08 May The Best Ankle Dorsiflexion Mobility Exercises
Big shocker coming….ankle dorsiflexion mobility is very important for optimizing movement in athletics. Okay maybe that isn’t the most shocking news. But perhaps no-where more than Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit is ankle mobility crucial to performance. So here are my five favorite ankle mobility movements!
DO YOU NEED TO IMPROVE YOUR ANKLE DORSIFLEXION?
Before hammering away at your ankle mobility, let's test if this is something you actually need to work on. Place your big toe one hand-width away from a wall. While in a half kneeling position as shown below, see if you can touch your knee to the wall without you heel rising off the ground, foot rotating, and keeping your thigh pointed forward. If you pass this test then no need to keep working on your ankles. If you fail, start working the following exercises!
Eccentric Calf Raises
Eccentrics have been shown in research to help change the structural make up of muscles for improved flexibility and are very high on my list of ankle mobility musts. The athlete should start on a box on one leg with their knee straight, raised up onto the ball of his or her feet. Then I have the athlete lower down into a deep stretch followed by unlocking the knee and pushing the knee forward. This results in both the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles being eccentrically loaded. Then place the other foot down and return to upright.
The Functional Range Conditioning crew has some great mobility movements and their PAILS / RAILS (Progression & Regressive Angular Isometric Loading) can rapidly improve movement. Using these principles for improving ankle dorsiflexion mobility is a great one!
Goblet squats with forward weight shift
Goblet squats are great for correcting many squat faults. And by performing them with a focus on pushing the knees forward to work on ankle dorsiflexion mobility can be a great way to help athletes squat with a more upright torso (as is needed for front and overhead squats).
Banded ankle mobilizations are great for those that feel their ankle dorsiflexion mobility is limited more by a pinching or a block in the anterior ankle...but they're often done with the band positioned incorrectly. See the video for the proper way!
Lateral tibial glide
I’ve written about lateral tibial glide in the past as it is a great way to make RAPID changes in ankle mobility when this movement is restricted. If you’ve been trying to improve your ankle mobility for a while and not making progress then test this NOW!
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