5 Knees Over Toes Exercises

Here are 5 knee strengthening exercises which encourage the knees over toes position.

The knees over toes position is a great way to build strength and resilience in your knees!


Make sure that you have an adequate amount of ankle dorsiflexion.

ankle dorsiflexion

Ankle Dorsiflexion is the movement where the ankle (Talocrural joint) is bent in a backwards direction.

If you have stiff ankles, the knees over toes exercises suggested on this blog post may be difficult for you to perform properly.

If you have limited ankle dorsiflexion mobility

See post: Exercises to increase Ankle Dorsiflexion.

Knees Over Toes Exercises

Note: All of these exercises can be progressed by the following methods:

  • Use less support from your hands.
  • Move your knee further into range.
  • Perform the exercise slower.
  • Hold onto a weight.

1. Wall Lunge

wall lunge with knees over toes


  • Place your foot onto a step.
  • Have both of your hands supported onto a wall that is in front of you.
  • For the leg that is on the step, keep the knee in line with your foot throughout this exercise.
  • Lunge forwards.
  • Make sure to keep most of your body weight on top of your heels.
  • Allow your knee to move forwards over your toes as much as you can comfortably tolerate.
  • Provide as much support from your hands as required.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.

2. Knees Over Toes Squat

knees over toes squat against wall


  • Stand up right with your back and heels against the wall.
  • Keep the feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep the knees in line with your feet throughout this exercise.
  • Slowly bend your knees forwards as you slide your back down the wall.
  • Only squat to a depth that you are comfortable with.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.

Note: If required – you can off load some of your body weight off your knees by holding onto a table for support.

3. elevated Heel Squat

knees over toes exercises


  • Hold onto something for balance.
  • Place your heels onto a small step.
  • (This will place more pressure on your forefoot and toes.)
  • Make sure to keep your knees in line with your feet at all times.
  • Squat down.
  • Only squat to a depth that you are comfortable with.
  • Perform 10 repetitions.

4. Toe tap

toe tap knees over toes position


  • Stand up right.
  • Hold onto a stationary object for support.
  • Stand on one leg.
  • For the leg that is on the ground, keep the knee in line with your toes throughout this exercise.
  • Using your other foot, reach and gently tap your toe on the ground as far forwards as possible.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.

5. Step down

step down exercise knees over toes


  • Stand on top of a step.
  • Hold onto a hand rail for support.
  • For the leg that is on the step, keep the knee in line with your toes throughout this exercise.
  • Using your other foot, slowly reach your foot down towards the step below.
  • Only lower the foot to a level that you are comfortable with.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.

Any Questions?

Do you have any other questions that you would like to ask me? Feel free to leave me a question in the comment section.

a) Is the knees over toes position safe for your knees?

The knees over toes position is a perfectly normal movement of your knees.

Think about it – The knees will translate forward when you stand up from a seated position, when you are walking down stairs and even when you are jumping.

The issue with a majority of people is that their knees do not have the strength to tolerate this said position.

(Keep in mind – this position does place more stress on the structures of the knee. But is this necessarily a bad thing? In my opinion – it’s not!)

If you gradually, progressively and safely load your knee with these exercises, the knee structures (muscles, tendon, joints, ligaments, cartilage and bone) will adapt and become stronger.

If you are experiencing difficulty with these exercises, you will need to make the exercises easier to perform to match your current level of ability.

b) Should you squat with the knees going over the toes?

This really depends on the type of squat that you are performing.

If you are doing a back squat, the knees will not need to translate forward to the degree required when performing a front squat.


Exercises that encourage the knees over toes position is a great way to challenging your knee strength.

Before you commence the exercises, it is essential that you have an adequate amount of ankle dorsiflexion.

You can progress the exercises by going slower, going deeper into range and providing less support.

What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me:

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3. Start doing the exercises!

Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. For more informationMedical Disclaimer.

4 thoughts on “5 Knees Over Toes Exercises”

  1. I had ACL repair on both knees years ago and have a bakers cyst on the back of my left leg. I had xrays done two years ago due to pain and the doctor said both knees were mostly bone on bone. Will I get any benefit from these exercises? I do yoga, walk, and ski.

    • Hi Terri,

      These exercises will help strengthen your knees. The main thing I would caution is to make sure that they are within your capabilities. For most people, you will need to work your way up to these exercises.

      1. Make sure that the VMO muscle is strong. See post: VMO exercises.

      2. Also have a read of this blog post. I think it will help you: Knee Pain when going down stairs

      3. Make sure that you also have strong feet and hips as these areas control how to knee moves.

      All the best!


    • Hey Kenneth,

      It depends how hard you push yourself.

      I would recommend starting maybe 2/week and see how the knees tolerate it. Adjust frequency as appropriate.



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