Whether squatting or lunging, athletes are told to the point of nausea not to let their knees pass over their toes assuming they add undue stress on the joints. But as Ben PatrickFounder Sports Truth GroupI found that the same pressure supports the knees, and increases strength for protection and longevity. Training that emphasizes this range of motion saved Patrick from surgeries and dependence on pain relievers, and he’s since taken to Instagram to share his vast knowledge.
“The understanding of training knees to toes saved me from addiction to painkillers and surgeries,” he adds. “These exercises allow your body to handle the stress at your own level, thus increasing strength for protection as well as delivering nutrients to make your knees last longer.”
Here’s your plan for pain-free knees for years to come.
Knees on toes exercises: the ten commandments for healthy joints
These 10 workouts can be modified to suit all abilities. Do each of them at least once a week, adding to a body parts or whole body routine for a well-balanced program and pain-free knees.
1. Pull the sled back
Load a sled with medium to heavy resistance. Fasten the upper body belts and pull with straight arms. Walk backward, “stretch” your foot leading back, plant the soccer ball, and then drive to advance each step. Start slowly, then gradually increase the speed until you exert yourself to the maximum by the end. 1 x 10 minutes
2. Push the sled forward
Going forward with the sled puts your knees apart on your toes, strengthening your feet and lower legs even more. Place your hands on high bars, with your hips slightly forward. With your back straight and your core engaged, drive through the soccer balls and push the sled in small, slow steps at first – then gradually speed up. 1 x 5 minutes
3. Poliken Step Up
Place a wedge over a step or weight plate 4 to 6 inches off the ground. the beginner, with the help of the starter, holding the edge; average, without the help of body weight; Advanced, holding dumbbells. Place the right foot on the wedge with the left leg hanging from the platform, with the foot flexed (as shown). Bend the right knee down the left leg, tapping the heel on the floor, then drive to start. 3 to 6 sets x 15 to 25 reps per side
4. ATG Split Squat
Place the left foot on a wedge above the weight plate and line the foot of the right foot away into a hyper-squat position, heels raised. Keep the chest elevated and back straight while bending the left knee down into a deep squat position. Objective: Restore the hamstring to touch the calf for a full range of motion (shown). Switch sides in each group. 4 to 8 sets x 6 to 8 reps per side
5. Dumbbell VMO Squat
Stand a little wider than the hips with feet on heel-raising wedges or planks. Slowly lower the knees, generating an external force even in a deep squat, the hamstrings touching the calves (shown). Stop at the bottom, then drive up. You will feel this in the inner thighs and VMO (teardrop-shaped quadriceps). Add weight to progress. 3 to 6 sets x 15 to 20 reps
6. Tibial lift
The first line of defense against knee pain is the tibialis anterior. It runs below the knee and acts as a slower for the lower body. Sit on a flat bench with ankles over the edge in a shin bar (or put in a calf machine). Grasp the sides of the bench and bend the feet toward the ceiling to raise, then extend the toes back to start (as shown). 3 to 4 sets x 15 to 20 reps
7. North hamstring curl
Start by kneeling with a pillow under the pillow and have someone hold your ankles on the floor (or an anchor with fixed equipment). Bend the chin and pelvis, keeping a straight line from head to knees while releasing the core muscles, buttocks, and hamstrings, then slowly lower them to the floor like a lever—trying not to break the shape. Use your hands to catch yourself when the hamstrings can’t hold (shown). Use the glutes and hamstrings (and push off the floor) to return. 3 to 4 sets x 5 to 10 reps
8. Flexible hip lift
Attach a light dumbbell to a ratchet-based shoe attachment, and hold it with your right foot while the left is on a weight plate. Bend the right foot, then lead the knee until parallel to the hips (as shown). Use the hands for balance (opposite arm swings, like a runner), then slowly lower to start. 3 to 4 sets x 20 reps per side
9. Back – foot – lift hip flexi stretch
Lay a pillow parallel to a flat seat. Stand in front of the pillow and bend the left knee, placing the top of the foot on the bench. (You can also do this on the couch at home.) Below the knee for a pad, then tighten your quads and glutes to apply strength in the stationary position. Tuck in at the end of leg days. 1 x 1 minute per side
10. The bathroom tilt position
Set the seat to a 45-degree incline. Place the bottom of the left foot on the “bench” of the bench, where it stops, with your leg and knee resting on the “back” of the bench. Hold for support as you step your right foot back, then release your hands and lean on the bench until you feel the stretch through your glutes, hips, and IT band. Keep your knee against the seat and the foot bent. 1 x 1 minute per side
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