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Improved health and fitness requires proper movement.  Proper movement requires your body to have optimal range of motion at all of your body’s bony joints.  Most of us have lost it through lack of use.  The good news is that mobility improves rapidly once you start using it again.   Sound familiar?  Last week, we put out a simple hip mobility sequence.  This week, we’ll address ankle mobility.

Now that you’ve improved your hip mobility with last week’s post (right?), it makes sense to move down the “kinetic chain” to the ankle.  Restrictions at the ankle may prevent you from utilizing your improved hip mobility to the fullest, or cause problems at the hip or knee joints.

Related: What’s the Functional Movement Screen and How Can It Help You

Here’s a simple ankle-focused routine you can do everyday.  Total time is 8-10:00/session.  As before, hold each one for a minimum of 2:00 (yikes! that’s a long time, but it’s necessary for permanent improvement):

1. Ankle circles: sit with one leg crossed over the other.  Grab the accessible ankle and slowly rotate it in the largest circle it can perform, 1:00 each direction.  Repeat with the other ankle.


2. Vajrasana(heel sit): This yoga pose stretches the tibialis anterior, the muscle that pulls your toes toward your shin.  Ensure you do not have pain or the sensation of heat in your knees.


3. “Calf stretch”: actually stretches both the calf muscle and another underneath it (the soleus).  Place the ball of your foot as high as possible against a wall, block, or other object.  Straighten the leg as much as possible.  Gently squeeze your thigh muscles to increase the stretch.  2:00/leg.


4. To stretch both calves and ankles at once, do the “down dog” yoga pose.


Related: How Can ROM Make You Fitter?

If you have time and inclination, ankles and lower legs are easy to massage by yourself if you have adequate hip mobility.  Just cross one ankle over the opposite knee and use your hands to massage across or up the leg.  Always ensure you go across or up the leg, never downwards towards the foot, as that’s bad for your circulation.

Perform all or part of this routine as often as you can, and improvement will come quickly!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer