A couple of years ago a surgeon told me I needed a knee replacement but he wasn’t prepared to operate until I’d lost a shed load of weight. I never really felt convinced that my knee did need to go, perhaps I was just running scared but accepted that the weight loss would be beneficial. Of course I’ve been losing weight most of my adult life (except when I wasn’t) and therefore strongly suspected a knee op was never going to happen.
At the beginning of the year I was trying to ignore my niggles and revive my love for running, this time with a dog leading the way. Unfortunately by week 6 of the C25K program it was clear that we weren’t going to be entering any canicross events until I’d sorted out my feet / knee / leg / back problems. I was shuffling sideways down the stairs to avoid bending my left knee and crawling up the stairs on my hands and knees for the same reason. It seemed a bit ridiculous to then lace up my barefoot running shoes for a painful jog around the park, trying to block out the plantar fascia pain.
So very recently I had a session with a Sports Therapist and Osteopath who suggested my knee was fundamentally ok. My kneecap wasn’t tracking smoothly (probably due to the arthritis) but determined that most of my issues stemmed from my lower back and other muscular imbalances. I found this remarkably inspiring and it’s given me the motivation to call a halt to what turned into a year long rest protocol. No one ever gets better by stopping all movement and I need to get moving again.
At this point I started to hear a buzz about the @kneesovertoesguy and went off to investigate. His story is really compelling. Multiple knee injuries and operations that wrecked his passion for basketball but motivated him to focus his efforts on rehabbing and ultimately bulletproofing his knees. If you take just a cursory glance at his instagram page you’ll have trouble believing that he also used to walk sideways down the stairs due to pain. A decade later and he’s a slam dunking superhero.
I would quite like that sort of turnaround for my own knees so I’ve investigated further. Here are some great resources to find out more:
- Medium – https://kneesovertoesguy.medium.com/
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kneesovertoesguy/?hl=en
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGybO-bWZ3W6URh42sdMQiw
- ATG (Athletic Truth Group) website – https://www.atgonlinecoaching.com/
Podcasts Starring KneesOverToesGuy
Ben Patrick (aka KneesOverToesGuy) has an online training program at atgonlinecoaching.com and my Experiment Number 4 is to spend the next 12 weeks working through the first (Zero) stage in his program. Hopefully I will be amazed by the results and will continue from there by following the next two progressions.
His program isn’t cheap. It’s about $50 a month but I signed up with a 50% code FRESHSTART2021 (now FRESHSTART2022) in order to see if I thought it would be good value. I’m only 2 weeks in but I’m going to continue at the full price. I could easily cancel and continue on my own as I know the routine now but the training platform is good and I get daily feedback from his coaches after I post my session videos and that is quite motivating as well as being super useful to get actual form feedback.
Ben Patrick is very passionate about helping ALL people and he puts loads of stuff out for free and I suspect he would be happy for you to take his technique and go it alone. So don’t let the price put you off. Watch his videos and start building from the ground up. There’s also a picture guidebook for the Knee Ability Zero available now.
Knees Over Toes Guy – Knee Ability Zero Program Protocol
To be completed 4 days a week, although I try to add backwards walking everyday.
- Backwards walking 10 mins
- Anterior Tibialis foot raise * 25
- Flexor Hallucis Longur Calf Raise * 25
- Repeat Anterior Tibialis foot raise * 25
- Knees Over Toes Calf Raise * 25
- Patrick Step * 25 each leg
- ATG Split Squat (when I can do the last stage without pain)
- Elephant walk * 30 each leg
- L-Sit Progressions – 1 min each leg
- Couch Stretch – 1 min each leg
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to walk down the stairs at the end of my 12 weeks, I’m also hopeful that me and the pooch will run again.
I’m wondering whether I could even put my knee pains so far behind me that I could entertain practising some of these sissy squats before the year is up.
10 weeks into my experiment with Knee Ability Zero I had an accident and broke my ankle. I spent the next 7 weeks with my foot encased in a cast and then a fracture boot.
I’m now eager to get straight back into knees over toes training as I have complete faith that this will be the best way to regain lower limb strength. Ben Patrick is such an inclusive bloke, he is often talking about training a diverse group of athletes from the very overweight to the elderly and as such he is passionate about scaling exercises to the point of zero pain motion. This is absolutely ideal for me as I have to take my recovery seriously and avoid straining my newly fused bones. For the next few weeks I will be following the program in his latest book ATG for Life, as it has the most information on scaling routines.