Are you wondering how to increase ankle mobility? This is the article for you!
I have always had solid ankle mobility. However, there are numerous things I have done to maintain this mobility. I have also given suggestions to friends that have been helpful for them!
Before I go any further, I want to give a shoutout to Dr Aaron Horchig of Squat University as he is a phenomenal source of information and one of the primary sources that I have learned these techniques from!
I would also like to mention that I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice to prevent or treat injuries. It is simply practical recommendations that I have learned, used and found helpful!
Now let’s get to it!
Things To Consider Part #1:
I always like to consider where my mobility restrictions are coming from. This helps dictate the different techniques I will use to make the improvements.
Two areas of restriction to focus on would be a tight muscle or a restriction in the ankle joint itself.
If we think about what we are doing when we use our ankle mobility, it is our knee coming over our toe. This is also called dorsiflexion. With the practical application of ankle mobility in mind, let’s use the squat as an example. Our knee would be progressing towards our toe and would likely pass our toe to properly perform the squat.
Our calf attaches to both the Achilles tendon and the back of our knee. When our knee goes over our toe, it is pulling on that calf muscle. Since our heel should stay planted, it is not giving any slack for the knee, thus, it is creating tension in the calf. This tension is often found closer to the Achilles heel.
If we have limited flexibility in our calf muscle and the Achilles tendon, we may not have the required range of motion to perform enough knee flexion to properly execute fundamental movements like the squat.
If you squat and feel a tightness in your calf/Achilles tendon, there is a good chance your mobility restrictions are coming from that area.
How do we help this? Basic stretching will do! Things like putting your toe on a wall to stretch out that calf. You can vary how much knee flexion you use to change where on the calf the stretch is being placed. We will likely want to target the lower portion of the calf where the Achilles tendon is.
Anything that targets/stretches the calf and or Achilles tendon will help this restriction.
Things To Consider – Part #2:
What if this area isn’t where you are experiencing limitations? Another limiting factor could be the ankle joint itself. In this instance, there would be a blockage which prevents the bones in the ankle joint from sliding and moving where they need to go to achieve proper dorsiflexion.
A great tool for working on this would be a resistance band. You would place it right on the ankle joint, where it curves. Apply some tension to the band by stretching it, then bring your knee forward and back. This will help create room in the ankle joint so things can slide where things want to slide… lol.
While they may be helpful, you don’t need resistance bands to work on this. You can put your foot on a somewhat high surface and bring your knee forward and back. This is what you would be doing during movements like the squat, so you can work on joint and muscle mobility/flexibility while in a practical and applicable setting. You can also do bodyweight squats and focus on keeping proper form while trying to gradually improve your range of motion. Not to mention, getting better at a specific skill tends to help! Perfect practice makes perfect! The more perfect practice, the more permanent it becomes!
Let’s recap. When looking to improve ankle mobility, look at the two likely areas that would be restricting it. Once you identify those areas, pick your approach. Will you be using stretching or resistance bands? Don’t forget about the practical applications that you can utilize as well!
Here is a video from Dr Aaron Horchig explaining some of this stuff in video form with explanations! Click here to watch!
Did you enjoy this article? If so, great! If you have ANY questions or comments, please leave them below and I will be sure to reply! Take care, everyone!
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Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for the use of this information after reading.