How to Bullet Proof Your Knees (and more) with Knees Over Toes Guy Ben Patrick

 

– The MOVEMENT Movement with Steven Sashen Episode 100 with Ben Patrick

 

By 18 Ben Patrick had 3 surgical knee alterations and was told he would never have full knee bend or play high-level sports. Now at 30, Ben has some of the most athletic and bulletproof knees in the world.

 

He has personally received 2113 knee success stories from others who had chronic, hopeless conditions before doing his fitness formula, which requires ZERO weights, equipment, or special abilities to start.

Ben is also a proud Xero Shoes customer and his formula helps others transition their foot and lower leg strength to being able to thrive with barefoot-inspired shoes.

 

Listen to this episode of The MOVEMENT Movement with Ben Patrick about how to bulletproof your knees.

 

Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:

  • Why telling people they shouldn’t bend their knees over their toes is bad advice.
  • How the two components that make up knee stability are flexibility and strength.
  • Why runners need to consider triple flection in addition to triple extension.
  • How bulletproofing your body allows for it to express itself more.
  • Why people should be building their strength from their feet up.

Connect with Ben:

 

Guest Contact Info

Instagram
@kneesovertoesguy

 

Links Mentioned:
atgonlinecoaching.com

 

Connect with Steven:

Website

Xeroshoes.com

Jointhemovementmovement.com

Twitter
@XeroShoes

Instagram
@xeroshoes

Facebook
facebook.com/xeroshoes

Steven Sashen:

What if the most important piece of fitness advice that you’ve ever been given is 100% completely wrong? That’s what we’re going to discover and talk about and find out more about on today’s episode of the MOVEMENT Movement, the podcast for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body. Starting feet first usually, because those things are your foundation, we break down the propaganda, the mythology, sometimes the outright lies that you’ve been told about what it takes to run or walk or hike or play, or do yoga or CrossFit, whatever it is you’d like to do.

 

And to do that enjoyably, efficiently, effectively. Did I mention enjoyably? Don’t tell me, I know I did because it was a trick question. Because look, if you’re not having fun, do something different to you or you’re not going to keep it up if you’re not having a good time.

Ben Patrick:

So true.

Steven Sashen:

Thank you, Ben. We call this the MOVEMENT Movement because we are creating a movement, that’s we, that involves you, and I’ll say more about that in a second, about natural movement. We’re helping people rediscover that letting your body do what it’s designed to do is the better obvious, healthier choice, just the way we think of natural food. I’m Steven Sashen, CEO, xeroshoes.com. We make ridiculously lightweight comfortable shoes that people use for everything from taking a walk to running ultra marathons. We do sandals and boots as well. There’s one right there that Ben’s showing. We’ll get back to that in a sec.

 

So, the movement part that involves you, the creating a movement, really simple, go to our website, www.jointhemovementmovement.com. You’ll find wonderful previous episodes, a couple of rants from me as well, because I get in that kind of a mood, and also all the different ways you can interact with us. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube. And of course, if you’re on any of these places, give us a thumbs up, give us a review, like, subscribe. That’s the basic message if you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe.

 

All right, let us jump in. Ben Patrick, it is a pleasure having you here. Why don’t you tell people who you are and what you do? And if you want to already address what I teased at the very beginning, you can, or we can get there slightly slower in whet people’s appetite.

Ben Patrick:

Well, I think you said it very well. I’m a pretty simple guy. I had really bad knees from trying so hard to be a basketball player, went through three different surgical alterations by the time I was 18. Then my other knee had more tears in it. And I always did follow that advice of no knees over toes.

Steven Sashen:

Well, hold on. Wait. Wait. Pause right there. Because I didn’t say what the advice that everyone got was. So let’s just jump in and-

Ben Patrick:

Oh yeah, it’s right. You didn’t say that.

Steven Sashen:

So, the number one piece of advice that people have been giving for, my God… I’m 58. I can remember it from the time I was in my teens, is, if you’re doing any squatting or lunging, basically, to protect your knees, you need to make sure that when you’re bending them that way, you don’t want your knees to go past your toes, further in front of your toes. And Ben has become known, now, I’ve asked if this was a name that you gave yourself or someone gave you, as the Knees-Over-Toes-Guy. Basically, you have suddenly become massively, massively popular by saying that advice is 100%, and pardon me if I’m using a medical term, complete bullshit.

Ben Patrick:

No, I think that’s medically accurate. I think anyone who wears your shoes is going to understand me in like 60 seconds, meaning it would be no different than saying your foot is hurting, let’s keep putting more junk to protect it rather than just letting it do its natural thing. But you also probably have guidance for people on how to gradually make their way there. Neither one of us, I don’t think, is saying, “Hey, you should just start working through pain that you can’t handle right now.” But if you can get there and live a more free life, life’s just going to be a lot more enjoyable.

 

Life is still going to be hard, the human body’s still going to be fragile, but it can be way better than we thought. And so that’s what knees over toes is, it’s that, if you look at the stats, the more that it’s been restricted, the worst things have gotten. So we’re talking not stats of one person, not me as some specific case, we’re talking about, literally, if you look at like billions of people, the more we just restrict knees over toes, we wind up with these epidemics of knee surgeries and knee replacements. And not to mention, for every person you talk to with that, there’s 100 people hooked on painkillers because that’s not even really something we talk about.

 

So that’s the direction that I was already in at 18 to 20 years old. And now I figured out how to gradually get good at knees over toes. Well, now I deliver that. And someone actually commented on one of my posts because now that I’ve been wearing your shoes for a bit now, and they said, “This is one of the best adult purchases I’ve ever made, is the Xero Shoes.” And I thought that was such a fitting quote because that’s what I’m trying to bring for people too, I’m trying to give them one of the best adult purchases that they’ve had.

Steven Sashen:

God, there’s so many places to go from what you just said, but let me address the last thing first. I love collecting fitness programs. It’s just one of my favorite things, just to see what people are doing.

Ben Patrick:

Oh, that’s cool.

Steven Sashen:

And there are a couple that I have that I will never do because it just doesn’t fit my goals, but they’re so interesting that I want to try them for a little bit just to see what it’s like. So that’s a whole different thing. But what you’re doing-

Ben Patrick:

But what you just said, that’s just as important for having understanding. I wouldn’t be the knees over toes guy if I wasn’t the knees behind toes guy at a certain point. We can’t just only see life through a straw and not be willing to see all the different sides of it.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. There are some really interesting people doing some really interesting things. And again, I’m not going to do some massive high volume hypertrophy workout, especially massive upper body things, because I’m still training to be a competitive sprinter. I still am a competitive sprinter, so that’s the last thing I need. But the vain part of me that likes to try new things definitely is going to do it for six weeks just for the fun of it, so at some point, I don’t know when. But to your point, the thing I wanted to address is, when I signed up for your program, a whole different game. The way you’ve structured things is amazing. And it actually is designed almost exactly for what I’m doing as a master sprinter, but it’s also for much, much more than that.

 

In fact, if I had to break down what you’re doing, what you discovered, into one thought, and tell me if I’m wrong, you basically are realizing that when it comes to knee stability and strength, there’s two components. One is flexibility, and the other is strength. And strength, particularly in that VMO, which, for people who don’t know that muscle on the inside of your thigh, right above your knee, that little teardrop shaped thing, that not only is massively underdeveloped for most people, but I’m having a flashback back when I was a gymnast, I landed and twisted and heard that come out of my knee and had torn the meniscus.

 

My right knee had been out of whack, the VMO shut off, it just wasn’t really working for quite a long time. And doing your program, which I adore, has really started to wake that up and strengthen that in ways that I didn’t even know it was still weak. So things that were problematic for me before, not so much. And strength exercises that are really important for running, and I’m going to stop ranting in a second, but this is my, holy crap, this is great. Things like, and we’ll talk about the Nordic hamstring curl.

 

I could barely do it before, I don’t know if you seen the video, if you haven’t, I’ll show you, I like made it all the way down and all the way back up the other day. I didn’t even know I could do it.

Ben Patrick:

Send that to me, I’d love to post that.

Steven Sashen:

I will concede that I hadn’t videotaped it, so there’s a little more hip bend than I would like, but even still, at 59, it’s pretty impressive.

Ben Patrick:

I think that’s fricking awesome. I couldn’t love your goal anymore, how you’re doing master sprinting. I’m only “only 30,” but that’s the exact direction I’m going down because my teens and 20s, I never got to see what I was capable of. So now in my posts, one way that I capture people’s attention is they see me throwing down dunks. And my college coach is like, “Man, when I coached this guy, I don’t even know if he could touch the rim.” I wasn’t able to break records then, but who the heck knows what I’ll be able to do now in my 30s, 40s. We’re all in our own game, it doesn’t have to be the NBA finals to be as meaningful as the NBA finals.

 

Just numerically, it’s impossible for all of us to be in the NBA finals. Numerically, it’s impossible for all of us to be in the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean that we have to not have goals and not have the same thrills?

Steven Sashen:

Well, my goals have evolved as a sprinter. I got back into it when I was 45, I had taken a 30-year break. And so my original goal was of course, “Hey, I want to win races.” And then I started going to national competitions and my goal changed because there’s a bunch of guys who are former world champions, former professional football players, professional sprinters, so my goal was just to show up at the starting line and have people look at me and go, “What the hell is he doing here?” And have people go, “What the hell?” Which actually happens. But the thing with sprinting is it’s such a crazy genetic thing.

 

There’s a guy named Ralph Mann who was a silver medalist in the Munich 400 meter hurdles who wrote a book about sprinting. He says, “There’s eight factors that go into being a good sprinter. Seven are genetic,” and he goes, “Well, you maximize your genetics.” There’s a new friend of mine who’s got many world championships and national championships in the 100 meters and the 50 or 60 indoors as well, who just crushes me, just destroys me. And here’s the kicker, when he got back into sprinting at 39, I think his third race ever, not like a whole bunch of training and then a third race, I think like the third time he got on the track was for nationals, and he won. He’s a genetic freak.

Ben Patrick:

Well, any of us who grew up in sports, we also knew different people prior to training, and we could see the massive genetic difference in speed. All that being said-

Steven Sashen:

You can maximize your genetics.

Ben Patrick:

… you’re 59. Exactly. And I guarantee anyone listening to this that you can actually maximize things more than would be expected, but your strength program would have to be honest, biologically to speed. So if we’re only thinking about traditional lifts, then absolutely, your seven out of eight of those are going to be genetic. But now with some tweaks, maybe it could be 50-50 genetic first, what you do about it. Honestly, you know how insane I am. I’m going to get the best in the world at some of these qualities that relate to speed. I actually broke my high school team record in the 40-yard dash. Now, I’m talking about for how slow I was.

Steven Sashen:

That’s a good point.

Ben Patrick:

I was leading the team in scoring and I ran a six-second 40 yard dash. Now, people hear that, they don’t even believe it, but I got quotes from all my past coaches. So when I ran the first one, he thought he malfunctioned the stopwatch. So then I ran it in front of the team again. Then he made me take my shoes off. He was like, “Am I wearing like training weighted shoes or what’s going on?” And so super embarrassing for me to be that slow to break the team record for slowness. But now when I play basketball, speed is easily my biggest weapon. I’m only 6’1″, which for basketball, it means I’m usually the shortest guy in the court.

Steven Sashen:

Dude, I’m 5’5″, I’m definitely the shortest guy at the track.

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. But for basketball it’s… Every sport has its own thing. I’d be way too tall to be a gymnast or this or that. So the point is just that, I believe that speed is more trainable than we ever thought it was.

Steven Sashen:

And there’s a couple of components there, one of course is form, and I did a previous podcast episode with Nick Romanov who developed Pose Method of running, which I think is the wrong name. It’s really what he identified as the common factors of the most successful runners. And once you identify that, the closer you can get to that, the more energy efficient you’re going to be. So form is one thing, strength and appropriate strength is another. But you just mentioned the normal exercises people think of for strength versus what you’ve been doing, can you talk about both of those?

Ben Patrick:

There’s a really simple way to break it up, really simple.

Steven Sashen:

At some point, I want to like dive in and give people an experience of the difference between not knees over toes versus knees over toes, but let’s first do these exercises traditionally and see what you’re discovering.

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. A simple little journey would be that, if you stand there and you want to jump up vertically into the air, your knees just have to go over your toes, it’s part of the process. Every 40-inch vertical jump in NFL combine history had major knees over toes. And the higher jumpers can get more knees over toes, they’re able to get more of a spring in there. And there’s a ton of pressure on the knees and there’s pressure on your knees when you go downstairs. And every time you decelerate, then there’s a ton of pressure on your knees, and you basically have one knee going over the toe. So how much can that handle? And then the next knee goes over the toe.

 

So knees over toes is part of sport and life. So I went from really bad at that. In my teens, early 20s, I’d be going down the stairs backwards, sideways, or I’d do the gymnast going down the stairs. You know when you have like a bum knee and you just fall on the upper body? And I couldn’t jump for crap, I was a totally failed basketball player. So I went from really bad at knees over toes to then going on this whole mission of getting really good at it. By the time I was 23, I got a full ride Division I scholarship. That was the beginning of it as I was starting to break through barriers.

 

But the reason I’m setting this up is, getting really good at knees over toes made me able to jump vertically really well. It made me able to get like a good start off the blocks really well, but for top end speed and for one-foot jumping, it didn’t do a ton for that. So if you think about… I’m going to really simply break down the difference between traditional training to run faster versus what I do to run faster. So most people who sprint have probably heard of triple extension. So that’s the ankles, the knees and the hips extending. So like if someone does an Olympic lift, you’re triple extending. Do you know what I’m talking about, triple extension?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Exactly. So again, just for people who may not. If you think your ankle extending, your toe is pointing effectively. If you think about your knee extending, it’s all the way fully extended, not bent. Same thing with your hip. If you think about just driving your heel back, so the extension part would be… Like if you think about a sprinter coming out of the blocks, the way they like to show the extension, is it’s a straight line from the top of the shoulders down to the heel. And now, FYI, many people think that’s the goal for sprint starts, and it’s actually not because that means you’ve wasted some extra effort that you need to be-

Ben Patrick:

Interesting. Interesting. So anyone right now can Google triple extension and see 1,000 videos and 1,000 articles about triple extension. Now, if you search triple flection, you won’t find any articles or any videos except for ones that I’ve done. So I have the world’s first triple flection video. And I also have one of arguably the greatest genetic changes in athleticism. So let’s break this down. When you’re now running, your squat, your deadlift, yes, these things that give you that extension, those measurables would be part of the equation, but just watch someone running in slow motion, and now you’re relying much more heavily, not on the knee extending, but on the knee flexing, not on the hip extending, but the hip flexing.

 

So for me as a trainer, what I had going for me was me being a total psychopath who somehow thought I was still going to get athletics, still going to run-

Steven Sashen:

Oh God, please. You’re just a sociopath.

Ben Patrick:

Exactly. There you go. So I just never gave up on trying to get athletic. So even once I was jumping higher vertically, I still was like, “Why am I not… ” I got faster for sure, but I wasn’t as fast as the naturally fast guys. Now, I’m as fast as the naturally fast guys. Now, I run as fast as the average NFL defensive backs that I train. So how did I bridge that gap, is by saying, “Now, wait a second. The same measurable strength overload over time, over years, trying to get it strong at triple extension, no one’s ever tried that for triple flexion.” Now, right from the ankle, equipment didn’t even exist for it, it existed actually decades ago and it was like the Dodo bird of training equipment.

 

So now, if you search tibialis bar, you’ll see a bunch of people selling this. So this is 100% from someone coming to me and saying, “What needs to exist that doesn’t?” And I drew up a diagram and I said, “This needs to exist, ankle flection.”

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Just to paint the picture for people. So the triple flection part, if you think about pulling your toes towards your knees, that’s dorsiflexion, so that’s one. The knees bending, which you can do that from a number of different angles, but the easiest way to think of it is standing up and just keeping your knees together for the sake of argument, and lifting your heel up to your butt. And then there’s the hip part that can go in that where you’re flexing your hip, which is again, just like lifting your knee up towards your chest. So those are the three components. And in fact, the irony that no one’s really talked about that is there’s two. One, again, for sprint starts, the flection part’s the most important thing because you got to get your foot out and down onto the ground.

Steven Sashen:

So you can’t just have it dragging behind you. That’s why triple extension is misunderstood for sprinting starts. You don’t want to go fully extended because then you’re spending too much time with your leg behind you. And then if you talk again, to Nick Romanov, the most important thing is getting that heel up to your butt, getting that knee moving forward so that when you’re landing, you’re in what he refers to as the Pose, and the only way to get there is with triple flection. And to be totally candid, the glitch that I have is that I’m… What he does is really annoying. He’ll film you and then look at you frame by frame and then compare you to say, Usain Bolt.

 

Now, that sounds crazy, but it doesn’t matter because good running is good running, it doesn’t matter if you’re the world’s fastest man or you, and then basically compare and see where is your foot landing in relation to your center of mass? Where’s your back knee in relation to your front knee? And Usain Bolt takes like one frame to get from where he lands to having his knees lined up, and I’m taking three frames. And so the biggest thing that I’m working on is a lot of the flection stuff to just get that speed and strength to get things lined up better when I hit.

