Ankle mobility is often limited in many individuals. A lack of ankle range of motion can reduce ones ability to squat among other things. Unfortunately typical methods of stretching the calf or foam rolling your calf muscles leads to results that are temporary and less than desirable. I have found these couple drills to be very effective at improving ones ankle mobility.
The key to this activity is the duration that it is performed which imposes a stress to the joint/tissue and forces it to adapt. The second key to the exercise is the isometric contractions of the muscles around the joint in the end range of motion. This teaches the body how to display control in the outer limits of its current mobility.
A pattern that rehab professionals will often strive to improve when working on ankle mobility is the squat. The rules of specificity would say that we would then need to squat with the newly acquired ankle range of motion. I like this drill as it imposes similar stresses as the exercise above, but it is done with a squatting movement.
Give it a try and see what you think. Don't forget to test the squat before the exercises, then after the exercises and see if you feel or see a noticeable difference.
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About the Author: Dr. Greg Schaible is a physical therapist and strength coach specializing in athletic performance. He attended The University of Findlay as a student athlete. As an athlete he competed in both Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field where he earned honors as a 5x Division II All-American and 6x Division II Academic All-American. In 2013 he completed Graduate School earning his Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT). Greg is the owner of On Track Physical Therapy in Ann Arbor, Mi. Follow On Track PT and Performance on Facebook.