Table of Contents
If you’re looking for the best equipment to help with knees over toes training, look no further! Drop your resistance bands and get off the elliptical machine, rowing machine, or yoga mat, and let’s get stronger together!
In this blog post, we will discuss 10 of the best pieces of equipment on the market today to prevent or recover from a knee injury. We’ll talk about what each piece of equipment does and how it can help you achieve your fitness goals.
So whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been training for years, these picks will help you take your workout to the next level!
Where Did Knees Over Toes Training Originate?
Knees over toes training was popularized by Ben Patrick who is a personal trainer and founder of Athletic Truth Group, which provides a revolutionary new take on joint health and calls itself “personal training reinvented”.
This strength training is revolutionary because it directly contradicts the conventional wisdom in strength training, whereby you avoid any perceived stress to your knee joint.
He grew up much like many kids, loving sports and dreaming of becoming the next Michael Jordan. Unfortunately, he was plagued with countless lower-body injuries and knee pain which made his goal nearly impossible to achieve.
In many interviews, he discusses in detail how much he had to do for his legs to be able to even participate in what he loved, basketball. He spent hours rolling out, icing, and taking countless anti-inflammatory medications before setting foot on the court.
He knew there had to be a better way, and luckily for many of us, he found it.
Even though he endured many injuries due to his bad knees, he was able to attend college and lead his team as a starting point guard. The reason he was able to even take advantage of that opportunity was due to his discovery of reversing out knee pain (ROKP).
ROKP is the first and most simple component of knees over toes training. It is simply getting stronger by moving backward. Ben’s premise is that the stronger you are backward, the more protected you will be moving forward.
If you watch the movement of someone moving backward carefully, you will notice that each step has their knees going over their toes. Many athletes, like Ben, have thoroughly benefited from ROKP, and use it routinely as a warm-up for sport, working out, or daily life.
After his career ended, he was intrigued by his progress and vowed to find out a way to amplify this training to change his and countless others’ lives.
Ben has multiple programs utilizing only body weight, making it unnecessary for you to have a gym membership or more advanced programs where free weights and higher resistance levels help make bad knees a thing of the past.
The best thing about Ben’s program is that it is an affordable option for all fitness levels and can be completed effectively at your home gym.
The Main Exercises For Knees Over Toes Training
Fast forward a number of years and now there are a plethora of exercises within the knees over toes training regimen. The most common movements are:
- ROKP: While it was the first exercise used, it certainly has only gained popularity and helped thousands of people change their knee health. The ATG program recommends pulling AND pushing a sled to improve your overall strength in positions where your knee is over your toe.
A video explaining ROKP in greater detail can be found here.
- Step Ups: Step ups are a unilateral movement, meaning that they target each leg independently. This is important because often times when we have knee pain, it is due to an imbalance in our strength on each side. This exercise will help to even out the playing field and make your support system for your knees much stronger!
There are three kinds of step-ups used in the ATG system:
All three of these iterations are very important for athletes to master to get stronger VMOs, ankles, and feet. For a video explaining and demonstrating the three different types, please see the video here.
- ATG Split Squats: Unlike other split squats you lower your body (while maintaining an upright torso) until your hamstring covers your calf. While this may be difficult at first, it regresses quite drastically so that anyone can get started.
This movement is considered the gold standard of knees over toes training because it not only strengthens your end range of motion of the knee joint, but it does much more. It balances your leg’s strength because it is a unilateral movement and also actively lengthens your hip flexors, providing you with additional range to excel in during sport.
To regress this movement, if you have poor joint health or knee ability, elevate your front foot as much as necessary. Between elevating your front foot and holding onto a railing, squat rack, etc., you should be able to get into this movement and start developing your full range of motion.
- Tibialis Raises: Your tibialis anterior is a muscle on the front and outside of your shin that’s responsible for dorsiflexion (pointing your toes up). This movement will help develop this area if it’s lacking and will act as the first line of defense for your knees
This movement can be done with your bodyweight to start, with your back against a wall, your feet together, and your knees locked straight so you don’t cheat any repetitions. The closer you stand to the wall, the easier the reps will be.
Additionally, the higher your heel is off the ground, the harder each repetition will be. Meaning if you are starting out it would be easiest to remove your shoes and stand closer to the wall.
- Nordic Hamstring Curls: This movement is an advanced one, but it is specifically helpful for those who have had ACL injuries. The Nordic puts your hamstrings in a lengthened state while (eventually) bearing your full weight. This is important because your hamstrings have the same basic anatomical attachment sites as your ACL. Both attach from back to front and protect the tibia from moving posteriorly (backward).
If you watch the most athletic people on the planet, they can control their bodies down to the floor and pull themselves back up, using only their hamstrings!
The ability to control your own body weight, and have a strong hamstring in the lengthened state will help you prevent hamstring injuries, regain lost strength if you had a hamstring ACL graft (I’ve had two), and allow you to be more powerful while sprinting or single-legged jumping in basketball.
