How the Torque TANK™ Supports Knee Health
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How the Torque TANK™ Supports Knee Health

Faced with lockdowns and mounting boredom during the pandemic, many people took up recreational walking. Research from Polar, Inc. indicates that walking among all ages in the U.S. has increased as much as 25 percent, with an average of 16 percent, since 2020.(1)

Walking is the most popular form of aerobic exercise, with approximately 111 million adults in America participating in 2018, a number that likely is higher today.(2) On an average day, 30 percent of Americans walk for exercise, particularly as the population ages and the number of Baby Boomers increases.(3)

A great way to maintain health and strengthen the joints to stave off injuries, walking is low-impact, free and accessible to virtually everyone. But like many physical activities, walking may lead to discomfort in the knees over time, especially among older adults.

Recreational walkers may experience knee pain from osteoarthritis, chondromalacia or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), both of which are caused by damage to the cartilage under the kneecap.

Here we highlight a novel but effective way to help prevent knee pain or rehabilitate knee injuries so walkers can continue logging miles.

Traditional Treatment of Knee Pain

A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis reported an annual prevalence of PFPS of 22.7 percent of the adult population – including walkers and regular exercisers.(4)

Traditional treatment of PFPS and general knee pain includes the standard RICE protocol(5):

  • Rest: Avoid or limit putting weight on the knee.
  • Ice: Apply cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times each day.
  • Compression: Using an elastic bandage, lightly wrap the knee while leaving an opening over the kneecap.
  • Elevation: Rest with the knee propped higher than the heart.

Additional treatment options include(6):

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Such as ibuprofen
  • Physical therapy: To regain knee strength, endurance and range of motion
  • Braces or kinesiotape: Provide additional external support at the joint
  • Orthotics:To stabilize and align the foot and ankle
  • Surgery: In severe cases to correct kneecap misalignment or remove damaged bone or cartilage

Reverse Sled Pulls Benefit Knees

Simply walking backwards (without a sled) puts the knees over the toes, but actually places less strain on the knees and reduces anterior knee pain.(9)

Incorporating the sled pull into walking backwards adds resistance to help “bulletproof the knees,” Patrick says.

“Reverse sled pulls eliminate the eccentric contraction of the quadriceps muscle, which can be troublesome for people with knee pain,” he explains. “You control the motion and pace, and each step mimics Terminal Knee Extension (TKE), which is a popular knee rehabilitation exercise.”

Plus, reverse sled pulls increase blood flow to all four quad muscles – and the vastus medialis oblique muscle specifically, which crosses the knees and stabilizes the joint.

Finally, sleds are accessible and intuitive to use for virtually all populations, with no jarring impact to the joints, no excessive stress on the knees and very low chance of injury.

To perform a reverse sled pull:

  • Attach a hip harness, battle rope or arm straps to the sled, or simply hold the sled’s handles
  • Standing upright or squatting slightly, slowly walk backwards while pulling the sled, and feel the burn in the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves
  • Aim to work up to five continuous minutes for at least three time per week
  • Increase intensity by adjusting the sled’s resistance mechanism and/or move faster over time
  • Note that the sled pulls may feel different due to the friction from the surface (concrete, turf, grass, wood, tile) – experiment where possible

This simple movement pattern not only strengthens the knees, but also trains the entire body, including the legs, glutes, core, back, shoulders and arms.  

Performing reverse sled pulls with an all-surface unit like the Torque TANK™ is an effective way for walkers, exercisers and athletes to enhance knee health or rehab knee injuries. With an internal resistance mechanism, the TANK™ is easy to use for all levels of exercisers and doesn’t require loading weight plates to increase intensity.


Walking towards better, updated March 29, 2022.

Number of people walking for fitness in the United States from, January 2020.

25+ Walking Statistics,    

4 Smith BE, Selfe J, Thacker D, et al. Incidence and prevalence of patellofemoral pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2018; 13(1): e0190892. Published 2018 Jan 11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0190892.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, Cleveland Clinic.


7 McLaughlin TM, Lardner TJ, Dillman CJ. Kinetics of the parallel squat. Res Q. 1978 May; 49(2):175-89. PMID: 725284.

8 Hartmann H, Wirth K, Klusemann M. Analysis of the load on the knee joint and vertebral column with changes in squatting depth and weight load. Sports Med. 2013 Oct; 43(10): 993-1008. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0073-6. PMID: 23821469.

9 Roos PE, Barton N, van Deursen RW. Patellofemoral joint compression forces in backward and forward running. J Biomech. 2012 Jun 1;45(9):1656-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2012.03.020.