Poor flexibility leads to poor ankle mobility. Conversely, if you don’t have much mobility in your ankles, that’s going to limit how much flexibility you have overall. The ankles are one of those key pivot points in the body that allows you to do a lot of different exercises and movements. If there is limited functionality there and you don’t have a lot of range of motion on your ankles, then you may be interested to learn how to increase ankle mobility.
We’d like to cover here some of the exercises you can do, if you’re wondering how to increase mobility in the ankle and the lower parts of the body. If you can improve the mobility of flexibility in that key body part, it will have a ripple effect throughout the body and permit you to do more exercises more easily. You’ll be able to do workouts without as much strain and they won’t be as challenging for you.
What Causes Poor Ankle Mobility?
Are you wondering why your ankles may not be as mobile as they should? The reason your ankles lack flexibility and mobility is likely because of the condition of the muscles in the lower leg. The calf and back of the lower leg muscles may not be very flexible. If that’s the case, it can prevent your ankles from being as mobile as they should. You may also have stiffness in your joints or other joint issues that could be caused by arthritis, surgery, or an injury. That’s stiffness could be caused by using high heels too often as well.
The good news is that your ankle mobility can improve, and it doesn’t have to hold you back from doing exercises you want to do and getting the results you’re aiming for.
Exercises to Improve Ankle Mobility
This is one of the simplest exercises you can do to strengthen your calf muscles and boost ankle mobility. You want to start by standing with your legs one hip length apart. Make sure your toes are slightly inclined. You can use a book, weight plates, or something else that helps to slightly elevate your toes. From that position, bend the knees forward and pay attention to the back of your ankles as you do it. You should feel a slight stretch on the backside of the ankles. Hold this position for just a couple seconds and then return to the starting position. Try to do this 10 times in a row, taking a break after a set of 10, and repeating five times. This helps to create dorsiflexion by working your ankles and improving their flexibility.
If you’re looking for how to increase ankle mobility for squats simply and easily, this is a great way to do it.
For this exercise, your starting position should be standing with your arms by your side and your feet a hip length apart. Push your hips back as you brace your abs and bend your knees, slowly lowering your body down into a squat position. At the same time, attempt to balance yourself on your heels. You should try to stay parallel as you do a squat, but make sure you only descend until you feel the heel lifting up. At the bottom of the squat, pause and hold that position, and then return to your starting position. Try to do 10 of these in a row, taking a break after a set of 10 and doing five sets in a single session.
This exercise works a lot of the body at once, so for those wondering how to increase ankle and hip mobility, air squats like these are very effective. This is also a great exercise for increasing your heart rate for cardio and burning fat. To make it even more effective, increase your pace, but keep in mind that can put extra stress on your ankles. If your ankles are really suffering when it comes to flexibility, start your squats out slow and only work up to faster squats over a period of a few weeks.
One of the methods for how to increase my shoulder and ankle mobility Kelly Starrett recommends is doing a flexibility test using squat. This test involves doing a simple squat with your feet and knees kept together and without your heels coming off the ground. If you can do that, you have a great range of motion with your ankles. If not, you need to work on some more range of motion and flexibility exercises, like the ones listed in this article.
Toe Heel Walks
There are some walking exercises you can do that help to improve ankle mobility. Toe heel walking is one of the most effective and simplest ways you can do that, and it’s a great way to exercise throughout the day.
You start by walking a distance on your toes, like walking tippy toes. Then, you walk the same distance on your heels. This may look and feel a little strange at first, but it is such a great method for how to increase ankle mobility with soft tissue tone.
It doesn’t stress your legs or ankles too much, and it can be done at any time throughout the day. You can do this as you’re walking throughout the house doing chores, as you’re walking to work, or when you’re going to class. Spending a little time walking on your toes and some walking on your heels instead of walking on the flat of your feet can do wonders for your ankle mobility. It can stretch and strengthen your ankles and the surrounding muscles, working the muscles of the back of the leg, particularly the calf muscle.
How to increase ankle mobility for weightlifting? You can work a lot of your body at once and boost that ankle flexibility by doing lunges. These can be standing lunges or walking lunges, and they work a lot of your body at once. They’re great for strengthening your core and boosting the range of motion that you have in your ankles.
What a lot of people do to make this a more effective exercise and one with more impact is to add weights to it. If you have dumbbells in each hand, you can do lunges that burn a lot of calories and help to build up your strength.
For a simpler lunge, you can hold your hands on your hips. This would be a great way to start out, if you’re not used to exercising very often or you feel out of shape. A lot of people who have poor ankle mobility are not used to exercising often or they don’t work their lower body very much. They may focus on upper body exercises and may lack the range of motion that they should have in their ankles.
If that’s true of you, start with slow easy exercises. You don’t know how out of shape your ankles are, if you haven’t been working them very much. If you feel like you struggle to get a full range of motion out of your ankles, then start off with easy exercises that will not tax your body very much. What you start to feel more of a range of motion and you feel like your calves and lower legs are strong, you can add weights to your lunges, do more intense workouts, and maybe even work your ankles and lower body with HIIT exercise sessions. Very quickly, you’ll have incredible ankle flexibility.