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Knee Recovery System by Ben Patrick, The Knee Over Toes Guy
In 2017 I had a left knee injury and wore a supportive knee sleeve. It got better over time, with some stretching and rest. I was making progress in my athletic performance, with good stair and soft sand walking. My lower body training included hip flexor stretching, upper body weight training for a better range of motion, and paddle endurance. I was looking forward to getting back to surfing again. I did not have a history of bad knees, or knee pain, and thought my knee issues were fixed.
I did not have a strict training schedule or diet, and I drank lots of really great beer. At age 54 my athletic journey was looking good, with more range of motion work, general body strength, and upper body strength training to help me move through the water and catch some waves again.
In 2019 I had a very hard time walking downstairs. The covid restrictions kept me away from the beach, sand walking, and stair workouts. I got to my heaviest weight, my range of motion was reduced, and was spending too much time watching screens.
Through my YouTube study, I learned about Ben Patrick on the Joe Rogan Podcast
Ben Patrick’s Knee Recovery System teaches an innovative approach to knee recovery that is unlike anything else out there. The system focuses on walking backward, an action that has been proven to heal and prevent further damage to the knees. With Ben’s guidance, individuals with knee pain or injury can learn to move their bodies in a way that encourages the healing of the joint. His work changed my life. Most of my training has been for forward movement, running, and jumping. That was the opposite of walking down the stairs.
Part 1, Walking Backwards
Start with walking backward, working your knees over your toes as your legs extend back, and take the weight of your body. Ben learned this from traditional Chinese wisdom that said walking backward helps to prevent knee range of motion cartilage from breaking down.
Walking backward with resistance, uphill, or with a weighted sled is one of the foundational exercises that Patrick preaches. This technique was developed, from observing forestry workers who often dragged trees while walking backward, leading to stronger backs and knees.
Ben and his ATG (Athletic Truth Group) have developed some specialized equipment to help your efforts in building “bulletproof” knees. The Backward Treadmill is very helpful, it does not require electricity and has adjustable resistance tension. The small footprint is great for home gyms, 48″ x 25.5″ and 29″ x 25.5″ when not in use.
The Tibialis Raise
The Tibialis Raise is a very simple exercise that will protect your feet, ankles, and knees. Lean against a wall, with straight legs, raise your toes, and hold for 2 seconds. Raise, for 2 seconds, rest for 2 seconds, and repeat up to 25 reps. That was not easy at the start, but I did get better with time.
You use the tibialis muscle every step when you walk, to slow down when you’re running, and to slow down to take a jump. The tibialis is the decelerator of the foot—it’s the muscle that prevents the foot from going down. It runs along the front of your lower leg and connects the top of the foot to the lower knee.
The tibialis works to reduce the impact on your foot, ankle, and knee when walking, running, and landing from a jump. The faster you move, the more forcefully your tibialis has to react to counteract momentum energy through the foot and ankle. Thank is one reason why shin splints are so common in runners.
The Patrick Step
This is the next exercise for The Recovery System with Ben Patrick
The Patrick Step is great for building strength and building mobility in the ankles. It starts with standing on one foot, with the other extending out front, and bending your back knee down so that your front foot taps the ground. Keep your front toes pointed up and your heel down. You may need some balancing help from a chair or wall, and that is OK. As you lower your hips downward, it is important to keep them over the foot that is on the ground. Your upper body will naturally lean back away and your back knee will move forward over the toes that are on the ground. This starts as a body weight-only exercise and works through the mobility range of your lower joints. As you progress, think about stretching, and allowing your joints to be pushed. You should not push yourself to the point of pain, some muscle fatigue but not pain. Work up to 10-15 reps for each leg, to develop strength, balance, and better range of motion.
These beginner exercises helped me to walk down the stairs in a safe and controlled manner. During that same time, I adjusted my diet to cut back on carbs, wheat, add in more animal protein and dropped 15 lbs.
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