cap / patella straight into the mats. This happens a lot during sparring, training and competition through errant takedown shots, passing and mad scrambles.
An example of these type of knee crunching mad scrambles is a recent Edwin Najmi match:
View this post on Instagram
Also a good knee brace should help support your knees if they are injured or tweaked. A brace is not foolproof but when combined with strength training and a mobility routine you can give your knees a fighting chance.
Types of Knee Protection on the Market Today
Generally Knee Protection can be broken down in the following categories:
- Knee Pads – Generous Cushioning over the Patella
- Knee Sleeves or Compression no Patella Support or Hinges & Metal Side Bars
- Knee Compression with Patella Cushion
- Knee Compression with Patella Cushion and Side Bars (or Metal Springs)
- Knee Braces with Metal Hinges, Metal Side Bars & Patella Support
- Post Orthopedic Operation Hinged Knee Braces
Compression knee brace, a type of fabric sleeve that you slip on over your knee will usually be a Cotton/Poly blended fabric.
For BJJ training specific knee support we generally will want Patella Support (cushioning over the Front of the Knee) with some metal side bar for to support with lateral movement. Wearing just a knee compression sleeve is ok but will not give you the added protection when training. With that in mind we will focus on knee pads, compression sleeves and knee braces that are ideal with BJJ in mind.
Knee Brace Construction – What to Look For
However not every knee pad and brace is made to be worn in training. Some braces include bulky metal inserts, hinges and bars that are not appropriate for training and can hurt your training partners. Other considerations are if you are going to wear the knee protection over spats or bare skin.
Compression Brace Fabric
Neoprene is a popular fabric component to a lot of the knee braces on the market. Neoprene is the same type of fabric material that is used in the construction of wetsuits (dive, surfing etc) It is durable, stretchy and firm but not very breathable.
Cotton/Polyester Blended is another hugely popular choice for knee compression sleeves and for good reason. The cotton poly fabric is lightweight, comfortable, moisture-wicking and washable. It is designed for maximum breathability and comfort.
After personally wearing both types I prefer to wear Neoprene if my knee is more injured, or I need more support AND I’m wearing the Neoprene knee brace over spats.
However if I’m looking for just additional support and my knee is less injured or healthy AND I will be wearing the knee brace over bare skin I prefer the Cotton/Polyester blended fabrics.
Additional Materials and Considerations
Besides fabric, other considerations are padding around the knee patella, metal springs or bars on the side of the knee brace for added support. How many springs/bars on each side of the knee (some knee braces only have 1 others have 2 for extra support). Washability and Durability because you will need to washing your compression knee sleeve or brace quite frequently.
Also we need to consider how durable a knee brace can hold up to the rigors of training in class day in an day out.
For this reasons and more we have selected knee braces and compressions sleeves that will be ideal for BJJ.
|BRAND / MODEL||REVIEW||RATING||PRICE|
|Great Knee Brace - Great Brand||CHECK PRICE|
Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support
|Another Great Knee Brace||CHECK PRICE|
NeverTap Knee Sleeve
|BJJ Specific Knee Brace||CHECK PRICE|
Shock Doctor Knee Brace
|Has more knee support||CHECK PRICE|
ASICS Wrestling Sleeve
|Can't go wrong with a wrestling knee sleeve||CHECK PRICE|
Baurefeind is the gold standard of athletic knee support. Baurefeind knee braces are made with cotton/poly blended fabric that is lightweight and breathable. They also include added side springs and patella support.
Never Tap – is a knee brace specifically designed for BJJ
McDavid Knee Braces
Great Neoprene knee braces and compression sleeves
Venum Wrestling Knee Pads
ASICS Wrestling Knee Pads
Volley ball knee pads