[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

From The Desk Of Clarence Bass

If you enjoy and benefit from our website and products, tell your friends.

Tommy Kono Knee Bands Test

Sore hip and once-a-month squats

It’s not every day that we receive a package from one of the most highly regarded men in world weightlifting circles, former world and Olympic champion and Mr. Universe Tommy Kono (see article 74). Enclosed was a pair of knee bands and a note from Tommy: “I would like you to use them in your workouts and get some feedback from you.” The fascinating story behind the knee bands was on a card inside the plastic wrapper.

The bands sprang from a freak knee injury Tommy suffered shortly before the 1959 World Weightlifting Championship in Warsaw, Poland. He won, but paid a high price. The next day he couldn't bend his right knee  enough to sit down. “From then on I had a knee problem,” Tommy writes. Favoring the right knee, he ended up with two bad knees (and later a bad hip). Unfortunately, he was never the same again. (He had to settle for 26 world records, 7 Olympic records and 8 Pan American Games records.)

After suffering through several years of discomfort, Tommy created a support “that worked wonders.” It kept his knees warm and provided support and cushioning. “If I had these knee bands earlier it would have prolonged my weightlifting career…I may have even won my third gold medal at the 1960 Olympics.”

Originally called T.K. Knee Bands, the name was changed when Bob Hoffman and the York Barbell Company (see Muscletown USA, article 32) took over the marketing. Giving them his highest accolade, Hoffman renamed them B.H. Knee Bands.

After a long hiatus, Tommy and Leo Falasco (inventor of Power Hooks; see article 51) have revived the original name and design “to keep your knees in top shape.”

 The Test

I was eager to try squatting with Tommy’s knee bands, but there was a problem. Shortly after the bands arrived, I developed a sore hip. I came back from a walk one evening to discover that going up the steps into our house hurt my hip. It was strange. Weightless squatting didn’t hurt, but going up stairs did. I’ve had a few twinges in my right hip from time to time, which I attribute to doing the split-style snatch early in my Olympic lifting career, but Dr. Jensen said my hip looked “really quite good” on my last visit with him at the Cooper Clinic. I didn’t consider the hip problem serious, but I was concerned that it might delay or spoil my test of the knee bands.

As it turned out, my worries were for naught. Both hip and knee bands passed with flying colors. The hip problem added an unexpected dimension to the trial and actually increased my regard for Tommy’s bands. Another factor delayed the trial, providing another bit of suspense: I only squat once a month while focusing on indoor rowing. (I alternate squats every two weeks with the straight-arm pulls demonstrated in our first DVD) 

Knee bands in place, I did my general warmed up, paying special attention to my hip. The hip didn't complain, and the bands felt good on my knees. So I began squatting with the empty bar, fully prepared to stop if my hip began hurting. Fortunately, it didn’t. After several warm-up sets with progressively heavier weights, I loaded the kilos I’d done for six good, but hard, reps four weeks previously. Things were going well and my hip felt fine. So I expected to do the weight without any trouble. But I didn’t expect it to go quite so well. I did eight full-range reps, in the groove and with power to spare. Once a month squatting (combined with hard rowing) was working and so were Tommy’s bands. 

The rubberized bands are comfortable, keep my knees warm, and provide a sense of cushioning and support. I've never thought I needed knee bands, but these feel good and I plan to continue using them. I don’t mean to suggest that Tommy's bands are magic, but they do make squatting more enjoyable.

Protect Image 

Tommy recently put the knee bands to good use in a surprising setting. He wore them under his tuxedo at the 25-year celebration of AsianWeek, where he received the Leadership Award in Sports along with Olympic diving champion Dr. Sammy Lee. “I wore them under my tuxedo because I had to go on and off stage,” Tommy wrote in an email. “Without hand railing I could have problems with my bad knees. After all, I had to keep my image intact.” He also wore them while loading buses from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. at the Honolulu Marathon, where he's been an organizer for many years. “At the end of 4 hours my knees were fine…a true test of the merit of the knee bands.”

Tommy says these knee bands are good, and they are. 

[We usually don't carry equipment, but have decided to make an exception for T K Knee Bands (and T K  Waistband; see link below). Knee Bands regular size (130 to 250 pounds) is $39.95 plus $6.75 shipping , and large (over 250) is $42.95 plus $6.75 shipping. If we have your current credit card information, including expiration date, you can order by email. Otherwise, please fax your order (number below), call us or send check or money order. For info and price on T K Waistband, Go Waist]  

Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail:  cncbass@aol.com, FAX:  (505) 266-9123.  Office hours:  Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.  FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and make sure to include the following: 505 2669123

[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

Copyright©2005 Clarence and Carol Bass.  All rights reserved.