Powerlifter Stefi Cohen is a record-breaking dynamo of an athlete—so when she opened up her gym space to a CrossFitter, it should come as no surprise that he tried her style of training. Cohen recently posted a YouTube video of CrossFit Games competitor Brent Fikowski trying out some knee wraps for the first time ever during a joint workout session.
“I’ve never done it before. Be gentle on me, it’s my first time,” Fikowski says in the video.
Powerlifters use the wraps to increase stability and power during squats to help rack up big numbers—something CrossFitters, who are more focused on explosive, athletic movements, typically don’t bother to use.
Before he gets wrapped, Fikowski discusses the workout he’s set out to do.
“I just finished up my Olympic lifting so I did some power snatch, squat snatch, some clean and jerk doubles, and then some clean pulls. Then I’m supposed to do some 5 sets of 2 front squats, so I’m gonna do back squats instead. Just, when in Rome!” he says.
“This is a treat for us powerlifters, you know?” Cohen tells Fikowski jokingly. “CrossFitters are like the highlight reel of fitness, everyone wants to be like you guys, and we’re kind of like the ugly underground ogres.”
Finally, Fikowski gets his knees wrapped up and hits the rack.
“It’s definitely harder to get deeper… That’s the biggest thing I notice,” he says.
He goes for another wrap, this time noticeably tighter for a heavier lift. By his third set, he’s visibly in pain.
“I’m not convinced that was easier. I never struggle with depth, but with those I’m like—that’s fine,” he says.
Brent also posted about the workout on his Instagram.
Unless you’re deep into powerlifting, you probably don’t need to be using knee wraps when squatting. According to a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, knee wraps can decrease quadriceps activation by almost 20 percent thanks to the elastic energy they provide. That’s great if going as heavy as possible is your only goal—but a problem if you’re trying to build muscle and strength. Even worse, wraps can also compromise the integrity of your knees, increasing your risk for injury, according to a study by researchers at the University of Chichester.
But if you wind up working out with a world-record holding powerlifter and she suggests you wrap up, maybe give it a try. When in Rome, right?
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