Is Knees Over Toes Guy Overrated? An Interview with Ben Patrick
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Is Knees Over Toes Guy Overrated?
I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Knees Over Toes Guy, Ben Patrick, to ask a few questions. It was a great experience. Here is what I learned and a summation of what he said.
First, I learned that an athlete training with Ben with a sports performance mindset needs to focus on specific techniques. I also learned how disciplined Ben is. When he picked my crew and me up from the airport, Ben gave us a very processed-oriented perspective of what to expect that day. Ben’s specificity and regimental approach create a step-by-step process that bleeds into everything he does. This is how Ben makes every single movement accessible to most able-body athletes to perform.
So I asked Ben, what led you to get to that point?
Ben’s answer? “The blessing was being a shit athlete. And being stubborn and thinking I’d somehow be able to dunk a basketball.” Ben likes simple programming. In trying to learn how to dunk a basketball, he analyzed everything that contributed to a successful dunk and turned that into a program. Our workout had only three parts, simple sets and reps, and it addressed the physiology of what it takes to create adaptations and change the body through stimulus.
The sled takes time to adapt. Ben stressed how important it was to do the movement correctly for adaptation to occur. In the next part, we went to tap out our accessory movements. Most people don’t do that. That was the session, which is basically a guarantee of physiological change. And as Ben said, “I am learning how to teach that to anyone. That takes a lot of experience with different body types.”
To Ben’s point, I noticed everything is purposeful. The manner and thought process of doing the movements felt technical, even with easy movements to technically perform. The cues on how to perfectly execute that go a long way. That was a big “A-ha!” movement for me. As Ben said, “I need to create workouts that lead to explosiveness on the basketball court and not lead to pain. The effort better gives me some results.”
I talked about how and when to fit these movements into training. I found it as a plug-and-play where movements like the sled won’t beat athletes up. I see the ATG system as a supplement to whatever is being done for sports, but also the principles and lessons Ben stresses can be its own system as well. Ben’s comment, “I do it as my own system. But the purpose is to help for every other system to develop further skills they need.”
Ben said, “I needed to develop a training system that wouldn’t burn him out for basketball, but his training would make him better on the court.” The system, especially for an Olympic lifter, is intended to be an accessory system to not leave the most common weak links unaddressed. The system is also designed to get the body to heal faster.
We then talked about Charles Poliquin. I noticed a lot of Ben’s stuff developed from Charles, but Ben is taking it a step further. Ben, in my opinion, is taking concepts and saying we have to do things overhead, knees over toes, and using the back when lifting because Ben is basically saying that’s not how the body works.
Ben stated, “I think Poliquin is the greatest genius in training ever.” He talked about taking the principles and making them as simple as possible. Ben joked, “Someone once called me Poliquin for Dummies.” He was very thankful for that since that was his goal. Applying Poliquin to his body and trying to make it not scary for his parents, elderly people, he had to figure out how to make the contribution of taking stuff that has won gold medals for people and applying it to the most fragile people out there.
I then wanted to ask Ben some things about him personally. I want people to know what type of individual he is, especially his specificity to what he does.
I started by asking him about his daily rituals. Ben said he wakes up, showers, and takes his dog for a walk. While walking, he looks at his script for the day that was prepped the day before to visualize his lines and make sure they are the way he wants them. He goes from finishing one day’s work and goes prepping for tomorrow. He does that in a listed note to prepare for the day. He also talked about drinking some instant coffee. He has been doing this for years. He also stressed the walk is a pretty solid distance. Noting that his creative energy is the highest in the morning, his freshest mental time, so he doesn’t stress his scripts the day before but gets himself prepared.
I find motivation from Ben as a business owner and content creator. So I asked him does he sit down and make a daily goal, a monthly goal, quarterly goal, yearly goal, or just go by the seat of his pants? Ben said he isn’t necessarily about listing goals, but definitely deliberate, priding himself on using statistics. He doesn’t want to just get lucky naturally, trying to turn odds to his favor by looking at the statistics on YouTube. He researches on YouTube for people who succeed and resonate with him. He talked about two different channels and looked at what they were doing. They were doing short videos and copied the stats of what is working for people. And then Joe Rogan reaches out. More important, he tracks the stats relentlessly and is planned out as well as he can be.
So I next asked him what is it he wants to do to keep him striving. Ben said it was initially it was how much he could get out of a sled and trying to popularize it. Or the same thing with the ATG split squat. Getting that awareness was part of it, but getting it correctly applies Ben says he is just getting started. He wakes up every day to educate, educate, educate. Education is his passion through coaching and fitness is his personal hobby. Ben voices he still has a lot of work to do.
He also says he will have further goals. He lists things that he is appreciative of to keep himself motivated and driving. When that appreciation is taken care of coupled with a big goal to go after, Ben says he finds himself happiest. Big goals help with long-term happiness.
We then started talking about Ben’s long-term vision. Ben doesn’t plan out long term a ton. But he did note he wants to develop more equipment to make things easier to do. He talked about having an app come out to make it maximally user-friendly and how to have the best certification for coaches to give them the best possible system to know the system inside and out. The idea is to sure up all the weak links.
I then asked Ben what is the biggest failure he had that he learned from and grew. Ben said, “Probably when I ran my gym, I struggled to charge people. I was not a good gym owner in that sense. I would just take anyone and train them. I was in the trenches trying to make the best program. Fortunately, I didn’t feel the money side because I was trying to make a great system and help people and I was in my early 20’s.” He talked about having athletes move away from the gym but wanted to still do the posted workouts. So Ben went to an all-online workflow. Ben said being a shitty gym owner around finances, sales techniques, and any of that stuff, allowed him to train people all day every day, viewing himself as a gym owner failure but it being a blessing in disguise.
My penultimate question went around diet and nutrition. Ben joked about opening up the comments that turn up on videos around diet and nutrition. Ben says he eats mainly meat and fruit. His problem with vegetables has to do with many of them not having many calories. The number one thing he did is get rid of every having a cheat meal, noting he has gone 400 days without a cheat meal at the time of the interview. He also spoke about not engaging with entertainment through screens. Ben also brought up the caveat of having a balance, especially with kids as a dad. It is okay to watch a movie with your child and it is okay to go get ice cream. The trick is to have it under your control.
Ben ended with some sage advice about putting more effort into creating more successful people long-term by doing the work in the present. He also ended by being super appreciative.
Yo, It's Dane
Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!
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