Why did I take steps to improve ankle mobility? Well, I’m embarrassed to admit it but I used to have serious calf envy. Not the juvenile cow kind of envy (lol).
No, I’m talking about strong, well-defined lower legs.
Honestly, I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m gracing the floor like Jennifer Anniston.
Certain Types of Shoes Can Impact Your Calves
Which is BAD for running.
(psst, ladies: read until the end to learn a cool way to always keep your balance when wearing heels)
So if you have tight, stumpy-ish calves like I did, not only is it abusively annoying to wear shorter dresses or shorts for the guys…
But they can also kill your stride when running. But don’t fret, you are not alone who are looking to improve ankle mobility.
Injuries Could Be Lurking Around the Corner
Leading to potentially brutally painful ruptures in your Achilles tendon…
And inhibit normal blood flow (this part surprised me).
Running requires forward propulsion — and when your calves lift your heel, it’s an extremely important stage of the process.
So tight and weak calves are a big time no-no for a strong stride and a loose ankle.
You know what else?
The calf acts as a muscle pump for your whole body, so when your calves suffer — your entire circulations suffers.
But let me be clear: I’m not one of those gym rats here to PUMP YOU UP and go crazy on the calf machine for big, bulging results.
The 3 exercises I do take a more athletic, functional approach… aimed towards keeping you happy and improve ankle mobility (and getting killer calves!)
3 Simple Exercises to Improve Ankle Mobility
#1: Jumping Rope: Whoa! So simple, and fun once you quit tripping over yourself. Try 3 timed sets of 30 seconds, and work up to 1 minute when you feel ready.
Remember to target the balls of your feet as the contact point, and challenge yourself to minimize time spent on the ground.
#2: Low Pogo Jump: No pogo necessary, and this one will hit your calves hard. Stand with your feet together (shoes touching) with a slight bend in your knees.
Hold your arms out in front of you, elbows bent. Start jumping at a similar pace and height as you would jumping rope – minimize seconds spent on the ground – and do 3 sets of 30 to 40 little jumps.
#3: Glute-Ham Raise: this ones a little counter-intuitive, but it does work your calves — and it’s a great way to improve ankle mobility:
Do 3 sets of 10 reps, and if this is too easy, hold a 5-pound weight to your chest.
Oh yeah, and here’s a cool little doozie I learned to improve balance in high heels, it’s called:
The Alphabet Foot: first, free your toes, go barefoot, and stand on your left foot. Plant your big toe, little toe, and heel into the ground firmly.
Next, raise your right foot six inches and draw the alphabet in the air — A to Z. Switch feet and repeat.