Buying Guide: How to choose the best elbow sleeves & braces for weightlifting, gym and fitness sports? List 2021

Choosing a piece that can cover all your needs is not an easy task. First you must evaluate certain elements that will help you make a beneficial choice. Compression sports elbow sleeves for weightlifting, gym and fitness are not just any piece of clothing, so choosing carefully will be part of the first steps in making your purchase.

Knowing what a compression sports elbow brace is, what it is for, when it is necessary to use it and even what its characteristics are, are some of the points to be addressed so that you can make the perfect choice and enjoy the greatest possible use.

What are the most common elbow injuries when weightlifting and powerlifting?

Weightlifting is a sport that involves weightlifting. When these types of weightlifting are performed, injuries often occur in the elbow due to poor movement, lack of warm-up and even not having the basic knowledge of how to use the elements.

In this sense, the most common elbow injuries when performing the aforementioned practices are:

Tendonitis of the elbow

This can be described as an inflammation in the tendons that attach muscles of the forearm to the outside of the elbow. This is an injury that occurs when repeated movements are performed constantly. It can lead to severe pain and tenderness in the area, which would not allow physical activity until there is full recovery.

Weightlifting is not an activity to be taken lightly, because it can affect the elbow tendons when the exercise is performed incorrectly. It happens because extra stress is placed on the muscles and joints. To prevent elbow tendonitis from these practices, it is of utmost importance to stretch, warm-up and even aerobic activity for a few minutes. It should also not be forgotten that the body has limits and strength capabilities should always be assessed.

Biceps tendon tears

It is the result of demanding the use of the biceps muscle, without considering the limitations. There are two types of biceps tendon tears: partial and complete tears. The former can be defined as a rupture that does not completely sever the tendon, while a complete tear is when the tendon is severed in two parts.

Weightlifters and strength trainers sometimes do not pay attention to the body’s symptoms, starting with a small tear in the tendon. The injury tends to progress to elbow tear, which is a distal rupture of the biceps tendon usually affecting middle-aged men. Simply put, if the tendons are torn, arm strength and movement can be lost, resulting in painful action such as: acute upper arm discomfort, cramping, bruising, pain and tenderness.

Elbow sprain

This is when there is an overstretching of the tendons or muscles and can be divided according to the level of severity into first, second and third degree. The latter is considered if there is a complete rupture. Symptoms are characterised by pain that can vary in intensity and even cause discomfort when making movements with the arm. Swelling may also occur.

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments, which are a band of tissue that connects one bone to another. The ligaments in the elbow are those that connect the upper and lower arm bones around the joint. When there is a sprain in this area, it is because one or more ligaments have been pulled or torn.

It is one of the most common injuries because, when a person performs activities such as lifting weights, and it is done incorrectly, with sudden movements or lifting too much weight, the mechanical exercise exerted by the arm can end up damaging the ligaments that give stability to the joints.

Olecranon bursitis

This case can be defined and at the same time described as a swelling that is usually very painful and occurs because the so-called synovial bursa, which protects the apex of the elbow, becomes inflamed. The danger is that it can become infected, which increases the pain and causes reddening of the skin and fever.

Rest and drainage of pus will occasionally be necessary if there is infection. If it is not infected, ice packs, compression provided by elbow braces and elevation of the area will be sufficient. Weightlifters and powerlifters may develop this injury due to poor lifting movements and even blows to the elbow during training, which may cause bleeding or fluid accumulation.

Median or sweet bone neuritis

It is caused by repeated injury to the median nerve, which is located behind the inside of the elbow. It can cause pain, tingling, numbness in the fingers and muscle weakness. When these cases occur, avoid putting pressure on the nerve and any activity (not just exercise) that worsens the injury.

When the person does the movement with the dumbbells or barbells, the arm exerts a force that can lead to injury if the arm is not properly prepared. Therefore, the weight load is totally suspended in order to avoid hitting the area and avoid further injury, because if it is very serious, surgery may be needed to reposition the nerve that runs down the arm to the hand and elbow. In this case, elbow braces will provide the necessary compression and support.

What types of sports elbow braces are best for strength sports injuries?

Knowing the type of injury is important to be able to make the final choice and recognise which sports elbow brace is needed. When doing strength sports, prevention is necessary and it is up to each person who carries out these practices to establish the minimum conditions such as warming up before and stretching before and after exercise. Strength sports require maximum effort, therefore, care and preventive measures must be taken.

The types of elbow braces for injuries when practising strength sports are:

Elbow compression sleeves

They are those that provide a soft compressive support to the area and serve to relieve pain that are related to tendinitis, sprains, contractures, also to help if there is instability and mild dislocations. They are usually comfortable to exercise in due to the usability of acting as a garment for prevention and also for the wearer if there is injury. Despite being a compression and support garment, they are lightweight, breathable and comfortable because they can even be worn under clothing if the wearer prefers. When doing strength sports these elbow braces are ideal because they provide the necessary security when performing the movements, especially if they are repetitive, without the person having to worry about suffering future accidents in the elbow.

Epicondylitis strap

They are used to prevent injuries when performing sports activities that require strength.  It increases the temperature of the area, i.e. it stimulates blood circulation, relaxes ligaments, tendons and also muscles to speed up recovery. The epicondylitis strap is a beneficial orthosis because it helps to reduce impacts on the tendon, functions as a support point, relieves pain and facilitates common activities with less discomfort. When a person does physical activity that requires strength, the repetition of movements can lead to injuries if the muscle was not previously prepared, if there was a bad movement or even due to accidents during exercise. For this reason, the pressure exerted by the band helps to support and provide strength.

