#1766 – Ben Patrick | Joe Rogan Experience

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Key Takeaways

  • People get stuck in a system and don’t realize there’s a whole other way to do things – “If we’re only going off the data from the education system, we’re doomed.” – Ben Patrick
  • “We’ve been taking muscles to failure but we’ve been skipping entire muscles that relate to pain.” – Ben Patrick
  • Flexibility is access to adapt other areas of the muscle to strengthen
  • Backward sled pulls are a safe & effective entry point for people who think their knees are shot and experience knee pain with other traditional exercises
  • To truly bulletproof your body, take time to focus on less sexy exercises – tibialis raises, hip flexor strengthening, sled pulls, slant board squats
  • The goal should be to move and build strength in the fullest range of motion you have
  • Myth: improving flexibility will reduce speed and strength
  • Don’t compromise range of motion for heavier weights
  • Everyone can improve their strength from where they are today to where they’ll be in the future


Ben Patrick AKA “Knees Over Toes Guy” (@kneesovertoesguy) is coach and owner of Athletic Truth Group (ATG) Online Coaching, an online personal training program for strengthening knees and developing full-body fitness. His new book ATG for Life is available now.

Joe Rogan and Ben Patrick dive into Ben’s history with debilitating knee pain and the many surgeries he endured. They discuss Ben’s transformation and key to progression in knee training as well as the fundamentals for performance and training concepts.

Host: Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Origins Of Knees Over Toes

  • We’re taught to keep knees behind toes but a lot of natural positions in life put our knees over toes
  • Chinese wisdom passed down generations believed in walking backward or dragging a sled backward to prevent cartilage damage
  • Charles Poliquin is well known for the concept that the further your knees can go over your toes, the less likely they are to become injured
  • American weightlifter Louie Simmons was trying to figure out the secret to building knee strength and stability and adapted knees over toes
  • New data is always coming out, eventually, textbooks will reflect the benefits and protection of knees over toes training
  • Learn more about Ben’s Knees Over Toes Program here

The Benefits Of Sled Pulls

  • We (the humans) should be doing the work, not machines
  • Everyone can push a sled forward and backward – the risk of injury is less, great for cardio, you exercise your feet, you work your back without loading spine, it’s safe to do every day
  • “Your exercises have 100% made my knees better.” – Joe Rogan
  • Turf is ideal for the sled because you want smooth friction
  • The waist belt is the safest starting point because the coordination and balance are most supportive that way
  • Start backward: we want to safely get pressure to make the area stronger to get synovial fluid to carry nutrients to the joint
  • Backward sled pulls are a great entry point for people who think their knees are shot and a very safe way to build strength when you can’t handle the knee pain that comes with some traditional exercises
  • Find the right weight that will slow you down but you can move and control

Strengthen Smaller Muscles

  • The majority of injuries take place in deceleration – train deceleration muscles and get stronger in reverse  
  • We focus on aesthetic muscles but don’t often take the time to train supporting muscles
  • “We’ve been taking muscles to failure but we’ve been skipping entire muscles that relate to pain.” – Ben Patrick
  • To truly bulletproof your body, you have to take the time to focus on less sexy exercises – tibialis raises, sled pulls, slant board squats
  • Leg curls aren’t enough – try monkey feet curls to develop more power in your kicks by strengthening hip flexors
  • Benefits of strengthening hip flexors: speed, jumping, stability in kicks for martial artists

Importance Of Flexibility

  • Static stretching can be a good foundation but the goal should be to be strong in the fullest range of motion, everywhere in your body
  • Actively lengthen through joints to get the best range of motion you can
  • Don’t compromise range of motion for heavier weights
  • Tip: use a dumbbell in each hand in butterfly stretch to increase flexibility downward and increase groin strength when you bring upward
  • Improving flexibility will not decrease strength or speed – if an area is stronger and more flexible, you’re more bulletproof
  • You don’t have to be flexible to be athletic but it will undoubtedly build explosiveness
  • “Flexibility is like access to get stronger in different areas.” – Ben Patrick
  • Myth: you don’t have to be lean to build flexibility – some bodybuilders are religious about flexibility

Healing From Injury

  • The creator of R.I.C.E. – Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate – now says he was wrong in how to approach injury, and you need blood flow
  • Movement is medicine
  • When you are first injured and are in pain, ice helps ease the pain but doesn’t help recovery
  • Be patient! It can take 5 years to recover, stabilize, improve range of motion, and build strength

New Ways To Approach Core Strengthening

  • Tip 1: reverse sit up, add weight as you feel ready by adding weight to feet
  • Strengthen core from the ground up
  • Tip 2: get on a back extension machine sideways to train muscle between the lower back and abs called quadratus lumborum
  • By overlooking quadratus lumborum, you’re missing rotational strength on sides

Tips For Shoulder Health

  • Dumbbell press: start palms down in full extension and rotate back through a full range of motion
  • Shoulders: do external rotations with dumbbells and cable to get full stimulus

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