If you’re looking for a definitive guide to the best elbow sleeves for powerlifting and weightlifting out there, you’re in the right place. We’ve tried and tested hundreds of options and listened to customer feedback to bring you the definitive list of top picks.
Whichever way you turn it, Rehband sleeves come out on top. Their elastic elbow sleeves offer the best of both worlds providing a tight fit as well as good mobility. Consult our complete product reviews to read about their unique features and specs or compare the brand to other bestsellers. But before we dive right in, we should address a few important questions.
What Are Elbow Sleeves and Why Do Powerlifters Use Them?
Elbow sleeves are tight-fitting, elasticated tubes that are made to be worn around the elbows. They’re very stretchy and fit snugly because of the materials used to make them, usually neoprene or other elasticated fabrics. Powerlifters and weightlifters use elbow sleeves for a variety of reasons but the main point is that they can significantly improve your workout performance.
Benefits of using elbow sleeves:
- Increased warmth
- Greater support
- Psychological boost
- Protection in painful positions – Zercher lifts
With this in mind, here’s our definitive top 5 list of the best elbow sleeves out there.
This is an excellent sleeve for seasoned lifters who want guaranteed quality. It’s also a great option for those with elbow tendinopathies or other elbow injuries.
- 5mm neoprene
- Reinforced seams
- Patented anatomical design
- Available in four sizes
- Ideal for injury prevention and rehab
- Sold individually
Rehband is a top pick brand in terms of lifting sleeves and straps and its products are reliable and well-made.Rehband sleeves aren’t the cheapest, in fact, they’re at the top end of our scale in terms of price, but the quality is undeniable. Their sleeve technology is patented and users rave about the elbow stability, compression, and warmth these sleeves provide. This 5mm thick elastic elbow sleeve ticks all boxes, giving a tight fit without restricting mobility.
Their reinforced seam construction also maximises longevity, making them a solid long-term investment for serious lifters. They won’t come apart at the seams like some of the cheaper brands and can take high rep volume workouts on a frequent basis. The seams are also stitched in a way that prevents scratching and skin irritation, making them the most ergonomic and comfortable choice.
We especially recommend this sleeve to those who have an elbow injury and are in a recovery phase. Though these sleeves are great for any activity, Rehband works especially well in supporting recovery to get you pain free and back on track as quickly as possible.
They offer four sizes so take your measurements carefully before making your selection. Don’t forget to consider the size of bicep as well as your elbow when measuring, otherwise you might not be able to pull the sleeve up to the right height. To take your measurements correctly, Rehband recommends that you measure with a flexed and relaxed bicep and go for the middle measurement.
It’s true that a single Rehband sleeve costs the same as a pair from some other brands, but we think the quality and brand reputation make this a winning option for anyone taking their lifting seriously.
Hands down best budget option out there. Great support and ergonomic design which grips the bicep and forearm equally.
- Premium 5mm thick neoprene material
- Reinforced Stitching
- Great for powerlifting, CrossFit and bodybuilding
- Sold in pairs
- Machine washable
- Ergonomic design provides warmth and compression
- Not so durable
- Comes away at the seams
Far and away the best option in the budget category. Users rave about the massive support of these sleeves relative to their tiny price. The pair will set you back just half of what one Rehband sleeve costs, though we can’t expect the same level of quality for this reason.
Some users complain that the seam around the top of the sleeve restricts blood flow to the arm, essentially doing the opposite of what the sleeve is supposed to, so it’s important to bear this in mind when choosing your size.
We love the fact that you can bung these sleeves in the wash after a sweaty session and not have to faff around hand washing them.
The main reason this sleeve didn’t make it to the top spot in our ranking is that the quality just doesn’t compare to the Rehband sleeve. Though the brand boasts about its reinforced stitching, the sleeve is actually a little flimsy, and the support can come away at the seam, leaving the elbow unsupported and unprotected.
The cheapest of all the products in our ranking. If you’re looking for light, comfortable support at a rock-bottom price, this is your pick.
- Best value for money
- Moisture wicking material
- Circular pattern helps you put it on
- Available in 5 sizes and colours
- Great customer service
- Size chart not accurate
- Support could be better
- Not latex free (20% latex)
- Not machine washable
Users are going mad for these sleeves thanks to their amazing value for money. What they may lack in features, they definitely make up for in price. What you can count on with these sleeves is a good level of compression and light support.
These sleeves aren’t as engineered as some of the leading brands so don’t expect miracles in terms of recovery if you have epicondylitis or another elbow injury.
Putting sleeves on when you’re even minimally sweaty can be a tricky affair. That’s why the moisture wicking fabric of these sleeves is a great feature. They’re much easier to put on than thicker sleeves. Cambivo have really thought about this aspect in their product as it even has a circular pattern to guide users on how to put the sleeve on correctly.