- Reverse Squats: Reverse squats are precisely how they sound. They work all of the antagonist muscles associated with the squat or good morning. They work hip, knee, and ankle flexion, and this exercise has been used by tons of people to warm up for squats and strengthen their hip flexors!
This exercise is done by laying on your back on the ground and using specific bands to complete this movement. Watch this video to see a demo of this exercise.
- ATG Squats: The knees over toes program does not forget the king of all exercises. That being said, the squat looks different in this program and deprioritizes weight over quality. This type of squat focuses on posture, control, and depth above all else. Mastering the proper form prior to moving ahead is key for this exercise.
The ATG squat can be done with a dumbbell, barbell, or body weight. It can also be utilized when completing either a back squat or a front squat. Watch this video for a demo of this exercise.
Best Knees Over Toes Training Equipment
If you had asked this question five years ago (2017), I think most people would have looked at you like you had cursed at them. Nowadays, with the rise of functional fitness and people becoming more interested in training for performance and knee health, knee-over-toes training equipment has become much more popular.
To be clear, these exercises and equipment are NOT an alternative to physical therapy, or working with a physical therapist, but they can help supplement and optimize your recovery from lower leg or knee injuries and even knee surgery.
Here are some of our favorite knee-over-toe training equipment:
- The Multi-Sled: The Multi-Sled is a great option to begin your journey into the world of knee-over-toes training. Much like Ben Patrick, ROKP is a great way to start seeing improvement in the function of your knees with a low-impact exercise.
The Multi-Sled is unique in that you can use it both for pushing and pulling, which will strengthen not only your knees and upper body but also your ankles and feet as well. Here is a video of it in action!
- Step-up Box Set: The Step-up Box Set, like everything in this list, is not required to begin transforming the flexibility and strength of your joints. That being said, it is easier to accomplish any goal if you have the correct equipment.
The product’s adjustable height and non-slip surface allow any athlete to begin bulletproofing their knees and ankles safely! Here is a video of this product in use.
- Slant Blocks: When completing ATG split squats or ATG squats, many beginners do not have the ankle mobility to achieve a full knee bend while maintaining an upright posture, like “Knees Over Toes Guy” Ben Patrick. The Slant Blocks help you elevate your heel, allowing you to get into positions you wouldn’t normally be able to.
The Slant Blocks are different from anything else on the market in that they are stackable and allow you to achieve full knee bends incrementally over time. They are stackable, come in 10, 20, and 30-degree components, have a weight capacity of up to 1,000 pounds, and come with their carrying bag. The whole product weighs 7 pounds, so it is perfect for those looking to get a workout in on the run.
Here is a video of this product in use.
- FAE Slant Board: The slant board, much like the slant blocks, helps athletes get into the deep ranges initially before they can do so naturally. The slant board can also help you challenge your calves and increase the durability of your Achilles tendon.
The FAE slant board is different from others on the market in that it is built to last and is much cheaper than its competitors!
The FAE Slant Board has a non-slip material incorporated into the design that ensures you stay safe while improving your health. The durable design is perfect whether you are only using light weights or whether you are going heavier as an athlete.
Here is a video of the slant board being used.
- The Iron Tib Bar: While body-weight tibialis raises are a great way to gain initial gains and protect your knees, a tib bar is one of the best ways to see objective strength increases in the muscles of your anterior shin. Make shin splints a worry of the past with this iron-made and economically priced piece of equipment.
Out of all of my research, this tib bar is the best-priced and is also one of the most durable pieces of equipment I have in my home gym. Take a look at the tib bar in action here.
- Reverse Squat Strap: One of the main tenets of knee over-toe training is training the reverse or opposite of the muscles that you routinely work out. The Reverse Squat Strap allows you to work out the exact opposite muscles utilized in the squat, therefore balancing out your body.
Ensuring you maintain muscular balance is crucial to staying healthy and improving overall athletic performance. Use the Reverse Squat Strap to warm up or diminish imbalances that you have developed over the years. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
If you are still confused about how this product is used, please watch this short clip to gain further understanding.
- Nordic Mini: The Nordic Mini is a revolutionary piece of equipment that is half the price of its competitors while not sacrificing the durability of its design. The Nordic curl is one of the best exercises individuals with knee injuries can routinely utilize in their workout regimen. The only issue that has stopped athletes, until now, is the setup of the exercise. In the past, you’d have to have a partner or use a bar or strap that wasn’t nearly as comfortable. The Nordic Mini makes those less-than-ideal setups a thing of the past.
The Nordic Mini is not only durable but also small enough to not be an inconvenience in your home gym. The portable 45-pound design allows you to reposition the equipment with ease while allowing you to reap all the benefits of the much more expensive competitors.
Take a look at this revolutionary piece of equipment in use here.
The best knee over toes training equipment is essential for those looking to improve their performance, reduce injury, and get the most out of their workouts. The seven pieces of equipment listed above are my personal favorites and have helped me achieve my goals as an athlete. Thanks for reading! I hope you found this article helpful.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on social media. I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading!