The 10 ATG Principles

9 min readMay 4, 2021

by Keegan Smith aka @theatgmentor — with commentary and video examples for each principle from your boy KOTGuy…

1. Build From The Ground Up.

Ankles to knees, knees to hips, hips to shoulders… building in this order makes the most bulletproof body according to gravity, yet no previous system has ever actually programmed its volume accordingly. How do you find out your true athleticism and bulletproofing potential if you build out of balance from your natural design? The more we build from the top down, the more pain and injuries we accumulate and the more gravity-bound we become. The more we build from the ground up, the more we free ourselves of pains and injuries, the more athletic we get, and the longer we live with a high quality of life.

Let’s look at the first two steps of Knee Ability Zero:

  1. 10 minutes of ROKP. Even in Dense when we add sled, YOUR FEET measurably determine (as shown in the video) if you are building from the ground up or not.

2. 25 reps in the Tibialis Raise: your strength in this movement affects the pressures coming up through your body every step you take in this life.

Below is a picture of a young Michael Jordan’s lower leg, taken before he ever lifted weights. If you watch his dunks throughout his career (there’s plenty of footage on YouTube), you can objectively see that he never jumped higher or farther after weight training than he could before. Adding upper body strength helped toughen him up. In the ATG System, the upper body is still strategically programmed in. But MJ did lose bounce and gained chronic knee tendonitis. So what if you AREN’T naturally Michael Jordan? What if your chronic knee tendonitis started at AGE TWELVE? Maybe now you see why I had to create ATG, and how I went from being made fun of for my pathetic 19-inch vertical, to now having over a 40-inch vertical and helping top NBA players jump even higher after years of plateau…

2. Build From Side-to-Side.

In helping people to over 2000 knee success stories, it is clear that the ATG Split Squat is the #1 knee bulletproofer. My most recent video on it shows the 5 reaons why. If you have more pain or more strength in one side than the other, you not only create excess forces in one side over the other, you also risk botched mechanics in sport which significantly raise your chances of “freak” non-contact injury.

3. Build From Front-to-Back.

Before we Squat in the ATG System, we work the exact opposite. An ATG Squat is a long-range exercise, and a dumbbell hamstring curl is a short-range exercise. This video shows and explains

4. Build BOTH Short-Range and Long-Range.

Watch The Video Just Above! :)

Does this make sense?

Please feel free to ask questions on the YouTube video above (we strive to answer all YouTube comments) and let me know if it makes sense. “Short-Range vs. Long-Range” is new terminology for the exercise world.

It changed my knees and my life forever, so I want to make sure you understand it, too.

5. Build From Light-to-Heavy.

This concept is being done well by many systems, but is often missing in performance training. In the ATG system, we spend 12 weeks a year training WITHOUT WEIGHTS. Yep: even our most advanced athletes start back over each year, and we even have an advanced version of Zero dropping in July (aka Zero Gravity), for those of use who have been doing the system a while.

This idea of starting each year over without weights is definitely uncommon in the performance world, but we then take it a step further: when we return to weights, we gradually DOMINATE each weight, only increasing when we can do 10 SETS IN 10 MINUTES.

Here’s an example of our beginner ATG Squat Protocol, using this form for 10 sets of 10 in 10 minutes. You would only graduate from beginner Dense when you can do 25% of your bodyweight with your elbows upright and ABOVE your thighs on each rep. This lays a very different foundation for freakish athleticism and bulletproofing.

Most people who start with me saying they have “tried everything” — have actually not tried anything even remotely like our Zero to Dense philosophy, with EXACT FORMS that change your biology per the 5 points listed so far.

6. Build From Long-to-Short (Duration).

Let’s analyze our Nordic progression, which is prepped by Zero and begins in Dense:

  1. We spend 12 weeks per year training it only on the way down, fighting slowly. In beginner Dense it looks like this. In Rocket (advanced) Dense it looks like this (using additional load to challenge).
  2. Then in Standards we spend 12 weeks exploding up with measurable form. And once we can explode up from a flat bench, we then DROP ourselves and catch! In fact, the faster you drop, the tougher it is to catch yourself without touching the bench. You can see this exact progression from long duration to short duration here.
  3. Then in our optional athleticism program, Bulletproof, we…

7. Build From Slow-to-Fast!

Ie. from slowly fighting down our Nordics in Dense…

…to exploding up in Standards…

…to then actually sprinting on Mondays in the Bulletproof program. We still then do Nordics as accessory on Mondays, thus allowing the maximum recovery before the next sprint session.

To be clear: Zero, Dense, and Standards are 30 minute sessions which are meant to go along with any lifestyle. Bulletproof adds our strategic athletic drills themselves, and is intended for off-season pro athletes, or regular folks like me who want to look and LEGIT perform like pro athletes. The sessions simply take longer because we are now adding athletic drills to the ATG system. Therefore, I would only advise this to someone who isn’t concurrently competing in a sport. We have found that Zero, Dense, and Standards alone are ideal for maximum athletic improvement if already doing a sport, since your sport work is already supplying the “FAST,” and adding more would only hamper recovery and perhaps reduce strength gains on your ATG exercises.

8. Build and Keep a Bulletproofing Reserve.

Build your deceleration just ahead of your acceleration, build your landing just ahead of your jumping, build your ability to control a weight down just ahead of your ability to fire it up…

This applies to the whole system, but I can even give you some specific examples.

Before we sprint, we pour on the energy to get better BACKWARDS.

Even when it comes time to drive up the ATG Squat to heavier loads on Fridays in Bulletproof, we actually START our sets with a perfectly controlled rep down, meaning: we first ensure we can handle a weight down before we start moving it fast!

Building the other way around simply increases your chances of pain and injury, which end up being the primary STOPS to progress.

If you can always handle your max force, your body will be encouraged to adapt to express more, and more… and more! We haven’t seen limits yet to human athleticism adaptation, when we “can’t hurt ourselves” in the process!

If you can’t handle your own force, your body will either get hurt, or prevent you from expressing your true potential in the effort not to get hurt.

9. Truth in Numbers

We have a measurable movement for every quality. Those numbers show us exactly what’s needed and why. A good example of this is our Tibialis Raise:

In Zero, we can determine progress with how far we stand from the wall. That’s a great start…

Then in Dense-Standards-Bulletproof, we add the option of using a Tib Bar* (*click for our full equipment list with links, which we do NOT profit from FYI).

In this full breakdown you can see the measurable ATG Standard of 20% of your bodyweight for 20 reps for Males, or 16% for Females. The video even shows how to makeshift a Tib Bar with a $10 floss band, and what that Standard is. Both Standards are obtained from coaching thousands of people and observing what is elite yet ACHIEVABLE even by someone with average or below average genetics.

Training your Tibialis burns. Getting a Tib Bar costs a bit since they are handmade with the best quality materials. Makeshifting the ATG Standard with a floss band for a full 3 sets, twice per week, is not user-friendly. But all of the above is a lot more user-friendly and a lot cheaper than knee surgeries and chronic shin splints.

Life is hard. Choose your hard.

I choose the hard that makes life a lot less hard with each passing day…

10. Pain-Free Sets the Gains Free!

Pain is your body sending you a communication. Are you going to listen to that communication, acknowledge your body, and FACE the issue, or are you going to ignore or run from the message.

Over time, people naturally shy away from the patterns where they have pain, leading to imbalances and extremely vulnerable areas which become ticking time-bombs for blow-out injury.

So in the ATG system, we care about your measurable, pain-free ability: every rep, every set, every session.

This way you become more and more bulletproof over time, and you get more and more capable of training the areas you want to train, without it hurting to do so… so it gets even EASIER to get even more bulletproof as you go! It’s a gift that keeps on giving, and in the scheme of things allows you to become far more bulletproof than the norm in a relatively short amount of time.

Yet 99% of the time when people come to me in pain, asking if I think the ATG system can help them, I find that they are doing 1 of the following 2 things:

  1. Avoiding altogether the motion that hurts.
  2. Pushing through the hurt and trying to use all sorts of ways of masking the pain (the very pain that your body is trying to help you with by telling you about).

In the ATG system we do something different:

We CONFRONT the motion that hurts, but at the LEVEL that doesn't.

That’s the trick which the 99% have not tried. Then we apply this principle to them, and they wind up a success story.

Let’s take a real look at this, with my “#1 knee bulletproofer” — the ATG Split Squat. In 60 seconds I can show you how to regress it to your level in Zero. Then factor in that this is the 5th exercise in our Zero flow, using principles above to prepare our bodies before we even get to the ATG Split Squat, which I personally had to start front-foot-elevated, assisted. Now I have some of the most bulletproof knees in the world. If this paragraph and its video were the only things anyone could ever see or hear from me… I would sleep well at night and have a happy career.

Most of these step-by-step routes that we use in the ATG system were either obscure, or simply didn’t exist, so it’s completely understandable why the 99% haven’t tried them! There’s at least a 99% unawareness of what to do — NOT A LACK OF WORK-ETHIC OR WILLINGNESS, in most cases.

Let me repeat: in my experience coaching thousands of people from all walks of life, I know to my core YOU HAVE TREMENDOUS WORK ETHIC WITHIN YOU but without a route where your work is REWARDED, any of us can appear “lazy.”

You’re not lazy.

You’re not fragile.

You are more powerful than you know.

Yours in Truth,

Ben Patrick, Creator of ATG

Keegan Smith, Creator of ATG For Coaches

For the ATG route from ZERO to DENSE STRENGTH to STANDARDS to BULLETPROOF, which is laid out in full from Day 1 and has produced over 2000 knee success stories, yet which requires ZERO equipment for your first 12 weeks (but you are free to progress at ANY time), check out and use code FRESHSTART2021 for my lowest price ever!

And to become an ATG Coach, check out where a fast and efficient landing page + video show how it works. Becoming an ATG Coach is not for everyone… BUT IT MAKES YOU A BEAST AT HELPING EVERYONE.