What features should you consider before choosing the best sports elbow brace for fitness or weightlifting?

What features should you consider before choosing the best sports elbow brace for fitness or weightlifting?

Before buying the best sports elbow brace for fitness or weightlifting, it is necessary to establish priorities and understand that elbow braces are not a piece to look good, look more attractive or combine with sports clothing, but a necessary garment for prevention, protection and recovery in case there is an injury due to the force applied during practice. Weightlifting and fitness require dedication, perseverance and physical effort, but also care so that training does not have to be interrupted due to injury.

According to their function

  • Elbow braces for pain relief: Elbow braces should work to reduce discomfort and even prevent it. If you do sports activities, lead a fitness lifestyle, lift weights or do weightlifting, pain can become common while the body is adapting to exercise, but you have to be alert and distinguish between discomfort due to fatigue after training and when the area has given way due to excessive exercise.
  • Elbow braces breathability: If there is a point to evaluate for the garment to work, it is that the skin can breathe well, to be sure that the sweating of the area will not be a problem when exercising and that it will not be a matter of discomfort for those who have suffered an injury.
  • Protective elbow supports: Undoubtedly, a characteristic that every elbow support must provide in the life of those who do strength sports such as weightlifting, is the prevention and protection of the area. At this point, the aim is to evaluate that, when trying the garment, the person feels safe to make daily movements, that it is comfortable to carry weight and if it is due to discomfort, that it also provides the compression to the measure.
  • Elasticity elbow sleeves: This is an element to take into account because it will allow the person doing the exercise to be comfortable during the training and, beyond that, to be able to exercise all the movements corresponding to the practice. Those who live a fitness style life and do weights, need their elbow braces not only to protect them, but also to guarantee their elongation safety.
  • Compression elbow sleeves: This is practically the first element to evaluate before making the final purchase. A correct support favours the progressive recovery of the area if it has been injured. Compression is basically what also guarantees the other aspects mentioned, among them pain relief, blood circulation which is beneficial for the injured person and also helps in prevention. This is also where the material comes into play, because if it is not of high quality it will not provide the pressure for which it was designed.

Manufacturing material

Elbow braces are made of different types of materials depending on the needs of the individual, the training they do or the injury caused by various reasons. A good elbow brace can be designed in materials such as neoprene, velcro, nylon or spandex, which are characterised by their durability and elasticity, they look for the right breathability and also for being the best when it comes to cleaning and washing the garment.

For those who suffer from allergies to neoprene, they can use cotton as it provides a soft feeling and absorption to the skin to keep moisture away, which is what usually causes irritation and allergic reactions. When washing the piece, it can be hand or machine washed in cold water, it is important to take into account that the materials, no matter which one it is, must be left to dry very well to avoid humidity.

Type of support

Usually when talking about sports elbow sleeves for fitness activities and weightlifting, the fastening or pressure that the garment must exert is also mentioned, due to the important role it plays, as it keeps it firm and in the same place, also achieving a better and greater compression. In this case we can highlight neoprene, velcro and elastane.

  • Neoprene: It is linked to the support because the material gives pressure, elasticity and provides the warmth needed by those who wear it, this generates strength and security in the movements. It is strong enough to insulate the area from extreme temperatures or protect the skin, and is usually 2mm to 7mm thick.
  • Spandex: This is another material that has to do with the pressure that the garment must exert. It is a synthetic fibre that is characterised by stretching, strength and tightness. The benefit is that it provides more elasticity and has the advantage of drying quickly, resists sweat and is a durable fabric.
  • Velcro: It is par excellence a compound of the piece when it comes to fastening because it makes it much more practical.  It works as a kind of system that sticks together to close. Nowadays Velcro can be found on any item of clothing, from bags to many sports garments, as well as elbow braces.

Size

When it comes to sizing, the person must be very precise and careful not to use elbow braces that are too big, fall down, move or squeeze the area too much, because this would not allow the individual to perform strength exercises or recover from the injury. S, M, L and XL are the sizes in which they are mostly made. One size is also available, depending on the design, but it is important that they fit the area well.

Design

One advantage of the elbow braces is that they are available in different colours, although this is not a very important point, it is a matter of taste. Fortunately they come in different sizes and materials, most of them are unisex and thanks to their fabric they provide breathability, for those who sweat a lot during strength training. It is also worth noting that their stretchy design makes them comfortable for injured people who need to wear them for long periods of time.

Many designs have no visible seams so that they don’t rub against the skin. Others have anti-slip technology, which is intended to further prevent accidents that may occur while exercising.

Price

Costs may vary depending on the brand, design and geographical location of your purchase. But, we conducted a general study of the market, in which we evaluated the value of some of the garments mentioned throughout the article, from the lowest to the highest price. In this way you will have a broader picture of the options, depending on the functionality and the amount of it.

Do compression elbow sleeves for gym sports really work?

Do compression elbow sleeves for gym sports really work?

Compression elbow sleeves for those who lead a fitness life, lift weights and are involved in weightlifting and other strength activities definitely work and are necessary. Everyone who engages in these practices should think of prevention as a priority. But if you already have an injury caused by bad movements, lack of previous warm-ups or accidents, then you should focus on turning this piece into your best ally for care and recovery.

The benefits of compression therapy leave no doubt that its effectiveness guarantees first and foremost the safety of the movements and thanks to this, that the person is away from injury if they follow the correct guidelines for each workout.

Understanding that the muscle is not a machine, learning to listen to its limitations and assessing its capabilities is important. Between this and elbow braces, every person will have what they need to start or continue their sporting lifestyle.

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