Unlock Your Training By Paying More Attention To This Body Part

This body part can help decrease risk of knee, foot, and ankle injury in addition to creating a more explosive athletic performance. Inability to efficiently use it can even lead to increased strain/demand on the shoulder joint during training. Modern shoes and lifestyles have unfortunately led to this body part being overlooked and often stiff, leading to issues up and down the chain.

Drum roll, please....I'm talking about: the ankle joint. The talocrural joint (involved with up/down pumping motion at the ankle) is typically what is traditionally thought of as the "ankle" joint, however we also have to consider the subtalar joint (more involved with side to side motions at the ankle). More specifically, I'm talking about the ability of the ankle to dorsiflex. In other words, the ability of the top side of your foot to move toward your shin.

The motion available at the ankle has huge implications on the strain placed on other body regions in a variety of common exercise patterns, most notably the squat. In a squat motion, if you lack the ability to dorsiflex your ankle (knees traveling over the toes), you must compensate with your trunk angle and utilize more hip range of motion. For some, this can be the difference between a painful squat and a non-painful one.

The ability of your ankles to effectively move is even more important with a tougher squat variation: the overhead squat. Below is a great illustration from Zac Long (aka the barbell physio - check out his website here) on how 2 body regions so far from each other (shoulder and ankle) can influence one another during training.Use this space to add more details about your site, a customer quote, or to talk about important news.

Here's a simple test that you can do to find out if this is something that may be holding you back:

So now that we know why it's important, how do we go about improving and maintaining our ankle dorsiflexion? Check out the videos below for some movements and accessories that you may find helpful.

Improving ankle dorsiflexion

Improve squat depth

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Medical Disclaimer: All information on this website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. The authors and partners are not responsible for any harm or injury incurred. It is important to seek professional guidance about your condition or injury. No guarantees have been made or implied regarding specific results of the services described.

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