- Nothing Necessary!
- (For the ROKP Warm-Up Options: a Cheap Sled works great!)
- (For the optional Upper Body Zero on Tuesdays/Thursdays: RINGS and Band are all it takes!)
- The Nordic Bar or Bench
- The Tib Bar
- Aerobic Steppers
- Gymnastic Mat
- (Optional Floss Bands if desired as “Knee Magic?” Warm-Up For Friday’s VMO Squat Session)
Let’s dive in!
Knee Ability ZERO requires… NOTHING! :)
And for the 10-minute ROKP (Reverse Out Knee Pain) Warm-Up, the two most common ways of adding resistance would be:
- Using a treadmill not turned on (aka “Deadmill” — there’s a good up-to-date look at it in this video), and…
- My overall favorite option — a sled — can be purchased for just 50 bucks and give a lifetime of gains!
In Knee Ability DENSE STRENGTH we progressively add load and equipment…
The VMO Squat can be done without a Slantboard, but I like using one since it allows me to stay more focused on the movement. The video link in the previous sentence shows visuals of no Slantboard, makeshift Slantboard, and Slantboard. I simply get much better knee and leg gains when I use a Slantboard, than when I don’t.
Additionally, a Slantboard can add additional gains to your Reverse Step Up by allowing you to more smoothly perform the Poliquin Step Up. This video shows how the exercise can be done with or without slantboard.
I use the Slantboard from Slantboardguy.com because it has the optimal angle and grip, while being lightweight. I also love the customized aspect because little pieces of motivation make a real difference to me when I’m training.
If you need to take your Slantboard with you to and from the gym, Mr1nf1n1ty.com sells a thinner, foldable Slantboard.
There is no right or wrong answer: only what suits your lifestyle. And I have ZERO financial ties to either of the above Slantboards or any other product in this article. I even insist on paying full-price, going behind their backs and paying without any discount. This ensures I live 100% honestly. As soon as money enters the equation, so too can BIAS. Keeping in this policy prevents any breaches of integrity on my part, and the best possible gains for YOU.
Knee Ability ZERO prepares you for the Nordic, as shown in this video. Nordic progression is then begun on Fridays in DENSE STRENGTH.
Nordic equipment options begin with Nordic Straps, a concept I came up with and promoted a couple years ago. Slantboardguy.com, Mr1nf1n1ty.com, and thehammystrap.com are now selling them! I have no preference. I’ve seen all 3 being used successfully!
I used to have quite a few other options (click here to see them), but now I only need to mention one other: The Nordic Bar! While more expensive than the Nordic Strap, it is a fraction of the cost of a full Nordic Bench, while providing the EXACT same feel, AND being easily portable! If you’re a pro athlete or gym owner, get both the bar for travel and the bench for staying in one place!
Click here to see it in action! I was among the first customers and ordered quite a few of them actually, for my ATG staff and for my friends here in LA. I’ll be a repeat buyer, because there’s no better gift I can give people than the gift of health and prevention of costly surgeries. Same goes for the Slantboard above. I ordered a bunch of ’em for the ATG staff and for my friends and I’ll never stop! Other people can buy you an Xbox. I’ll buy my friends the gift of bulletproofing.
Now throughout your ATG training journey, there is the matter of training your hip-flexors. This video shows my Top 4 current means of training them, and you’ll notice a new development: MonkeyFeet! These finally provide an affordable way of loading your hip-flexors with measurable accuracy, and the user-friendliness and portability is unparalleled!
Again, there is no right or wrong answer in terms of what you should spend your money on: only what suits YOU and your life. Keep in mind that the fitness equipment industry is an EXPENSIVE one, and everything I have presented so far in this article actually saves you tremendous amounts of money compared to what I originally spent as a gym owner.
A single new treadmill costs more than my entire home gym.
In fact, the ENTIRE ATG system can be done entirely from home with a very affordable gym even by HOME GYM standards!
So yes, I will be using my Slantboard, Nordic Bar, Tib Bar, and MonkeyFeet, but if you watch each of their exercise tutorials, you will see that I show equipmentless options for each one! I am here to SERVE, not to push my own profits. That’s why my equipment guides are unique, because I can’t be bought, and because I have zero fitness sources of income whatsoever outside of my ATG membership.
Now in that pictures above, you can already see some other super helpful yet affordable tools. These are usually in gyms already, but if you’re building out your own home gym, here’s my advice:
- “Aerobic Steppers” via Amazon. What’s in stock varies tremendously. All brands work and a bunch of different companies make the exact same thing! Get something with good reviews and it should be perfect.
- “Gymnastic Mat” via Amazon. I like gymnastic mats for their superior thickness to traditional yoga/gym mats. Get a personal-sized one as pictured above. Again, this is a random brand and I have used many different brands. I get whatever is cheapest and still has great reviews. What’s in stock, who has the lowest price, etc., have varied over the last year.
I use my Aerobic Steppers for everything from Patrick Step Ups to Calf Raises to Nordics, and the Gymnastic Mat is what I do all my stretches on, plus it’s great for making stretching and Nordics as safe as possible, and for turning my versatile plyo box (discussed later) into a bench for Pullovers!
It’s incredible how much can already be done with just what’s listed above.
As we get further into loading, any gym will have racks, bars, plates, etc. But if you’re like me and you want to build out your own home gym, I can highly recommend LuXiaojunBarbell.com. I like the fact that Lu is the greatest Olympic weightlifter of all time, and has VMOs the size of footballs! As someone who had no visible VMO naturally, this gives me a little extra motivation. Legend has it, he rubs each purchase with his VMOs for good luck (at least that’s what I’m believing).
I bought my rack, barbells (male and female versions), plates, and dip attachment from them (the rack already has a chin-up attachment overhead). Dip and Chin are not needed in Dense Strength but can come into play in Standards for upper body development to stay up to par with lower body development. Everything shipped fast, but they were backordered on bumper plates, which are back in stock and arrive any day now.
As for dumbbells, I went to Target and simply grabbed the specific ones I knew would allow me to hit my various targets (no pun intended) based on my bodyweight. I actually set an order in motion about a month ago with watsongymequipment.com, which should be done in early 2021.
In general, I am not a materially-driven person. I split an $8000 Jeep with my wife, which we share. I don’t wear a watch. I don’t drink wine or have any other expensive habits. In fact, when we moved across the country earlier this year I only packed 5 pairs of clothes, a toothbrush, and my computer — that’s it! Starting over has never scared me, and I don’t need material things to be happy.
But I LOVE what training has done for me, and I love making videos to help others. I’ve done almost 3000 videos since I launched atgonlinecoaching.com less than 3 years ago. By nature I’m not into aesthetics, but I do recognize that it matters to those watching. And, my gosh, are the Watson dumbbells AESTHETIC!!!
I drew a logo by hand, had it made, and here’s a forecast of the dumbbells I’ll soon have in my videos…
So, yes, I’m going for the best dumbbells possible, because they will make my videos more enjoyable to watch. I will give them as a gift to my son, Onyx, when he is old enough to lift, like a modern day knight passing down his battle sword.
My other advice on dumbbells is to search Craigslist, or search Google to see who is making adjustable dumbbell sets that are actually in stock. I used to use the PowerBlocks, but ever since corona hit, the entire home dumbbell landscape has changed (in terms of things being sold out). Hopefully production is finally catching up. Search relentlessly, and I’m sure you’ll find something! There are also NEW companies popping up daily that may have just what you need, due to the boom in training from home!
The final item that can assist in Dense Strength is a bench. I finally found one that’s affordable, STRONG, ships fast… AND ARRIVES ALREADY-BUILT — just fold out! Click here to go right to it.
Last but not least…
Knee Ability STANDARDS
The main piece you need in STANDARDS that you don’t in DENSE STRENGTH is a Back Extension, which is used in reaching both the Single-Leg Back Extension Standard and the Quadratus Lumborum Standard.
The most bang-for-your-buck brand is probably Valor Fitness, in terms of a Back Extension that I know for a fact is durable and tougher than appears, but still affordable. I have used many different brands in my time as a gym owner, and Valor’s is the most bang-for-your-buck.
To reach the optional Dip/Chin Standards (I haven’t worked my upper body in years, but am shooting for the 50% BW Full-Range Dips and Chins x 6 reps this year), I got the D-Moose Dip/Chin Belt.
I hope this guide helps!
Yours in Solutions, Ben
To follow my route from ZERO to DENSE STRENGTH to STANDARDS, which has produced 1956 knee success stories and requires ZERO equipment for your first 12 weeks (but you are free to progress at ANY time), check out atgonlinecoaching.com and use code FRESHSTART2021 for my lowest price ever!