Ben Patrick:

Yup. Yup. So here’s the simplicity. Because these terms, triple flection, triple extension, if anyone is confused right now, it’s only because they’ve been so missed because they’re so simple, it’s actually a concern once you realize what we’re talking about. So you might have to go on YouTube and search triple extension, get that, and then search triple flection and you’ll find my video. It’s too obvious. So if you think about Usain Bolt, even if you try to match his triple extension strength, God made him unbelievable at triple flection. And we don’t see our hip flexor muscles. It’s not like you walk up and like, “Bro check out my hip flexor.” But the hip flexor has been found to be the biggest difference between regular humans and elite sprinters.

 

And for the record, if I ever mentioned a study or anything, fricking disregard it, just use common sense because any study can be proven wrong the next day. Studies are not for me. I mention it because so many people can’t even think unless a study tells them to think.

Steven Sashen:

We go through that. People say, “Where’s the proof for what you do?” I say, “No, no, for 99.95% of human history, people were doing what we do, we’re not the intervention.” I want to make one clarification about hip flection and hip flexors. It’s not the same as when you, especially go to like a high school track meet and hear parents yelling at their kids, “Get your knees up,” which is not the same because however high your knee does or doesn’t go is a response to how much force you’re putting in the ground at the right angle. What we’re talking about is having the strength and speed to get those knees lined up.

Ben Patrick:

Exactly. Exactly. It’s just about the strength in them, it’s not about how high they get. It’s just about the total strength in them. So these muscles then, and for me, training, I was saying I had a couple things going for me. One was that I never gave up on anything I couldn’t do. If I can go from being the guy with the worst knees of anyone I know, to now some of the most freaky bulletproof in the world that I can jump off ship and land, well, I just thought I could figure out anything, and I did.

 

The other thing I had going for me is I was a horrible business person, I charged like $15 a session for personal training and trained people thousands of times for zero profit over like a seven-year period. And I was happy as can be because I was learning so much. And I found the difference between the freak… So if you take the natural freaks who have never touched a weight, and then you take all these hard workers who still can’t run as fast as the natural freaks, and you never give up trying to run as fast as natural freaks, and you eventually do run as fast as natural freaks by getting certain exercises as strong as the natural freaks that the slow guys can’t do, even if they can do other things just as well or better. Now, you figure out how to train for speed.

Steven Sashen:

Let’s talk about some of those exercises. We mentioned that the traditional, which is dead lifts, squat, Olympic lifts, etc.

Ben Patrick:

Exactly. And I’m not saying that you don’t want to be as strong as possible in triple extension, but again, I’m just saying that that’s half of the equation for speed. So I’ve often been criticized for talking about the hip flexors that, “Oh, those aren’t like the prime movers or whatever, just drive up your squat.” Yeah. Just drive up your squat, everyone’s been trying that shit and they’re still slow compared to the natural freaks. We’re not talking about or getting a little fast, we’re talking about getting elite speed when you’re naturally slow. So, if we start from the ankle, if you had a way of putting weights onto your feet so that you’re sitting on a bench with your legs out, and then you have to lift the weights with your feet.

 

And people are like, “Oh yeah, I tried that one time with a TheraBand.” Oh yeah, you tried that? Did you try bench pressing one time with a TheraBand and expect to get… But if you walk in LA Fitness, every guy can bench 225. It’s just a matter of progressive overload over time. No one’s done progressive overload over time for those shin muscles who’s in sports. The only guys who did it were in bodybuilding. And back in the day before steroids entered the scene, because once steroid enters the scene, so much more occurs. Have you seen the necks on these guys compared to the body?

 

So things are going to grow whether you.

Steven Sashen:

Well, to be fair-

Ben Patrick:

You’re not losing a bodybuilding competition because of your tibialis anterior size. That’s all I’m saying.

Steven Sashen:

That is true.

Ben Patrick:

Back in the day, you were looking for every possible advantage. And a guy named Bob Gajda who worked at a YMCA. His whole mission in life was getting kids off the streets and off drugs. He was Mr. Universe. He invented this, but guess what? Once he started going to the gym and seeing people shooting up steroids, he had a total life intervention because his whole life was dedicated to getting people off drugs and now people were doing drugs for the very sport that he loves. He quit right then and there. So he actually created this device to strengthen the anterior tibialis. It’s just like doing a curl, but for your ankles.

 

So, it fell out of existence, was not being produced anywhere. So even though that died, a buddy of mine still had enough guts to say, “You know what? What do you think should be made?” And I’m like, “You know what? I really think that thing should be made.” And honestly, they’ve totally blown up now and have a factory and they’re shipping them out. And they’re being used by, I’ve personally got them to 47 different NFL, MLB, NBA players. Some of the greatest stories that you’ve seen in sports over the last year have been people doing these unorthodox methods. If you look at my Instagram, you won’t find any of them, even though I’ve gone in personally trained them, I’m only going to mark it off me.

 

The best marketing for me is going to be getting faster and jumping higher when I’m 35, and then 40, and then 45, and then 50. So I don’t attach myself to someone else’s marketing. The point is that this device is now out there, you can buy it. Now, as we come up to knee flection, that one’s been much more common, though if you go into your local gyms, you won’t find a Nordic bench. Now, you’ll find dips, you’ll find chin-ups, you’ll find body weight training for the upper body, you’ll find sit ups. You won’t find body weight training for your hamstring in normal gyms, even though it costs a fraction of a leg curl machine.

 

The difference between a leg curl machine and a Nordic is that, imagine you’re sitting down on the Leg Pro machine about to start. Okay, you’re about to start. Your leg is straight. That’s closer to where your leg hits the ground when you’re running. There’s no load yet. Now, if you tried to curl that leg curl, it gets tougher as you bring it closer. So a leg curl machine would definitely be awesome. In my system, we do that once a week. But, another day a week, we work on that Nordic. Now, if you’re doing a Nordic, you’re starting with your knees bent-

Steven Sashen:

For people who are listening, describe the Nordic.

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. With the Nordic you’re on your knees and then you lower down, like hovering over, and lift yourself back up with your hamstrings.

Steven Sashen:

You left out the important part. So you’re on your knees, but you’ve got your ankles secured. So you want to start by securing your ankles-

Ben Patrick:

Someone is holding that. Exactly. The ankles are secured.

Steven Sashen:

And then you try to keep your body… There’s, not arguments, but there’s different opinions about how straight you keep your hips. Some people like it totally straight, some people like it a little bend. You’ll experiment, you’ll find out which one seems to get different parts of your hamstring, the proximal side, or the distal side, [crosstalk 00:26:00] your hip or your knee. Did I do that in the right order? I did. So you’ll play with that a little bit, but the gist is you’re trying to see how just lowering yourself down and eventually coming back up. And if you think, “Oh, sounds cool,” most of you will find that it’s the most impossible thing you have ever tried in your life.

Ben Patrick:

Yep. But the natural freaks can do it. I train one of the top five richest athletes in history, and he’s known for his speed and we were working out a knee issue, but I was just going over the different things. And sure enough, he can do Nordics as good as I can without having ever trained him. So this is a major difference between someone… If you walk in and you see every LA Fitness bro who can bench 225, squat 315 and deadlift 405 and they would all drop like a sack of potatoes on the Nordic, except someone who’s a natural freak of speed and then they can do it, no problem.

 

So you need certain equipment for it. I’ve also helped people innovate certain things. I came up with like a strap concept so you can turn a bench into an Nordic, you can have a partner. If someone just searches how to do a Nordic hamstring curl on YouTube, my video comes up, it’s the most viewed Nordic video on YouTube. It goes over the history of it. It goes over exactly how it’s progressed. So anything I’m talking about, I have a library, philosophy, anything I’m talking about is not secret behind some paywall, it’s right there for free on my YouTube. I haven’t even turned on the ad money on my YouTube. I make $0 on over 350,000 subscribers. Go ahead.

Steven Sashen:

And to be clear, you make videos like people breathe. You’re putting out content like I’ve never seen before. It’s great.

Ben Patrick:

I appreciate that. So I want the data to get out there. People who then want to train in this way, then that’s what my business is. It’s coaching people through the programs that I found work best with the option that you can actually send in videos of yourself, you can send in questions. And we now have it down to like two-hour response time. We used to have it like under 24 hours, but my whole thing has just been like fueling just insane customer service. That’s the direction we keep going in. So the point is that anyone can go learn this Nordic and you’ll see how much it relates to running. But honestly, it doesn’t relate very much to jumping straight up and down.

 

So that’s where we get into that. Someone could have a phenomenal straight vertical jump, but be slower running across distance.

Steven Sashen:

Hold on. I’ve got to show it off. Hold on. Wait, hold on. I’ve got to back it up.

Ben Patrick:

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. That was excellent. Show it one more time because I like to make everything measurable so there’s no gray area. And people are free to their own interpretation, but the way I coach it is I’m only looking at the thigh, and what I’m trying to progress people do is that the thigh can go 45 degrees. When we’re watching form, we can see if the thigh gets 45 degree. So I don’t even look at it if the hips bend or this or that, you can’t cheat your thigh getting to 45 degrees.

 

Now, there’s even different ways to make it harder or less hard, but if you want to show that again-

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. And for people who don’t know, if you’re just watching what I’m doing, is I’m showing this one Nordic hamstring curl that I did. My phone is freaking out on me.

Ben Patrick:

You’ve got just quite to 45 degree. It was pretty close, but that’s freaking amazing. That’s absolutely amazing at 59 to do a very good quality Nordic.

Steven Sashen:

Ah crap. I keep hitting play and it keeps pausing on me, it’s really annoying. Let’s see if we can do it again. All right, here we go.

Ben Patrick:

If you just look at the thigh, there’s no cheating that tension and you can see how much that relates to running a ton of force there. But if you go to the top, go back to that video and pause it at the top before you start just to show the difference. All right.

Steven Sashen:

For some reason, it turns off every two seconds, and then I got to go all the way back to get to the video.

Ben Patrick:

No worries. Basically, with the Nordic, when you’re in the top position and you haven’t started yet-

Steven Sashen:

And this is really hard to see because of the way things are going.

Ben Patrick:

So right there, there’s no tension at the top. With a leg curl, it’s hardest at the top. So the Nordic and the leg curl have two opposing strength curves of where it’s hard. The Nordic gets hard right where that foot hits the ground when you’re sprinting, as the knee is getting closer to straight. It’s also like comparing lat pull downs to chin-ups. I don’t think any of the gymnast right now in the Olympics got there from doing lat pull downs or machines. So there’s definitely something different about that pressure of handling your own body weight, that it’s a higher amount of pressure than just being on a machine.

 

So it’s nothing against the machine, but this, I feel like has even been proven many times in-

Steven Sashen:

There actually is some research that I’ve seen where it highly correlates Nordic hamstring and sprint speed. So the fact that watching that… Look, I played with this for a long time, but I never really saw the progression that I’ve experienced since doing your program. And frankly, the amount of progression in the short amount of time was stunning to me. Like when I did that down and back up, I had never tried it before. In fact, I was just showing off to my wife and I said, “Check this shit out.”

 

And I got down and I was like, “I’m feeling pretty good hanging out right here.” And then I’d started pulling back up, and the next thing I know, I’m back up. And you’ll see if you watch the video, I’m just giggling because I had no idea. And that was really stunning. So, but to your point, we have the tibialis bar or the Tib Bar for working on the anterior tibialis, which is completely overlooked. We’ve got Nordic hamstring curl and then just regular hamstring curl in various ways to get both ends of the hamstring.

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. Exactly. But if we meant exactly, but if we made it really simple for trying to run faster, you got your tibialis bar, you got your Nordic bench. These are now things that you’re trying to get measurably strong, the same way a powerlifter cares about his bench press. And then the third one is lifting weights with your feet. So you’re standing up straight and now you’re just trying to lift your knee. So how strong is your hip flexor to lift? And again, that kind of equipment didn’t come out.

 

I was strapping things to my feet. You can hang from a chin-up bar and lifted dumbbell with your feet, but that would be like trying to bench press like a slippery bar or something. It definitely is a good way to get started, there’s gymnastic movements, which are phenomenal that, L-sit progressions, that’s what I use in my body weight system is just L-sit progression because it gets it going, but it gets nice to have some variation and not treat it just as something you do once in a while but as part of your year round progression.

 

So now there’s this monkey foot that it uses, I think biking technology, just a simple device. You strap it on and now you can hook onto any dumbbell with your foot. And now you can like measurably with full intent, try to lift weights with your feet. And again, with that, I would find that the fastest guys relative to their lifts relative to their body weight were like freaks of strength on that. And then some of the strongest guys were absolutely pathetic at that, but only the guys who struggled with their top end speed.

Steven Sashen:

Well, and FYI, I’ve been doing my fake version of that with just stacking up ankle weights. And then when I need to go up a weight that’s smaller than the next ankle weight, I’ve got some little spacer weights, like quarter pound, half pound, three quarter pound, and I’d strapped those in as well. And so that’s the garage version of doing the same thing. And big difference. It’s actually a funny exercise because the first few reps, you’re like, “Oh, this is no big deal.” And the last few reps is like, I think I’m going to shoot myself in the face right now.”

 

Because it’s not even that it’s hard or painful the way that certain kinds of lists are, but it’s like, you’re willing your body to move and it just doesn’t give a shit what you think. Yeah.

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. You’re taking it to tap out the same way that if you took a bicep curl until you couldn’t curl it anymore. And we’re not used to that with the hip flexors.

Steven Sashen:

Well, it’s also like hip flexors and calves or in the muscles that we use a lot, don’t respond the same way. You don’t get a pump in your hip flexors the way you get in your biceps, your chest. It’s such an unusual experience that it takes a little while for your brain to get used to what that is and how to do it.

Ben Patrick:

Yep, yep, exactly. So those would just be three simple examples that if you made it your life mission to get as strong as humanly possible on those three, then relative to your triple extension, you’d be able to handle that triple extension and turn it into horizontal speed. So to be the best athlete you want at all, there’s no advantage to being weak. There’s no secret advantage to being weak in some movement or area of your body. But if we think about those three things, and I think about all the slow athletes who have come to me and said, “I want to run faster.”

 

Not one of them ever has strength trained those three areas with consistency. So for me, those become a way of life. And it’s not as simple as just looking at life through a straw on those three, because if you’re going to train those hip flexors, well, then we want to do things to lengthen them as well, we don’t want to just leave it in a stiff position. And that’s one reason we have a lot of success with the Nordic because we do the Nordic once a week, but we also do that short range, meaning like a leg curl type once a week, and we do something to really lengthen out those hamstrings once a week as well.

 

So that’s like a key part of the process. So if you just try to do Nordic three times a week, that might be so excessive. I don’t know how your progress would be or not, but if you hit one a week on each of those three, you’re actually funneling little gains to the next one and then little gains to the next one, versus just beating one area to death.

Steven Sashen:

That was actually my experience because when I first started doing Nordics, I was training two and three times a week just because. Now, I wasn’t doing as much volume as I’m doing with you because you’re doing like five sets of five, I was doing maybe two, three sets of eight, which I guess if you add it up, it was a little more volume. But suffice it to say, I wasn’t making the same progress because I was overloading and I didn’t even realize it because it didn’t feel like I was.

 

And I think a good chunk of it’s neurological. I think there’s that component as well. And that takes time just for your brain and your body to get-

Ben Patrick:

And if you kept that up, I still think you’d adapt to it. But I’ve been doing this awhile so I give to people the formulas that are going to give the best results. We don’t want to risk overdoing it in the process, not to mention when you do sprint, we want some of that hamstring length, where the hamstring, not just flexibility, but where it can actually handle some strengths through a stretched position. You don’t want to be struggling in any of those areas of the hamstring. Sprinting is such an intense activity.

 

But now for the regular person-

Steven Sashen:

That’s where I was Going.

Ben Patrick:

… you do those three, and now it’s so much easier not to have back pain and knee pain and these kinds of things. Every step we walk starts with that tibialis. We’re loading it, especially for people in sports where we decelerate like a soccer player, they decelerate through that heel every time, basketball. So that’s part of it, is that if you want to run fast, but you’re always beat up with injuries, it is so hard to run faster. So that’s a huge part of it, is that, if you’re just bulletproofing your body and it’s not you’re in less pain to run, your body’s going to be able to express more of itself, and then that action of sprinting without holding back because of niggling entries…

 

You know what it’s like with those nagging injuries, it’s so much harder to improve speed, jumping, whatever.

Steven Sashen:

Well, my first two years after getting back into sprinting from a 30-year break, I was getting injured constantly. And so that was really annoying as hell. But I vividly remember, once that got better, and some of it actually came from doing those traditional lifts, there’s a coach that I talked to who said, “What can you deadlift?” And I’d never dead lifted before. So I put some weight on a bar, I said, “I was about 250 or so.” He goes, “What do you weigh?” I said, “About 150.” He goes, “Call me when you’re over 300.” I said, “Why?” He goes, “Well, what we’ve seen is once you can deadlift more than twice your body weight, a lot of these problems go away because you’ve got enough strength to handle it.”

 

And once I got over 300, basically the two things that got me from being injured constantly to almost never is getting out of traditional shoes and getting stronger, and that particular lift was a big help. What I’ve been doing with you is a whole different game.

