Ankle mobility is often an overlooked component of human movement that has a tremendous ability to help or hinder performance. Most notably, good ankle mobility can help keep good form and posture during squats and olympic weightlifting movements. Good ankle mobility can also help to prevent injury and limit compensation patterns. Here are a few of our favorite ankle mobility drills that you can implement to your warm up/ cool down routines. Watch the YouTube video for a demonstration of the drills.
- Knee to wall - in a half kneeling position, place your front foot 4-6 inches away from a wall and let your knee move forward while your heel remains in contact with the ground. The goal is to try to touch the wall with the front knee.
- Use weight on top of your knee
- Banded distraction - use a resistance band by placing a loop on top of the foot (not on the tibia/ fibula) near the crease of the ankle joint and anchoring the opposite end of the resitance band directly behind an in line with the leg. Continue to let the knee track past towards the toes just like the knee to wall drill described above.
If you are using these exercises as part of your warm up, 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions is a good starting point. Too much flexibilty/ mobility drills right before power and strength training can decrease your perfomance. Hold the end range of motion for 2-5 seconds and relax, focus on slow and controlled movements. If you are using these exercises for an active recovery day and or a flexibility/mobility program, spend more time (2-5 min) per ankle.
-Alex Edwards, CEP, CSCS
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