Get Our Courses

Analyzing the Knees Over Toes Guy: A Perspective On Its Impact For Runners

knees over toes running gait analysis running gait analysis clinic running injury strength training Jan 08, 2024
Analyzing the Knees Over Toes Guy: A Perspective On Its Impact For Runners

In recent years, the fitness world has seen the rise of various training methodologies and influencers, one name that has gained significant attention is the "Knees Over Toes Guy." Promoting the idea that allowing your knees to go past your toes during exercises is beneficial, the Knees Over Toes Guy, also known as Ben Patrick, has sparked both enthusiasm and skepticism. The traditional belief in rehabilitation has often cautioned against letting the knees move beyond the toes during exercises to prevent potential injury. However, the Knees Over Toes Guy challenges this notion, arguing that allowing such movement can actually improve joint health, strength, and athletic performance. Here’s the latest information on if the Knees Over Toes approach is helpful for runners.

Benefits Of Knees Over Toes For Runners

The Knee Over Toes approach incorporates squats, lunges, heel raises, backwards treadmill walking and weighted exercise. This approach specifically focuses on the ROM of the athlete's knee going over their toes. Athletes are instructed to SLOWLY increase ROM while training to get best results. Here’s how runners are affected physiologically. 

Joint Health and Mobility:

  • Knee over toe exercises improve joint and soft tissue mobility, specifically in the ankles and knees. For runners specifically this helps maintain ROM needed for running hills. 

Building Strength in Specific Ranges:

  • Since the Knees Over Toes approach incorporates strengthening and mobility athletes will see increased strength throughout ROM.  Runners specifically improve strength during the end of the running stride (terminal stance). 

Application in Running Mechanics:

  • For runners, improved flexibility with strength contributes to improvements in running form. Namely, increased dorsiflexion improves terminal stride length. Other benefits include improved quadriceps strength, eccentric squat control and improved eccentric dorsiflexion strength. 

Grab the “Runner’s Knee Handout” for ready-made patient education. Pro tip: attach your business cards and contact info to these and hand them out at running events.

Criticism Of The Knees Over Toes Approach

While the Knees Over Toes approach has gained popularity, it's essential to consider potential criticisms and limitations. The largest critique of the Knees Over Toes approach is that the athlete sustains more pressure under the kneecap during exercise. Therefore runners with known pathologies such as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, Condromalacia, Meniscus Tears and end stage Osteoarthritis should avoid using the Knees Over Toes approach. Additionally, athletes should not rapidly increase ROM or force their bodies into using heavy weights when performing exercises with their knees going over the toes. Gradually improving joint strength and stability in knees over toes exercises poses the lowest risk of injury. 

Should Runners Be Using Knees Over Toes Training?

In conclusion, the mobility and strength benefits to runners using Knees Over Toes training is beneficial. Improvements in knee over toe strength and flexibility help maintain safety and improve form during running. However, the knee over toes motion does have some risk factors. Running experts should use clinical reasoning to rule out patients with knee pathology that would worsen with increased pressure in the patellofemoral joint. All clinicians using Knees Over Toes training should slowly increase ROM during the exercises to mitigate the runner’s risk to injury. Continual reassessment of all runners using the Knees Over Toes approach with functional testing is best to track patient outcomes. 


Learn The Right Exercises For Runners

The Essentials of Running Gait Analysis (6.5 CEUs). Inside you’ll learn about specific exercises for different running forms, gait deviations and running diagnoses. Register by Feb. 1st 2024 to join the next cohort. 

Follow us on Instagram for all things running medicine.