Ben Patrick:

That’s the potential and that’s a huge part of the strength. And what you mention on the deadlift is very well known. And nine out of 10 coaches will be telling you… Actually, I don’t know any coaches saying not to have strong glutes and hip extension, you know what I mean? But then I didn’t know any coaches telling you to also care about your ankle flection with the same care?

Steven Sashen:

No, absolutely not. Absolutely not. So we’ve been talking about athletes, but again we’ve also hinted about how important this is for “normal human beings.” And we started out by talking about bulletproofing and protecting the knees by doing… What you’ve put together is a great collection of body, weight exercises for the quad, specifically the VMO, which is really unusual. Most people have never done that. So that’s one aspect of dealing with the knees. The other aspect is the flip side on the hamstring, on the part behind your knee, basically. But you also then talked about-

Ben Patrick:

And then going down to the ankle and the feet, then it gets so important in the ankle and the feet.

Steven Sashen:

But you also talked about hip problems, back problems. This does go all the way up. So for normal people, talk about just what it is that you’ve put together and how it’s affecting, not just knee strength, which is critically important for just walking around and especially as people get older, but how that relates to backs and hips and all the other, [crosstalk 00:40:04] something bones connected is going on.

Ben Patrick:

Yup. It took me a while, but the conclusion I finally came to is that if we build from the ground up, for example, the stronger your foot gets, you just improved your odds at everything up above it. So a simple way to give an analogy is like, if you stood on top of your house and had to jump off, and if you watch the landing in slow motion, so it starts with the feet. So theoretically, if your feet are strong enough, you could land from anything. Now, whatever the feet can’t handle, it goes into the ankle, whatever the foot and ankle can’t handle then goes into the knee.

 

My program starts with body weight, strengthening the feet and the ankle, and then gradually going up to the knee. And we don’t even start the Nordic until my second program, because it’s such a high force exercise. And there’s no pressure, whatever, time people take, they can see it all from day one and see the progression. But it’s this idea of getting strong through the foot and the ankle, and the shin, and then the knee, and gradually working up to the hips. So the more strength you have coming from the ground up, strength, mobility, I just call this ability.

 

It’s like, “Oh, is that flexibility, or mobility, or strength, or power? For my intents and purposes, I don’t really care. We’re talking about ability, the more ability your feet have, you just… Based on physics, that’s just how this universe works. it’s not an opinion, it’s not something that needs to be studied. They could study what the ramifications are and come up with, “Oh, that makes you 16% less likely to have shin splints.” But it’s all bullshit because that would still be what? 16% for 18-year-old untrained males. It’s all just going to be relative random numbers.

 

If you get stronger from the ground up based on the universe, you’re improving everything up above it. So this concept and gradually reworking the body and getting amazing feet, amazing ankles, amazing shins, knees, hamstrings, hips, it gets a lot easier not to have these things. So people are shedding the painkillers and surgeries at a mad rate just by taking this common sense approach. But everything that I do, it’s maybe you’ve seen it here or there a little bit, but it’s never really been turned into like, “This is the system.” Exact measurable progression, so it’s like anyone can start it, anyone can keep going.

 

You’re in sprinting so you’re already in a pretty progressive field compared to maybe a traditional fitness. But like I describe some of these things, certain body weight exercises just weren’t common or popular, some of them I had to invent a little bit, if you will, and then same with certain equipment as we gradually progressed. So that’s what I use. I use a zero concept, master your body from the ground up. Then I use a dense strength concept.

 

We’re trying to get strong, actually really addressing things that make our tendons and ligaments and spine, and we’re trying to build dense strength. And then my third program is where we get into really now strict measurements of like, “Okay, this is a really good mark for a male. This is really a good mark for a female.” And I like that shit so much, that’s literally all I do now. So now I just spend a week on each and people can even do that on my app. People that just want to do, just keep rotating. I don’t know if I’ll ever train because I’ve kept getting more athletic.

 

I’ve got a crazy six pack, I’ve got leg muscles popping out. I usually do the bare minimum on the upper body, but even the upper body is there depending on how much someone wants or needs. But that’s the overall concept is build from the ground up, not in concept, but in actual number of sets and reps. And if you look at weight programs, even for sprinters and stuff, you won’t usually see that the volume is honest to the physics, and it’s the same with the shoe. And I really want to talk about the shoe because if people look at my social media, they won’t see me doing, “Oh, use my influencer code for this or that.”

 

I have zero influencer codes with any company whatsoever. My equipment list has over 750,000 reads. It’s generated millions of dollars. I haven’t made one penny because I’m just a motherfucking a coach. That’s it. I’m not an influencer. The moment I take money for being an influencer, I am an influencer, whether I like it or not. The moment I take money on YouTube ads, I’m a YouTuber whether I like it or not. I’m not, coach is where I’m happy. And so when I talk about these shoes, it’s because I’m actually wearing them, and in hindsight, it’s really upsetting that this was not even more common.

 

But you’re succeeding, it’s happening, they’re getting more popular. And now when I post about them, I’m seeing people not from your page, just regular people, not from your company saying, “Holy shit, those changed my life.” I’m seeing that same vibe that I try to run my company with, and I’ve been wearing them for every workout now for months. I went through a transition. So I was a basketball player. That means worst of the worst shoes, not to mention worst of all shoes, but then adding all kinds of orthotics. The things like an astronaut boat by the time, you know what I mean?

 

My chronic foot and shin pains were so bad. So as I was going through this process of fixing my knee, but finding out that I actually needed to build from the ground up to have the most bulletproof knee, I also was then like, “Man, my feet are feeling better. I don’t need these thick shoes.” So I started wearing those martial arts shoes, the fairway. And I was like, “This feels a lot better.” But now it’s to the point where my feet are so much stronger, that even that shoe feels too bulky and compressed. And now this has the wider toe box, and now I can run, jump, do all this stuff in these.

 

So you probably have so much more experienced with helping people transition to this, but if anyone’s listening who is coming from really nasty footwear, really nasty foot pains and shin splints and stuff, I didn’t find that it takes that long. And I think that if you’re actually strengthening those areas, then you really shorten the transition time you need. And we’re seeing that every day now, people on my program doing this ground up and then switching to more barefoot shoes and just killing it.

Steven Sashen:

Explodes. Well, first of all, thanks for the kind words. And my wife has a great line. She goes, “There’s enough shoe companies in the world, there’s no reason to start another, unless what you’re doing changes people’s lives.”

Ben Patrick:

Exactly.

Steven Sashen:

And I want to back up a little bit-

Ben Patrick:

And it does.

Steven Sashen:

It does. Foot strength, obviously is near and dear to our heart. And there’s research from Sarah Ridge at BYU showing just walking in truly minimalist footwear, not stuff that the big companies sell with that name because most big companies are not providing the same benefits with their products. But just walking in truly minimalist shoes builds intrinsic foot muscle strength as much as doing a foot strengthening exercise program. But here’s the kicker, I would say I agree with what you’re saying about the importance of foot strength, the one device that… Sarah had to develop something to actually measure foot strength before, during and after for this study they’re doing.

 

But there isn’t a really good device that does that, that not only is a measure, but it’s basically, let’s call it the tip bar for your feet. So there’s definitely something there we’ll have to talk about and see if we can figure out a way to do that. I’ve seen some things that are designed to build strength, but they don’t have that measurable component that you get when you’re loading weight, for example. So we’ll have to power about that.

Ben Patrick:

And to be honest, the feet are so capable compared to most joints. So there’s so many different capabilities within the feet. You know what I mean?

 

And that’s why I think that hitting them from all angles, getting out of stuff that’s going to restrict. My podcast I was on last week was Gait Happens. It’s foot doctors, and they’re a huge fan that I’m wearing the zeros now. And they had a really great analogy, which is, which foot do you think is going to have better balance?

Steven Sashen:

They got that from me.

Ben Patrick:

There you go.

Steven Sashen:

That was my thing, the way I said-

Ben Patrick:

But that made the light bulb. To me, truth is simple. Truth should be simple and you should be able to visually see it. You know what I mean? You should be able to see if something’s true, there shouldn’t be words involved. So if it was just on a screen, which foot is going to have better balance, it just makes it so simple.

Steven Sashen:

The way I describe it for people who aren’t watching, put your fingers together, squeeze your fingers together. That’s one thing, and that’s what your shoes are doing. They’re usually squeezing your toes even more. But if I was going to ask you to drop and do pushups, do you squeeze your fingers together or do you spread them out?

Ben Patrick:

That’s so true.

Steven Sashen:

And everybody just spreads them out, why did you do that?

Ben Patrick:

No one would try to do handstands like this.

Steven Sashen:

Exactly. Same idea. Now, this is my goal, is to keep coming up with these visual metaphors, if you will, that just explain the reality that we all know, but frankly, we’ve been duped to believing other things because someone’s figured out a way of making money by convincing you that you needed whatever that other thing was. And then after 50 years, which is what we have of elevated heel, padded motion and all-flared sole shoes with pointing toes. Everyone thinks that’s what you need, because why would these companies be so successful if it wasn’t that? And it’s the exact opposite, obviously.

 

We’ve had CEOs and VP level people at least three that I can think of multi-billion dollar footwear brands tell people that we know, “Oh yeah, that whole natural movement thing, that’s legit. We just can’t do it because it would be admitting that everything we said is a lie.”

Ben Patrick:

Exactly. And that’s where it’s like I’m the Knees Over Toes Guy, but I understand the non-knees over toes people because I could have been the one who started the trend of adding the bolt footwear and compressing the foot, thinking that it’s somehow protected the feet from life. You know what I mean? I could have been the one who started the trend of don’t let your knees over toes because that puts pressure on your knees. So I get where that is, the tough part then is if you’ve built up an entire business, if you feed your family based on…

 

Now, that being said, I still think that honesty is the way to go, meaning I think that if Nike did just do everything honestly, I think they’d still make just as much money. And I think that-

Steven Sashen:

They’d do better. Actually, they would do better in many, many ways. I don’t want to give them advice on how to run their business, but this is a conversation that I’ve had. It’s like, “Here’s the thing we can produce genuine results instead of just selling an image of, don’t you want to be like this guy?” And that’s a whole different story, but I want to go back up to the very beginning of what we were talking about, which is what tends to happen in these conversations and give people an experience of the difference between knees not over toes, knees over toes.

 

Wait, before I even do that, did you come up with Knees Over Toes Guy? Or did someone name you that and you went, “Oh yeah, that’s good”?

Ben Patrick:

Oh yeah. I meant to tell you that. I used to absolutely hate social media, because I wasn’t on social media and I was a trainer getting phenomenal results, but seeing all these people with millions of followers, with these videos of, “Bang, don’t do this. Bang, don’t do that.” But it hit a certain point where I realized that I just wasn’t being tough enough, and if I was really going to make a difference, I was going to have to go on social media. But that’s how little of a F cared about social media is that I said, “If all I accomplished with my social media is every day trying to bust this myth of no knees over toes and educate people on how to get there safely, then that would be a success for me.

 

So to be quite honest, my career has been a success. Actually, it really worked that name even though I set it up with I don’t give F attitude, I’ll be the knees over toes guy. My wife thought it was ridiculous. You know what I mean? And she still… Hey babe. She says she still does even though she’s knees over toes girl, which I didn’t, people probably think I made her do that, but she just one day had the idea herself.

Steven Sashen:

That’s like a superhero duo.

Ben Patrick:

She still laughs at it. But I was okay with accomplishing that purpose of trying to enlighten people to have the data on it and then let them make their own conclusions. So I said, “Okay, my career is going to be dedicated to working on this myth.”

Steven Sashen:

Let’s give people an experience, and I have an idea. You tell me if you want to do another one. My idea is basically just doing a lunge thing. So just straddle on a normal lunge knees not over toes. So you’re just dropping down and you want to keep your knee basically over your heel. So you’re doing it your way. So do me a favor, set it up so that people can walk through doing it the traditional way, the safe way air quotes around that, and then how to do it your way.

Ben Patrick:

I would definitely show it if I had some space, but also people are listening.

Steven Sashen:

People are listening. Yeah. This is a challenge. Go for it.

Ben Patrick:

If you get in a normal lunge stance, you’ve got these nice like 90-degree angles, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that position. So it’s not you want to be weak in that position.

Steven Sashen:

Wait, I’m backing up, I’m going to do the bending English translation. So let’s start with just take your left foot for the front of it and step out in front of you, so your left foot is about maybe three feet in front of your right foot, obviously shoulder width apart. And the normal technique is just drop straight down so that you end up with a 90-degree angle in your front foot, 90 degrees at your ankle, 90 degrees at your knee, 90 degrees of your hip and your back leg, basically same thing. So when you just drop straight down, that’s called the normal way.

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. So now my goal for people is to take that position, but then to keep lunging forward so that the front hamstring completely covers the calf muscle without the back knee touching the floor.

Steven Sashen:

And ideally with the front heel on the floor as well, that’s the frame.

Ben Patrick:

That’s kind of a long-term progression of it.

Steven Sashen:

I’m just going again

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. And it’s my all-time favorite exercise because you’re able to get into a full squat. You’re in a full squat on the front leg and you’re damn near doing the splits on the back leg. And so I show in tons of videos, I have a really good front splits. I can do front splits on either leg any time of day, but it’s because my strength training is taking me through that hip flexor front split range. And then I mentioned, I do other things to lengthen the hamstring. So that is a very tough test for someone to be able to…

 

If I just said, you have to get your front leg hamstring to completely cover the calf without the heel lifting off the floor, which is a long-term progression, you can start with it lifting up, without the back knee touching the floor, but to get to the long-term progression, you’d have to have very elite ankle mobility, very elite ability to bend your knees. And we’re not just doing one side, we’re going to train both sides. So you’d end up with very elite balance between legs. But that balance is just a bigger factor of the strength, meaning athletes are injured all the time and they find out that the strength differential from one side to the other was over 15% or whatever, is the rule they use.

 

So just because you’re a strong and explosive athlete, it’s almost the more explosive you are, the more likely you are to develop bigger imbalances. So you still see some of the freakiest athletes with these blowout injuries. So they have such an imbalance that then they get into an awkward position and one leg can’t handle it. So you’d have elite ankle mobility, and the better your ankle mobility, it allows you to use and develop all those muscles of your feet, lower legs knees with the balance between sides and with pretty elite hip flexor length which what are we doing right now?

 

I don’t know about you, I’m sitting and I’m okay with spending a bunch of times sitting because I do that exercise every week. So I even think for back pain and knee pain, if you just lengthen out those hip flexors, you just give your knees more room to move and you stop putting your back into this compressed position all the time. So the shortened hip flexors is one of those massive societal problems that we almost all have these short and stiff hip flexors. Then we’re trying to beat on it with different massages or whatever and static stretching, which is okay.

 

But when you actually load an area that you’re in control, that you’re not just passively pushing it, that you’re actually handling the load, you create four times more injury reduction. And you can actually create real lengthening to an area that you don’t just stiffen right back up, stiffen right back up, stiffen right back up. So if you’re strong through a range, you start to really own that range and lengthen out the area.

Steven Sashen:

It’s a misunderstanding that people have, let’s see use ballet dancers. They think, “Oh, they’re really flexible.” They are. But part of the way they develop the flexibility is the strength that it takes to say, lift your leg up to your face. And so there are a number of people who’ve been famous for doing side splits between chairs, and all the people who do that, Jujimufu is probably the most famous lately. And Jujimufu also very confused. They’ll say, “No, no, I didn’t work to getting flexible, I worked on getting strong at lifting my legs into that position. And that way I can sit there.” Like you said, I can own that. I can control that.

 

One of the things that’s great about your program is that you have the quote regressions for, “Here’s what you’re aiming for, but if you can’t get there, here’s what to do to meet you where you are.”

Ben Patrick:

That’s what it’s all about. It’s easy to know where we’re trying to get to, the solution to get there, that’s the value

Steven Sashen:

For the quote, knees over toes lunge that we just talked about, we talked about the end goal, where you’re moving forward enough that your knee is way over your toe, your heel still on the ground, your back knee is off the ground, your hamstring is covering your calf. For people for whom that is too much, and that’s most humans, I will brag, I can do that shit, but regardless, for people who aren’t there yet, give a couple of the regression so that people can go try this and see that it’s frankly not too hard to get in. Again, what I adore about what you’ve done is that you have set it up so that wherever you’re starting, you can start there.

 

Some of these workouts that I mentioned that I love to collect, you’ve got to be pretty elite just to even set them up because they’re crazy, but you have done a brilliant job of designing things so that people can start wherever they are and progress from there.

Ben Patrick:

I appreciate that. Everything we described that we’re trying to get a lead at, so if we start with that ankle mobility, I have people start by letting the heel come up, whatever it has to come up to cover the front hamstring over the calves. Because over time, you’re now going to be able to put attention on lowering it down. And every session that we do that exercise, we actually start with calf raises where the knees are over the toes. We’re loading into our ankle mobility and getting strong with that ankle mobility. So you’re also prepping in a way that each session you’ll feel some improvement in that ankle mobility.

 

And if you think about an ass to grass squat, it’s still very up and down. So it’s not like it’s bad for ankle mobility, but what I’m describing, your body moves diagonally. So you’re actually loading into that ankle mobility. So over time, it’s going to improve and improve as just like what you said we’re getting strong in that range of the ankle. So ankle mobility, go ahead and let your heel come up, whatever it has to at first. Then there’s the strength to pain-free get those hamstrings to cover the calves. You don’t have that pain-free strength, you put a chair next to you.

