4 Movements for Better Ankle Mobility
Something as simple as ankle mobility has the potential to completely change how you feel in almost every lower body exercise and movement of daily life.
Feel like you are falling back in a low squat? Lunges burning your big toes? Afraid of rolling your ankles? Are your knees feeling weak or fragile?
The following ankle exercises will help you not only mobilize but strengthen your ankles, bring resilience to your lower legs (hello healthy knees), and enhance your balance.
Standing on a stick or mat
Balance is built by doing things that throw us off balance. Standing on a stick or a rolled-up mat will make you wobble, which teaches you how to right yourself.
When you wobble, your ankles have to go through many tiny movements and respond quickly. We don’t roll our ankles when we are in perfect balance, these accidents happen when we least expect them.
Our theory is that by training for the unexpected we can be better equipped for life’s wobbles and falls.
Lean back onto a wall and lift the balls of your feet as high as possible off the floor, then lower them down. Repeat this exercise 15-25 times using grippy shoes to ensure that you don’t slip!
To make it harder, walk your feet further from the wall. This exercise actively pulls your ankles into dorsiflexion and strengthens your shins.
This strength will come in handy when you do squats, jumps, or simply walk up/down stairs. Although these exercises look simple, they pack a punch.
In this split squat, the knee is positioned over the toes. For this exercise specifically, the further over the toes the knee can go, the better.
This mobility is largely dictated by ankle dorsiflexion. Take a look at the back leg too, that’s quite a stretch for the ankle and foot.
If squatting low or split squats are challenging (or impossible) for you, your ankles need these four exercises. In some cases, many years of not letting your knees go past your toes can lead to very stiff and immobile ankles.
Elevated Calf Raises
Standing on a block or on a step, hold onto the wall or handrail and lower your heels down below the height of your toes. You will likely feel a big stretch in the back of your ankles and feet.
Then raise your heels up as high as you can and repeat 10-25 times. This is one of the best ways to pump mobility into your ankles. Adding a weight to this exercise is a great idea especially if you are building ankle and knee strength.
This exercise mimics the action of walking up a steep hill. If you hike or climb regularly this might not feel new to you. If you live in a relatively flat place the elevated calf raise is pure gold for your ankles, feet, and knees.
We also have a FREE CLASS on our platform that will guide you through this sequence in 25 minutes. For more detailed instruction click the link below to try this online class.
Take these four exercises, and practice them as a short series for 2-3 rounds. This is a great series to go through 1-2 times per week. With consistency you will notice huge changes in your ankles and knees.