The thinner composition of these sleeves means the support is lighter than some of the other options so those with severe stability issues probably won’t notice a huge change during their lifts.
Once again, the main complaint is about sizing, so be careful when taking your measurements. These sleeves are unisex so the measurements might not correspond to what you’re used to. Either way, if you do happen to get the wrong size, you can return them hassle-free and choose a better fit. Users praise the great customer service and rapid refunds provided by Cambivo.
A solid choice for anyone starting out in the lifting world and needing firm elbow support. An unbeatable product in the low-end price bracket.
- Good value for money
- Sold as a pair of elbow sleeves
- 5mm thick neoprene material with reinforced stitching
- Ergonomic design provides warmth and compression
- Comfortable and supportive
- Perfect for Powerlifting and CrossFit
- Not as durable as other more expensive brands
- Sizing chart not very accurate; small fitting
Scorpion Power Lifting have created a great, low-cost product here which rivals other well-established brands thanks to its inferior price. In general, users praise the ergonomic design of the sleeve which fits snugly over the elbow and provides great support. If you’re just starting out as a lifter, or don’t want to splash out on a pricier brand, these sleeves are a great option.
On the other hand, some users noted that these sleeves didn’t last as long as they would have liked, mainly because the stitching sometimes comes away from the neoprene.
All in all, we think these sleeves maintain most of the great features of other more expensive brands whilst managing to drop the price by about half.
An important thing to note once again is that several customers complained of small sizing, even when following the advice of the brand’s sizing chart. So, our recommendation would be to go at least one size up on this product.
A supportive pair of elbow sleeves especially suited to heavy weightlifters or those wanting a lot of support.
- Thick compression sleeves, 5mm neoprene
- Provide a lot of support
- Thickness provides a lot of warmth for the joint
- Sold as a pair
- Thickness reduces range of motion about the joint
- Not fully ergonomic
- Not appropriate for high-rep workouts
- Pricier than similar competitors
Nordic Lifting brings us a solid midrange option for heavy lifters whose main priority is elbow stability. These sleeves feel thick and supportive around the bicep and will definitely transform your lifts if you suffer from a lack of joint stability.
We recommend these sleeves for powerlifters who want to raise their game during training sessions and push their limits. The thickness of these neoprene sleeves means your joints will be warmed up and rearing to go immediately.
However, bear in mind that thick elbow sleeves do reduce the range of motion around the joint, as some bunching of the neoprene occurs when the elbow flexes. For this reason, they’re not permitted in most types of raw powerlifting competitions, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you beast your training to get there!
They’re also a great option for anyone practicing Zercher lifts where the barbell is held in uncomfortable positions and some extra cushioning is welcome!
Whilst these sleeves offer great support to the joint, the compression isn’t as good as the Rehband ones because the shape of the sleeve isn’t fully ergonomic. Some customers complain that the snugness around the upper arm is lost at the lower arm as the sleeve is too straight.
All in all, these are a good pick for those wanting a thick, supportive sleeve to help with elbow stability, but they don’t match up as well in terms of features for the price bracket they’re in.
How to Choose the Best Elbow Sleeves
To know which sleeves are best suited to your needs, you need to know what your priorities are and what benefits a sleeve can bring to your training.
Lifters want to keep their joints warm for the simple reason that warm joints are usually more mobile and less painful. The compression effect of the sleeve increases blood circulation, which may also speed up lactic acid clear up, healing or injury rehabilitation. We’ve all felt this, just remember the last time you scrimped on your warm-up and felt like you had double the weight on the bar in your first set as a result. Quite simply, cold joints just aren’t good for power output as they’re often stiff and sore. For best results, consider practicing yoga on the mat. This will help to avoid injuries in powerlifting.
Lifting heavy weights requires a lot of joint stability. If you lack this stability, you’re likely to fail lifts or even get injured. This is where the tight, compressing nature of the elbow sleeve comes into play. They compensate for a lack of stability around the joint and help the lifter maintain a stronger position. Having said this, lifters who want to succeed in their sport should also address this instability in their training and not rely solely on straps or sleeves to pick up the slack.
There are important things to keep in mind if you are considering competitive lifting. Elbow wraps and sleeves aren’t allowed in most powerlifting competitions, at least not for performing bench presses. However, they are still very useful when it comes to getting the most out of your training as they help to keep the elbow stable and healthy. For best results, make sure you track your fitness progress or optimise your trainings.
Here’s a lowdown of our top picks by feature. The best elbow sleeves for:
Seasoned Powerlifters – Rehband
Light support – Cambivo
Small Budgets – BearGrip
Elbow injuries – Rehband
These are our top picks for both beginner and experienced powerlifters. Whilst our favourite is the Rehband sleeve, you should choose the best elbow sleeves for you based on your training style and priorities. After that, kickback and enjoy your lifting without worrying about injuries or stability problems!