Part 2 – Mobility Exercises
After reading about the anatomy of the ankle in the first part , now it’s time to get practical.
In this second part, you will learn how important it is to have ankle mobility and how you can achieve it.
Ankle mobility is simply the flexibility of the ankle joint and all the muscles and tendons that surround it.
Poor ankle mobility can sometimes result in pain or discomfort in the joint when doing regular tasks like walking or running.
It is caused by overtraining or the opposite – low physical activity.
Now, let’s delve deeper into the importance of ankle mobility.
Have you ever struggled to get your hips below parallel when squatting?
Well, the reason for this might be a sign of poor ankle mobility.
Lack of ankle mobility can result in arching your lumbar spine to compensate and putting more pressure on your lower back.
As you might guess, ankle mobility can hinder sports performance and even cause pain and discomfort.
Having strong and flexible ankles is also required in our daily lives.
When walking we put 5 times our body weight on our ankles.
Furthermore, running puts even more pressure on the ankle joints – almost 13 times our weight.
As you can see, Dorsiflexion (moving your toes backward) and Plantar Flexion (pushing your toes forward) are involved in so many movements and it is extremely important that they are mobile.
But how do you know how flexible your ankles are? Let’s find out in the next paragraph.
You can test your ankle mobility in multiple ways but one of the easiest ones requires no equipment at all, so we will focus on it.
All you need is a wall.
- Kneel in front of the wall with one of your feet steady on the ground around 12-13 cm (5 inches) from the wall
- Your other foot should lean backward
- Now, try to touch the wall with your knee that is closer to the wall WITHOUT lifting your heel
If you can do that, then you have good ankle mobility.
However, if you struggle to do it, then you might need some exercise…
- Eccentric Calf Raises
Lift up on a gym weight disc with both your calves. Now, raise one of your legs and start going down slowly with the other one. Hold down for 3-4 seconds and bend your knee forward before going up again.
Repeat for 3-4 sets x 12-15 reps.
- Goblet Squat With A Kettlebell
Grab a Kettlebell and get into a squat position. Put your elbows on your knees, so they point out at 11 and 1 on the clock. Bounce a little and get into the squat position again.
Repeat for 2-3 sets x 10-12 reps.
- Banded Ankle Leaning Forward
Put a resistance band around the bottom part of your ankle and attach it to something behind you. Start leaning forward without lifting your heel off the ground. Your other foot should lean backward as in the mobility test.
Repeat for 2-3 sets x 10-12 reps per foot.
- Lateral Tibia Glide
Lay on your back and bend one of your knees, so your foot is on the ground. Try to move the foot about 30 degrees left and right without lifting your toes or heels.
Repeat for 2-3 sets x 10 reps.
- Overhead Squat
Grab a small bar and lift it up as you are doing overhead press and get into a squatting position. By keeping your hands up, you put your torso in a more vertical position and it will be easier for you to go deep as you squat.
Repeat for 2-3 sets x 10 reps and keep the weight low.
We hope that these two parts helped you understand how the ankle works and how you can improve your ankle mobility.
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