Today, we want to go a little more in depth when it comes to ankle mobility. You can check out our previous blog on ankle mobility for some quick tips on how to improve your ankle mobility. Last time we discussed what you can do for mostly short-term change such as banded distraction drills. This time we are going to give you some examples of ankle mobility exercises that can make some long-term changes in ankle dorsiflexion.
Ankle Mobility Exercises
Front Foot Elevated Lunges
For this ankle mobility exercise, perform a lunge with the front foot elevated on a small box. On each rep, be sure to drive your knee forward as far as you can (while keeping the heel down) during the eccentric portion of the lunge. When doing this, the soft tissue around the ankle joint is loaded which will make more soft tissue change over time. We would also recommend trying this exercise with slow eccentrics (3-5 seconds) each rep. Try 2-3 sets of 15 reps per leg, with a 3 second eccentric each rep.
Counter Balance Goblet Squat
For this exercise, grab a kettlebell or a plate and hold it in front of you while you descend into the bottom position of the squat and try and sit there anywhere from 1-5 minutes depending on ability. This ankle mobility exercise is also a great tool for learning and/or reinforcing the squat movement patterns while fully utilizing hip and ankle mobility. It also teaches how to gain control of core stability throughout the lift as well. Perform this movement for 2-3 sets of at least one minute holds in the bottom of the squat position. You can also do this movement throughout the day, too, to keep your mobility in check from sitting all day! For added benefit, descend into this position slowly, focusing on the eccentric (lowering portion) of the squat for about 3-5 seconds before holding the static position.
Counter Balance Squat with Prying
Let’s take the previous exercise a little bit further. You are going to perform the counter balance goblet squat, but this time while in the bottom position we are going to do something called “prying”. Prying means leaning to one side by pushing the knee as far forward over the toe as possible while keeping the heel planted. Hold that position for a few seconds and then switch to the other side. It is important to make sure you are performing diaphragmatic breathing throughout so you can maintain core stability and proper positioning while performing this exercise.
Improving mobility in the ankle joint can be a long process, but if you really have limited range of motion in that area, these ankle mobility drills will help if you stay consistent and perform them over time.
-Heather & Katie
The Power Couple
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