Three Solutions for Better Ankle Mobility
When we mobilize or stretch, when is your focus ever your ankles? Let’s give these babies some attention and how improving your ankle mobility could benefit your squat, improve your strength and reduce the risk of injury.
Plantarflexion vs Dorsiflexion (pointing toes vs pulling your foot upwards)
Causes of poor dorsiflexion:
- Flexibility issues with gastroc/Soleus (calf muscles)
- Ankle joint restriction (tight capsule and/or scar tissue/adhesions in joint)
- Anterior pelvic tilt posture (bad posture/slouching causing the body’s center of mass forward, which causes the ankle to plantar flex in an attempt to balance it out)
- Other lower body injuries (knee, hip or back pain may limit ankle range of motion)
- Wearing elevated heels (lifters/heels causing progressive loss of flexibility)
Outcome in poor dorsiflexion:
- Tibia may drag more vertical, truck lean forward and loss of neutral spine
- Decreases ability to generate maximum force (clean, squat, snatch)
- Impairing the ability to transfer force from the hips to the load
Self myofascial release on the foam roller. Grab a foam roller (the harder the better) and sit on the ground. Place one leg on the roller. Roll up and down the entire length of your calf and Achilles’ tendon for 1 minute.
Heel raises. This is a simple and quick drill that is easy to perform. Simply place your toes on a slight incline (like two 5lb plates) and move into dorsiflexion by bending your knees. Increase the incline as you progress.
KB assisted lunge. In a lunge position, KB on your bent knee, heel planted as you shift your weight forward and back - keep knee aligned with second toe.
In case you couldn't tell, that Jenga tower is your body. And guess what's the base? Your feet and ankles. (crazy!) Mess with those babies, and you can bet it's all going to be crumbling down.