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August 27, 2020

Three Exercises to Increase Ankle Mobility

3 exercises to increase ankle mobility with Annie Miller

Ankle mobility is a problem for A LOT of people. Most of my clients do not pass the ankle mobility assessment when starting out. You should be able to touch your knee to the wall while keeping your entire foot (heel) in the ground with your big toe 4.5 inches from the wall, one ankle at a time.

If you can’t do that and your foot has to be closer to the wall than 4.5 inches, you likely need to work on your ankle mobility.

People can lack ankle mobility because of having multiple sprains or even strains from years of sports, scar tissue blockages and simple lack of movement (you lose those end ranges when you don’t use them).

With any of the above situations, the following three exercises can help increase your ankle mobility when used consistently and with purpose.

Please note that you need to consult a doctor and this post is not meant to diagnose you. I don’t know your exact issue. These have been helpful for myself and my clients. Give them a try when working on your ankle mobility.

#1 – Eccentric dorsiflexion

Rise up on an elevated surface with both feet. You may hold onto something for stability if needed. This is not to test balance, it’s to improve ankle mobility (if the issue is not tendonosis). Then shift weight to one side, lower down as slow as you can all the way to the bottom end range (well past the elevated surface hopefully).

Perform one leg at a time and do 3x8ea with no rest. Listen to your body. If that is too much to start, then stop and build up to it.

#2 – Banded or un-banded dorsiflexion

This is one of my personal favorites (with a band). Key point with or without the band is to pay attention to the way your foot is interacting with the floor. Make sure the whole foot from big toe to heel is planted as you work through the end range. Work the knee to the outside of the foot, directly forward and to the inside of the foot.

The band pulls your tibia and fibula distally (backwards) acting as distracted so you can push further into your rang of motion.

Do this for 2-3 minutes per side before squatting or aside from a workout all together.

#3 – Bottom of a squat with a pole

What’s ankle mobility if you can’t use it?

Most people want better ankle mobility because they’re range of motion is limited in their squat (in my line of work anyway). What better way to dig into that mobility than IN A SQUAT.

This is an unloaded, possible lumbar flexed squat. You can use a pole, a band or any stable object to pull yourself into different positions. Your goal is to push the end range and still keep some level of tension in the squat (not completely wet noodle status).

Accumulate 2 minutes of working the end ranges in a back and forth motion. Try and keep the feet planted but it’s okay to come up on to the toes of one foot when pushing into the other.

The pole is there to balance you if you cannot properly and comfortably get into a deep ATG squat.

Here’s to better ankle mobility and less pain. Who’s with me? Drop me a line below if you have comments or questions. I am happy to help!

All videos are from the Active Life Rx (also the awesome people who help me bring my One on One and Built By Annie clients better coaching and content).

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Three exercises to increase your ankle mobility - videos included

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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