Two Ways to Prehab Your Ankles Using GymnasticBodies
A Gymnasticbodies Athlete Demonstrating an Achilles Stretch found in the GB Stretch Courses
Before you read this: stand up from your seat and squat down until your hips are just above the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds with your heels flat and your back as upright as possible. If you find it difficult or if you are unable to get into this position, then chances are your calves are tight and you lack ankle mobility. This can be problematic when engaging in daily activities or when you begin learning gymnastic exercises such as the single leg squat or front split.
Poor flexibility in the calves can cause stiffness in the other muscle groups of the posterior chain such as the hamstrings, glutes, and low back. This can not only lead to poor athletic performance but may result in injury. The GymnasticBodies Front Split Stretch Courses will help you to improve your flexibility in all of these areas and more. Inside this course, you will find both active and passive exercises to speed up your progress with your Foundation Courses while keeping you injury free.
Let’s take a sneak peek at some of the exercises that will help you prehab those stiff ankles.
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The calves are primarily an endurance muscle, despite having the ability to generate a lot of power while jumping or sprinting. This is largely due to our need to be able to stand on our feet for long periods of time. For this reason, high repetitions of calf raises are the perfect tool to condition the muscles of the lower leg and prehab the ankle joint.
GB Athlete Demonstrating a Calf Raise from the Stretch Courses
To perform the calf raise, begin by standing upright with your feet together. Straighten your knees before pressing your heels as high as possible. Lower down until your feet are flat on the ground then repeat for the desired repetitions. As you press upwards, remember to press with the ball of your feet to better activate the calves. Try to perform multiple sets of 30 repetitions, using different foot positions. Think pointing the toes outward with heels together and toes inward with heels outward. Doing so will help strengthen the connective tissue throughout the ankle while improving joint stability.
Standing achilles stretch
The achilles tendon is a thick, durable cord-like band that connects the calf muscles to the heels of the feet. When stretched it allows the ankle move into what we call dorsiflexion, which is necessary to perform many activities from walking, running, or even squatting. Lack of flexibility here will affect your ability to perform all of these movements, which will inevitably lead to other joints compensating. A tight achilles tendon is susceptible to injury, especially during high impact exercises like jumping or sprinting. For this reason it is crucial to make sure you are stretching your ankles regularly.
GB Athlete Shows Excellent Range of Motion in this Standing Achilles Stretch
The standing achilles stretch is an excellent stretch for the calves and even the hamstrings. To perform this stretch you will need a stretch block (commonly called a yoga block), but a stack of books will also suffice. Begin in a standing position, placing your stretch block, or stack of books in front of your feet. Place the ball of your foot on top of the block with your heel on the ground. Keeping your back flat, hinge forward at your hips until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg from your ankle to the top of your hamstring. Continue folding forward, making sure to keep your legs straight during the entire duration of the stretch. Repeat the same process to stretch your opposite leg.
You can find the calf raise and standing achilles stretch in the Front Split Stretch Course, along with dozens of other stretches to improve your flexibility for exercises like the single leg squat, hanging leg lift, and l-sit.
1.) The GB Courses are full of exercises to prehab your ankles for improved athletic performance.
2.) Performing high repetitions of calf raises are an excellent way to condition the calves and ankles.
3.) The standing achilles stretch will help lengthen the muscles along the posterior chain. Be sure to check out the GymnasticBodies Ankle Prehab Exercises found in the Foundation Courses, which are chock full of lower body mobility drills to help prevent injury to the hips, knees, and ankles.