If you have been checking out fitness videos on YouTube lately, you’ve probably come across Ben Patrick A.K.A. The Knees Over Toes Guy.
(Hell, you’ve probably come across his YouTube ads whether searching for “how to train your dog” or “krazy kat fails”!)
Dude’s popularity has exploded and his Knees Over Toes mobility programming has gained an almost cult-like following. You can find a lot of Knees Over Toes Guy reviews like this one:
To be honest, that phrase actually kind of annoys me…”cult-like following”. Like it’s some bad thing.
The Knees Over Toes program is definitely NOT a bad thing, though. I can speak from my own experience with the programming, most specifically, the program found in Patrick’s Knee Ability Zero book.
I put in roughly 25 minutes per session, two days per week for roughly 9 months (I have since stepped (ha!) away for a bit, but will likely be restarting once again) and have made some excellent mobility gains. I still need to work some things out in my back and ankle mobility, but my knees haven’t felt so good since when I was squatting in high school.
(and I was probably only doing, like, ¾ squats back then, anyways!)
The program certainly works; there are tens of thousands of people who can attest to that now. The only question is: do you need the Knee Ability Zero book to do this Knees Over Toes program?
Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
Book Length (sic)
You’re probably not considering Knee Ability Zero because you want a long, engaging read. You want to “fix” your knees and you want to do it fast.
If this is the case, the 94 total pages should not really deter you or bother you. Still, the book comes off as being a bit short given the relatively low page count, large font, numerous pictures, and inclusion of numerous anecdotes and stories.
You cut this stuff out, and you probably have about 40 pages of “meat”.
Don’t get me wrong, some of this content, particularly the pictures, are valuable. However, like anyone else, you’re going to end up on YouTube watching his (numerous) video examples of each of the movements, making the pictures nice, but unnecessary inclusions.
Cool with this? Good. Those are the major elephants in the corner regarding the book. If you can get over these “issues” (specifically in relation to the not cheap price tag), let’s get on to the positives!
Patrick does a great job of organizing this Knee Ability Zero program, systematically explaining each of the 9 steps/movements (technically only 8, but there is a “Step 0” movement). None of his descriptions are particularly long and citations are few and far between, but his writing just instills a degree of “trust” and “expertise”.
The movement descriptions, benefits, and associated X-ray visuals just seem like they’re going to work. Patrick’s confidence in them and slightly-more-credible than “bro science” explanations make you want to put the book down and start moving.
As he explains each step, Patrick provides set and repetition suggestions for each movement. These numbers are easily forgotten as you (quickly) progress through the book. Thankfully, in the last pages, he lays out the entire Knee Ability Zero program in entirety, making it easy to follow when just starting the program.
The library of the Knees Over Toes program movements could be considered to be…unorthodox. Patrick himself uses this term, although he is always quick to show how familiar the movements actually are.
You’ve probably done a calf raise before…just not a Knees Over Toe Guy calf raise.
The couch stretch can be a bit…uncomfortable, but if you’ve been around any mobility circles for any amount of time, you know what it feels like to have your shin against the wall. I used to find these to be pretty difficult, but now don’t find them to be too bad.
Then you have the “crown jewels” of any Knees Over Toes program: The ATG Split Squat.
(ATG = “A** to grass” in case you’re wondering)
This is the movement you see Patrick doing on the book cover and is likely what you’ve seen people doing in YouTube ads and reviews.
The ATG Split Squat looks cool…and, in my opinion, is the toughest of the Knee Ability Zero, Knees Over Toes program movements. I still find myself struggling to hit these positions at times.
The Patrick Step is another unique movement (I mean, how it could be; the man created and named it himself! To be honest, this could just be a coincidence…please fact check this for me!) although not quite as challenging (or as physically imposing) as the ATG Split Squat.
I personally don’t do the Knees Over Toes Guy version of the L-Sit (I use parallettes instead), but he lays out a good progression for it for those new to the program.
All in all, the movements are familiar enough to pick up and do rather quickly. However, their unique qualities make them difficult to master. Patrick himself says that when he coaches the movements, he “obsessively coaches perfect form”. Unfortunately, an inexpensive book can’t do this coching for you.
Knee Ability Zero is a bodyweight only Knees Over Toes program. As such, it is very easy to get started. When I first started with the Knees Over Toes program, I was able to complete all of the movements with only a bit of wall and floor space.
For some, using the Patrick Step…Step to do the alternative Patrick Step Up can be a good test of ability and improvement in the movement. I purchased a specially-designed implement to perform the Patrick Step Up, but you could easily make something of your own for the same effect. However, this is a completely optional purchase.
“Dense Strength” is a Knees Over Toes program that includes weighted movements, but Knee Ability Zero does not hit on any of these.
Ultimately, if you want to do all of the Knee Ability Zero program components, the book cost is the only price you’ll need to pay.
I started messing around with some Knees Over Toes Guy movements back in March of 2021. I can’t say I experienced significant improvement in my lower-body mobility, but then again, I wasn’t really following a program.
In July of ‘22, I purchased the book and Patrick Step Up..step and started following the program on Mondays and Fridays. These are my typical rest days and I figured two days of mobility each work would be sufficient. Results might take a little longer.
A year on, my squats feel much better. I had been experiencing chronic knee pain, particularly in my left knee, for some time. After brief warm up periods, this pain has all but vanished during lower-body workouts.
Using the Patrick Step and ATG Split Squat as my barometers, the “ability” imbalance between my knees has lessened (my left leg has grown more mobile and strong) and my hip flexors have greatly loosened. I feel a lot more comfortable “getting low and long” and have less (irrational) fear of my knee blowing up!
At a time investment of about 50 minutes each week (20 of which is simple, backwards walking), I think the return-in-investment of the Knee Ability Zero program is high.
I am happy with my Knee Ability Zero book purchase and the results I have gotten from it. I also appreciate having the ability to quickly thumb through it if I have not-overly-technical questions about a movement.
With that being said, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten all of the information I needed to effectively do this specific Knees Over Toes program from YouTube. It is very easy to find videos reviewing the entire program, movements, sets and reps, and frequently asked questions. If you really don’t feel like putting out a little money for the book, rest assured, the information is out there…and easily accessible.
If neither the book or online resources are quite doing it for you, Patrick offers online programming. This programming runs a little priced (currently about $50 a month), but includes video review and critique. That obsessive form coaching discussed before…you get that with your subscription.
Whichever route you end up taking, just give your selected Knees Over Toes program at least a month of dedicated work. I’m pretty sure your knees will thank you!
I combined my Knees Over Toes program with Mat Fraser’s CrossFit programming. Check out my HWPO programming review to determine if you want to combine both programs, too!