Let’s Give the Ankles Some Love
The hips and hamstrings get all the love when it comes to stretching. I think more than half of the athletes I work with have “tight” hamstrings. Meanwhile they just don't know how to hinge properly. We can get into that another time.
Let's dive into the ankles - a VERY important area when it comes to movement.
At the end I give you a simple mobility routine you can use to get the ankles moving better, but first let’s talk about the why. I’ll use a few sports and positions as examples.
In order to sit somewhat comfortably down in your primary stance, you need at least 4ish inches of dorsiflexion. Here's a quick test you can do on yourself to see where you are at.
If you look at a catcher, they are swaying and rotating constantly at the ankle joint and if you are limited, not only will it be uncomfortable, it could lead to injury. Let’s be real, the catcher position is tough as it is. Just take a look below at an example of a catcher swaying, shifting, popping up on a play.
Football Running Back
One of my favorite sport movements is a lateral change of direction from a running back. The mobility combined with stiffness that is demanded on not only the ankle, but the rest of the body is amazing.
Check out this video of Chris Johnson and Saquon Barkley snatching ankles
Shin angle is everything in acceleration. If your ankles cant dorsiflex, you will not be able to create the optimal shin angle especially for a sprinter. This position allows for the athlete to push down and back to project themselves forward. It is the most optimal way to accelerate and unfortunately you see many youth athletes with poor shin angle due to subpar ankle mobility and technique of course.
Here's a video that depicts exactly what I am talking about.
Now that we have a good understanding of why the ankles are important, here is a quick routine you can easily throw into your warm up or cool down.
Ankle Mobility Circuit
Click picture below to access!