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Thinking Outside the Box: Ankle Mobility

We have fantastic tools in Crossfit boxes for athletes to get ready for WODs. I love them all! We also need to think about the many more hours crossfitters spend outside the Box that is affecting their inability to have appropriate ankle mobility. Here are six reasons you, as an athlete, may have limitations regarding ankle mobility.

1. Shoes

What kind of shoes do you wear outside the box? If there is any type of heel lift whatsoever you are losing sarcomeres in the calves over time.
Do you always wear your crossfit shoes and your lifting shoes as often as possible in the box? You are limiting your ankle mobility if you use them too much.

2. Sitting

We all know sitting wrecks havoc with the body. But, did you know you are actually creating the perfect environment, on a cellular level, that tells your body to rid itself of sarcomeres along the backs of your legs.
Sitting straight legged every once in a while will definitely be beneficial. Even better, sit on the ground with your legs straight out. Just make sure you are sitting on your ischial tuberosities.

3. Walking

Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk with flat shoes or barefoot. I cannot emphasize how wonderful walking is for your health and directly relates to your performance. Alas, athletes don't want to walk much these days.

4. Go Up hills!

It's true, you may not live in an area that has many hills; but, please understand that any type of change in angle/grade that your ankle can move in would be to your advantage. Sand is great too!

5. Crawling

Great for ankle mobility and overall body mobility and stability, you really can't go wrong with crawling. I would ease into it at first. It's harder than you think. Yes, even people who can squat 300kg have a hard time crawling.

6. Sleeping

It's easy to plantarflex our feet while sleeping because it's our relaxed position (or at least for the majority of us). I would highly recommend loosening up the sheets around the feet in order for the feet to move freely about and not be stuck in a more severe plantar flexed position.

Conclusion

Our bodies are engineering marvels, having the amazing ability to adapt and change. If you are having difficulty getting into positions while working out, please consider every position you choose and decide to use outside the box.

Kristin Marvin

Kristin Marvin (BSc, MA, BEd) is a Performance Recovery Specialist helping athletes achieve their best through proper recovery. She's an accredited Restorative Exercise Specialist™ and the sole Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Trainer in Australia. She loves abusing her body by participating in a wide variety of sports and she has the scars to prove it! Having had her share of injuries throughout her elite athletic career she is passionate about teaching athletes to take care of their bodies.

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