 

Lately I’ve found the best one is PVC pipes because you can just take two of them and they give you balance so they can balance you and you can push down to reduce load. And then it’s very easy to just let go of them as you’re able to do it by yourself. So the leg strength, the ankle mobility, those both scale. And then this back leg that’s stretching, oh my hip flexors are too tight for that. Well, now if you elevate the front foot, now you just changed the angle of the back hip flexor to whatever you can handle. So simply by jocking those three factors, your hip flexor length, your ankle mobility and your pain-free knee strength, then you’re able to work that at whatever level.

 

And that’s how I came up with that is because that’s where I had to start. And then by working with people in person, working with lots of elderly and stuff, that’s exactly where we would have to start. And what’s funny is, if you’re training some six-foot 10 guy who has terrible knee pain, oftentimes, some of these young, super tall basketball players have knees as weak as the grandmas, quite literally. In some cases, the grandmas have stronger knees relatively than the super tall basketball player. So no wonder they’re in chronic pain and icing all the time and having surgeries all the time.

 

So that paves the way that you can be seven foot three, or naturally, you could already do everything I’m talking about and be able to handle weights. It’d still be a good idea to get really grouped in body weight first until that’s really stable, but now for me, that’s how I’ve gotten to where I can jump so high, it’s because I took that, a real bulletproofing exercise, but I didn’t just leave it as a mobility drill. That is my primary squat. So now I try to keep getting stronger in that position as opposed to just going back to the traditional…

 

A lot of people are succeeding by using that to supplement their traditional stuff. I have to just stay on this stuff and see where that gets me, but I just helped a guy squat over 1,000 pounds recently, he was stuck at 875, a powerlifter. He’s a well-known world level powerlifter, which you have to squat over 1,000 to compete at the top level of powerlifting. He’s 300 pounds and he’s been training for it his whole life. And he was stuck at 875 with knee pain. So he has that powerlifting squat, so he used the ATG split-squat and these other ankle drills in order to restore pain-free ability to express that strength. And now he shot up over 1,000 pounds, no knee pain.

 

So I’m not going to go back to traditional lifting, I have to just stay living what I’m doing. Plus, my sport is basketball, my muscle mass is very normal and on par with what a pro body should be like for basketball. If I was going to pursue a different sport, then I would make dietary changes or perhaps add more traditional lifts for putting on muscle mass. So these sessions are 30 minutes long, you could add it to something else. Also by me just living them, I’m always fine tuning and improving them, whereas if I just now tried to go off and do something else, I wouldn’t want to leave my product behind. That’s what saved me. That’s what’s helped people. So I’m okay with just staying in that zone.

Steven Sashen:

God, I had two thoughts, just bumped into each other and they disappeared. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. And that was really crazy. Obviously, one of the things about YouTube that I find fascinating and annoying as crap is how many people are profiting by just commenting on other people who have stuff that’s doing well. So the number of people who showed up lately to have their opinion about what you’re doing, you’re trying to keep up with, not that you’re doing this, but it’s as if you’re trying to keep up and make more videos than they can make about your videos.

Ben Patrick:

Fortunately I’ve never opened up a single one of those. And some people have even said that, “Oh wow, that video is actually complimentary.” But with the thumbnail, I’m just trying to upload my videos and I’m looking on the side and it’s like, “Knees Over Toes Guy exposed.” It’s just like, “What the fuck are you exposing?” But I’m like, “Ugh, I’m just not even going to click on that.”

Steven Sashen:

I’ll tell you, I’ve watched a couple of them, not because I wanted to see whether they were agreeing with you or disagreeing with you-

Ben Patrick:

Trust me, I want to watch them, it’s very intriguing.

Steven Sashen:

Don’t bother.

Ben Patrick:

I’m not going to.

Steven Sashen:

But the reason I watched was because I’m just curious to see how well people think. I’m just curious to see are they actually applying anything having to do with reality and/or physics? I did a rant on my podcast why more people need to know physics. And the gist is because if you understood physics, you wouldn’t be swayed by the completely ridiculous demonstrations that most shoe companies use to show how good their shoes are, which have no application in reality. The whole thing with maximalist shoes, the physics on this is really easy.

 

We know that to run faster, you need more force in the ground at the right angle, and we don’t know how to do that, but we know it can reduce force spreading it out of a more distance and making it apply slower. And the one thing that reliably does both of those is cushioning. End of story. There’s no way. You can’t violate the laws of physics.

Ben Patrick:

Have you seen a track shoe? It’s the most minimalist thing ever.

Steven Sashen:

Exactly. And people say, “Yeah, but that’s for sprinters.” Yeah, it doesn’t matter if you go back to the ’60s, the distance runners were wearing the same thing.

Ben Patrick:

You get it and it’s based on physics. And that was one of the best pieces of advice I ever got. You know what I mean? Don’t go study the studies, go study physics and you’ll create something way better than what exists.

Steven Sashen:

More what you’ll do is you’ll be able to understand where people have a bias or a vested interest or design something wrong, because look, most of the studies coming out on footwear in particular are being done in labs sponsored by big shoe companies because they have the cash.

Ben Patrick:

That’s the trouble with studies, man. Someone came out with the stat on it that seven times more money was being spent on all the acceleration muscles than the deceleration muscles, yet the overwhelming majority of knee injuries happen when you’re decelerating, overwhelming knee injuries almost never happen accelerating. It’s almost all decelerating, but the money’s all going… So no, there’s no study on strengthening your tibialis, there’s no study on the ATG, the Ass To Grass split squat, which is my favorite exercise of all time.

Steven Sashen:

It’s really impressive. It’s a fake out because you don’t think it’s going to… For me at least, I feel it more in my VMO until the next day when I feel it in my glute. And in real time, I feel it my VMO.

Ben Patrick:

The more you lengthen the hip flexor, the more potential you have to develop the glute. So that’s why it’s a wonderful foundation even for the people who want to go drive up the deadlift or something. If you pair the dead now with some of these other things, now you can drive up the deadlift without potential ramifications and really harnessing that into athleticism.

Steven Sashen:

I’ve got to ask you a completely unrelated question. Oh, wait, you’re holding up the Xero Shoes, so talk.

Ben Patrick:

I love the shoes so damn much. You can see I’ve been beating the hell out of them. And I actually got these. I actually just went to REI.

Steven Sashen:

Really?

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. I just went to REI and picked up a pair. And now by the time I went back, they were completely sold out. And now later today I’m checking to see if they have any backend stock. And of course I’ll order, but I told you I’d been traveling around and stuff. So I love to be able to stop into store.

Steven Sashen:

I know a guy who knows a guy who could hook you up.

Ben Patrick:

I buy everything full price myself. I love supporting businesses.

Steven Sashen:

I appreciate it. Here’s the unrelated question because many people have fantasized about something that you have done. What was it being on Rogan?

Ben Patrick:

I was already chatting with him, so it didn’t come out of completely out of nowhere. But when he started shouting my stuff out, it was really funny, I think, how the universe works, that I was taking all these measures to train other coaches in what I do. And so what’s funny is had he shouted me out any earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to handle the demand smoothly with my same response time. And I was doing this all for free, which is hilarious. So there’s someone can get trained in what I do and its own organization with my mentor who I completely trust.

 

I didn’t want to break up what I was doing, but I was the demand I thought was going to be coming in for making these coaches. So it was a super smooth transition. It boomed the business a ton. I told them how grateful I was. Definitely don’t invite me on the podcast because I need to focus on handling this right now. So you won’t see me on Rogan anytime soon, but what we have going is really, really good. And I just want to keep improving the tech of it. There’s so many things that someone might not look at when you’re running an online business that just takes work to deliver it.

Steven Sashen:

Well, FYI, the tech that you’re currently using was developed by a friend of mine.

Ben Patrick:

No way. That’s awesome.

Steven Sashen:

He sold the company right before you started using the product. And I reached out to him and said, “Dude, check this out.”

Ben Patrick:

Yeah, it’s phenomenal stuff, but we just want to keep… Tech is only going to be improving, so I have my own full-time web developers who have even been expanding on what they do. So he’s even been making integrations within that. But Rogan changed my life, my family’s life, my staff’s life. So super freaking grateful for that. And I think it just goes to show that if your business is really built on changing lives, and if it does change lives and you have a fair value for the lives you’re changing, things will work out.

 

You don’t have any people I’ve told no to different “opportunities” to keep my integrity in, and then Rogan shouts me out. You know what I mean? That was super, super lucky. I happened to go help someone that he happened to know, you know what I mean? That I had, I had no reason to help this person, there was no finances in it for me helping this person, I didn’t know that Rogan knew them. You know what I mean? And so that then created the connection. So if someone out there is starting their own business, that’s definitely my advice is change lives first and business will follow.

Steven Sashen:

A friend of mine who’s a very well-known psychologist, he’s been writing books and doing his thing for geez, how long have I known him? 30 plus years. He’s been doing it for longer than that. Someone asked him, “How did you become a millionaire?” He goes, “It’s easy, figure out a way to improve people’s lives, and then charge the a little bit of money for it.”

Ben Patrick:

Yep. Brilliant. And that’s what your shoes is. The moment I tried it, I was like, “I completely got it.” It changes life, you’ve helped popularize this whole movement that you’re not going to monopolize the market even if you deserve to monopolize the market, it’s just not necessarily how it’s going to work, nor is that probably your goal, but you’re going to be taken very freaking well of just by focusing on your own product.

Steven Sashen:

Here’s the likelihood, this happened in previous-

Ben Patrick:

Nike is going to copy you, but the real people are still going to buy your shit. You know what I mean?

Steven Sashen:

And I’m not even sure that they will, because what we saw in 2010 was many of the companies coming out with “minimalist” products. And then they pulled them off the market because they couldn’t justify two stories that were so conflicting. But if they do, people say, “Well, can’t the big companies take what your idea?” I go, “Yeah. And that’d be awesome because it would improve the value of what we’re doing. It would help everybody.” I hear a rumor there’s more than one company that makes cars and refrigerators, I mean, everything.

 

So we’re trying to just make this a movement where eventually this is going to be the norm instead of things that look this. So that’s my goal. And if I can help make that happen before I die, that’ll be awesome.

Ben Patrick:

It’s happening. Your goals, it’s happening. I swear, in the last five years or so, the amount of change, it’s actually happening. So many people-

Steven Sashen:

We’re seeing it and it’s really fun because there’s so many people who never believed me. And your video just shut off there, you are back. So people didn’t believe me for years and now they’re starting to, and I think by next year, the numbers will make it just impossible for anyone to ignore, which is going to be fun.

Ben Patrick:

And there’s a reason they’re completely sold out, but every other brand is in stock. So you’re still ahead, people are still catching up to it.

Steven Sashen:

A way ahead. We saw something on the Nike website that if you looked at it, you would think it was one of our shoes. There’s a company in Europe that’s sort of the REI of Europe. They completely took an idea from me. If you hold the sauce up next to each other, literally stole them olds. And then we’re seeing that a lot. And I don’t mind because it just, again, validates what we’re doing. And I know that if everyone’s trying to take one little idea of ours, they can’t take the whole thing. That’s not going to happen.

 

But what we are looking for, the simple thing is we’re always looking for ways of just… It’s simple, it’s the experience. It’s just getting more people to have the same experience that you did. And that’s what transmits, that’s what moves out. That’s how the whole business has grown. I always say, “If you don’t like people, don’t wear Xero Shoes because strangers will come up and want to talk to you about your shoes.” We have one Craigslist misconnection where someone says, “I saw you wearing Xero Shoes on the bus and I didn’t have mine so I was too embarrassed to say hi. Please respond.”

 

And we’re waiting for our first Xero Shoes meet Q-

Ben Patrick:

Xero Shoes connections, I love it.

Steven Sashen:

Xero Shoes romcom.

Ben Patrick:

That’s awesome.

Steven Sashen:

We’ve made it when that happens, when we’ve got the-

Ben Patrick:

It’s happening because people are reaching out, they’re like, “No way, dude. You like Xero Shoes, I like Xero Shoes.”

Steven Sashen:

There’s a funny one. Do you know Tony Horton?

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. Of course, yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Tony is same thing, is living in Xero Shoes. And the other day I’m in a restaurant picking up dinner, and as I tend to be more often than not in bare feet, and a guy walks up to me, he goes, “Hey, you’re Steven Sashen?” I go, “Yeah.” He goes, “Yeah, I’m in Tony Horton’s thing.” And so he went on and on on that call. Tony went, “Tell your people to leave me alone.”

Ben Patrick:

Well, that’s awesome.

Steven Sashen:

That was great.

Ben Patrick:

I took my wife out for dinner last night, and the host was freaking out because he saw my name and he’s on my Zero Program right now. So I run into all these wild little universe connections.

Steven Sashen:

It’s very funny, I think your YouTube fame will greatly eclipse mine, but there’s times where I’m in high school track meets and there’ll be three groups of people. One group recognizes me from being on Shark Tank. One group recognize me from being in YouTube. And one group recognizes me from Xero Shoes.

Ben Patrick:

And Shark Tank is absolutely massive.

Steven Sashen:

It’s huge. Well, here’s the thing. We come up with our foot strengthening thing, we get you on Shark Tank, and then we have more fun.

Ben Patrick:

IT sounds good. We have no choice, but to keep going.

Steven Sashen:

I know, it’s true. Well, although we have no choice, but to bring this one to a close, so do me a favor. I know people are probably already looking for you, but tell them the easiest way to find you and what you’re doing.

Ben Patrick:

Yeah. So my only product is atgonlinecoaching.com. ATG is short for Athletic Truth Group, but it’s also Ass To Grass You know what I mean? So atgonlinecoaching.com, but anything I’ve mentioned or talked about, there’s videos on my YouTube, the Knees Over Toes Guy. And then there’s even bite-sized data on Instagram @kneesovertoesguy. And if anyone listening to this is on TikTok, yeah, I’m also on TikTok, Knees Over Toes Guy. Hopefully you don’t lose my respect for me on that one.

 

Actually, my last little piece of advice that might help someone is if you’re going to make a piece of content for YouTube, you might as well take a piece of that for Instagram and TikTok, and then you handled your post right there. I’ve had so many viral video, I’ve never made a piece of content for TikTok. I simply take something that I already have and just post it.

Steven Sashen:

I call TikTok the platform for strippers who can’t find a pole.

Ben Patrick:

It’s tough. It’s tough, but I’ve saved some knees now off TikTok. But I don’t even look at the comments, I just make the posts and I tell people, check out the YouTube or the Instagram or the site.

Steven Sashen:

I love it. Well, that’s a whole other conversation that we’ll have to have. Anyway, Ben, thank you, A, so much for having this conversation. Of course, for everything else that you’re doing. There’s nothing I like more than people who are providing genuine help, but of course, there’s nothing I like more than that than people who are doing it by breaking out of the mythology and propaganda that we’ve been living under for decades, and doing it legitimately. It’s not that we’re just being contrarian, we’re actually ironically, we’re going back to the way it was done for millennia, and just no one ever knew.

 

And then someone tried to codify some other thing and put their name on it, and losing bad ideas sometimes spread really, really well. So congratulations.

Ben Patrick:

Well, I appreciate you. I’m building up my own podcast, so once it’s decent, I’d love to have you on there because I wanted to ask you a lot, but I know that people listening probably already know the answers to those questions. So I’d love to bring you on and have you break down feet and footwear, not to mention master sprinting, I think would inspire a lot of people, but particularly to break down the feet on my podcast would be awesome because you’re going to be talking to people who get it.

Steven Sashen:

First of all, thanks. It will be a pleasure. And here’s the thing, at 30, at your age, everything’s still really fun and people pay attention. I’m just getting past the age where people just ignored me completely. And now I’m getting to the age where I’m an inspiration, and I have very mixed feelings about that.

Ben Patrick:

To me it seems like you’re embracing each phase of life.

Steven Sashen:

I get a kick out of it. My favorite thing is to go to a high school track meet where they’re having automated timing. And if it’s an open meet, I’ll go race. And they’ll usually put me in with a bunch of the high school guys, and I’ll beat a lot of them. And then I walk up to them and go, “Hey, I’m older than your dad.” And I wait to see which ones get inspired by that to come and kick my butt the next time, because they’re going to be really interesting and I want to help them. And the ones who just get to. Eh, okay, come on.

Ben Patrick:

That’s so cool. Well, it happens one person at a time.

Steven Sashen:

Absolutely it does. So speaking of one person at a time, for the one person who you are here listening to this, thank you for being here. A reminder, go to www.join… Did I add an extra W? Anyway, three of those Ws. You know what it is, jointhemovementmovement.com. You’ll find all the places you can get the podcast, all the previous episodes, all the play ways you can interact with us, including dropping me an email if you have a request or a question, someone you think should be on the show, just send an email to move@jointhemovementmovement.com.

 

If you want to check out Xero Shoes, go to xeroshoes.com, X-E-R-Oshoes.com. Although if you accidentally type in Z, you’ll still get to us as well. But most importantly, go out, have fun.

Ben Patrick:

Don’t go to any Los Angeles area REIs, all right? Leave my Xero Shoes alone.

Steven Sashen:

We’re getting stuff back in stock. But again, go out, have fun, live life, be fun.

 

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