Welcome to Aloyd's 30-Day Mobility Course! Today we're discussing ankle mobility, and the subject of stable vs. mobile joints!
Stable Joints & Mobile Joints
Not all joints are created equal. Joints like the shoulder produce multi-planar movement through a large range of motion, while joints such as the knee predominantly produce flexion and extension with very minimal lateral movement. Here's a quick run-down of all the stable and mobile joints in our body:
Neck (Cervical Spine)
To improve our body's overall function as one synergistic unit, our goal needs to be create stability and mobility where necessary. Because our body performs complex tasks that require the recruitment of several different muscle groups at any one time, an insufficiency in one area can cause problems in other areas of the body. For example, trainees with unstable scapulae or lack of thoracic spine mobility often experience limited range of motion in the shoulder and cannot effectively raise their arms overhead. This commonly leads to attempts at compensation from other areas that are not necessarily designed to produce this function. Most notably in this case, we revert to extension at the lumbar spine in an effort to complete the desired movement. This is troublesome for a a few reasons. The lumbar spine contains a series of very stable joints meant for limited range of motion, and this improper usage could affect their ability to produce other primary tasks such as stabilization during dynamic activities. Additionally, we shift an abnormal amount of the load to secondary muscle groups like the upper portion of the traps.
Hunch your back, then attempt to raise your arms overhead. Next, maintain a neutral spine and attempt the same thing. Take notice of the increased range of motion and reduction of tension in the upper traps and neck muscles.
When it comes to our ankles, a loss of mobility can mean compensation from other areas such as the knees and feet. Faulty ankles are often the cause of poor squat patterns, especially for those who fail to keep the weight over their mid-foot while descending. It can also mean improper tracking of the knee over the foot when walking. This phenomenon can also increase lateral movement in the knee, which can be dangerous when we consider the amount of sensitive ligaments in that area. Even more so when we partake in athletics or other high-intensity activities.
Calf SMR (Gastrocnemius/Soleus): 3-5 Minutes
Loaded Squat Hold: 2 x 30 Seconds
Anterior Tibialis Contraction w/ Circle Band: 3 x 20 w/ 3 Second Hold
(Optional) Band Assisted Calf Stretch: 2 x 30-45 Seconds
(Optional For Ankle Stability) One Foot Hold w/ Partner Pass: 2 x 30 Seconds