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Knees extended over toes
Old 07-23-2009, 11:47 AM   #1
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Knees extended over toes

I've heard that when you exercise you should not extend your knees past the toes (lunges, etc.) since it's bad for the knees. I've noticed when I climb stairs that I always extend my knee past my toes. I really have to concentrate in order to NOT extend my knees past my toes. But, when I do, my knees don't hurt in climbing the stairs. Am I the only dummy that doesn't have proper form for stair climbing? Really makes me wonder what else I'm doing to harm myself.
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:18 PM   #2
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Just tried my stairs, and I could hardly make it without extending my knees past my toes. It's too unnatural, and if I forced myself I would probably make something else go out.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:19 PM   #3
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IMHO it a balance thing. Has to do with stability. At least in the Jutsu martial arts. It is far easier to maintain balance, change directions if your knees are not over/beyond toes. After many years of practice the slightly bent knee business becomes automatic.

Ronin may have some comments on the bent knee thing in terms of Aikido.

The many times DW dragged me to ballroom dance classes, the instructors generally counseled to not bend knees past the toes. Again that balance thing.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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I wonder if that's like "you must drink 8 glasses of water a day"--not true for many situations, but originally true in a limited capacity and then extended as a universal rule.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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I wonder if that's like "you must drink 8 glasses of water a day"--not true for many situations, but originally true in a limited capacity and then extended as a universal rule.
The 8 glasses of water thing is misinterpreted. It includes water from all sources including food e.g. water in pasta sauces; soup.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:48 PM   #6
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I've heard that when you exercise you should not extend your knees past the toes (lunges, etc.) since it's bad for the knees. I've noticed when I climb stairs that I always extend my knee past my toes. I really have to concentrate in order to NOT extend my knees past my toes. But, when I do, my knees don't hurt in climbing the stairs. Am I the only dummy that doesn't have proper form for stair climbing? Really makes me wonder what else I'm doing to harm myself.

A general guideline in life is: The only absolute is that there are no absolutes. (This does not apply to certain scientific disciplines.)

Knees Over Toes MYTH

In a study titled, “How many clueless aerobic instructors and personal trainers still follow this archaic nonsense,” done by The Journal of Stupidity, it was shown that a vast majority of fitness professionals still believe the above myth to be true. Matter of fact, the same study showed that many fitness professionals would rather see you club a baby seal (that’s just mean) than witness your knees project over your toes while under their supervision.

Needless to say, they’re wrong. Sarcasm aside, having the knees project over the toes is perfectly normal and occurs quite frequently in everyday life. Just ask anyone who participates in football, karate, dance, or mudwrestling. Heck, try walking up a flight of stairs without your knees going over your toes. Despite all of this, many fitness professionals still claim that the knees going over the toes during weight bearing exercise is dangerous. I’ll even go so far as to say that this guideline has assumed the stature of law in the aerobics world.

In past writings, both Eric Cressey and Alwyn Cosgrove have referenced one study which kinda debunks this whole myth.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:48 PM   #7
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The fact you ARE exercising is good enough......
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:57 PM   #8
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I just did some research and found this link. Sounds like there has been some changes in the last 30 years. But, my knees don't hurt when I don't extend them...but a very unnatural thing for me to do.

Knee Movement & Proper Form during Lunge Exercises
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:59 PM   #9
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You beat me Dex.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:27 PM   #10
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Hey, if it hurts, don't do it.
I think a problem with the extension thing is that lots of people don't have the strength and balance to control where the knee is going past that point.

When your feet are going one way and your knees another - now THAT is baaaaddd.

ta,
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:10 PM   #11
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Am I the only dummy that doesn't have proper form for stair climbing? Really makes me wonder what else I'm doing to harm myself.
Proper form on the steps (plus strengthening exercises) makes a big difference when you're recovering from a knee injury. I still find myself avoiding steps & staircases even though I recovered months ago.

Dr. Bookspan tends to be pretty zealous & emphatic, but she knows biomechanics:
Better Exercise on the Stairs
Down the Stairs

Her index is here:
The Fitness Fixer - blog index
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Old 07-24-2009, 04:53 PM   #12
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Nords, thanks for the links. I have some reading to do. One of the things mentioned on the knee link was standing upright in climbing the stairs thus keeping the knee in alignment with the toes (not extended over them). Every time I go to my basement, I try to remember to experiment. I think if my stair treads were deeper, it would help, especially if you have big FEET like mine.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:01 PM   #13
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I think if my stair treads were deeper, it would help, especially if you have big FEET like mine.
Ah, a submarine ladder-- twist slightly to one side and do crossovers.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:41 PM   #14
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Knees extending past your toes? I have a hard enough time trying to keep my toes from extending past my head!

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Old 07-25-2009, 07:12 AM   #15
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There is a difference between the real world and the exercise world. One of the reason you don't want to extend your knees passed you toes while exercising is the mucsle group you are targeting. The general idea and goal is to squat like you are sitting on a chair to hit the quadraceps hard. By moving your knees forward you take the stress of the quads and make what ever exercise you are doing a little less effective. It also has a tendency to help you not lose your balance, which in the end can keep you from injuring yourself.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:58 AM   #16
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Knees extending past your toes? I have a hard enough time trying to keep my toes from extending past my head!
Next time I go to the basement, I might try your method.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:01 AM   #17
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It also has a tendency to help you not lose your balance, which in the end can keep you from injuring yourself.
Yeah...I understand about the balance thing. I hang on to the railing while playing on my stairs. Geez...I must be really weird in retirement to "play" on my stairs.
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Old 07-25-2009, 02:01 PM   #18
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Knees extending past your toes? I have a hard enough time trying to keep my toes from extending past my head!
Bet you would've kept your balance if you'd been carrying a beer!
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