Having a Patreon community allows me the opportunity to help with what people need. Rather than guessing what issues people are struggling, I ask for feedback. One query I got recently was for ankle mobility yoga. “Could you make a quick video that shows some good stretches for the ankles and the top part of the feet?”. Well of course! Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links.
So specifically the person asked about child’s pose and hero’s pose where the tops of the feet and ankles aren’t connected to the floor. I know a few people in my classes have had this issue also. Here’s a video to watch for the 2 exercises I recommend.
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Ankle Mobility Yoga – Ball Exercise
When we think about pointing the toes it’s easy to get caught up in the contraction of the calf muscles. Or, the blame sore and tired feet. However, it’s the muscle running along the front of the shin, the tibialis anterior, that needs to stretch to allow the foot to point. Sometimes it just needs a little TLC. Perhaps, just a little massage with a tennis ball.
I always recommend tennis ball first as it’s got some ‘give’ to it. Using the hands roll the tennis ball along the length of the muscle (to the outside of the shin). Apply a moderate pressure. You can also roll laterally from right to left. When you find a tender area stay there. Give it a little extra does of TLC. For this ankle mobility yoga exercise, spend about 2-3 minutes massaging each leg. Then retest your problem pose. Once you get used to the tennis ball maybe upgrade to lacrosse or massage balls.
Ankle Mobility Yoga – Resistance Loop Band Exercise
The second exercise for helping release the tight shin muscles uses a loop resistance band. This needs to be securely anchored to something heavy. The leg you’re stretching needs to have the top of the foot in the resistance loop band. Pull the toes towards the knee contracting the muscles along the shin.
Take a pause . Then, SLOWLY release. I’m gonna repeat that. SLOWLY. Take a good 5-8 seconds to release. Notice, does the stretching movement seem fluid? Is it staggered, jumpy or bouncy? After the release, take a breath and repeat.
The key point here is the slow release. This is a somatic release for the tight shin muscles. Other tips: Feels too easy? Use a stronger band. Most sets come with varying levels of resistance. Or shift your body further away from the anchor point of the bands. Do 8-10 repetitions, and retest your poses.
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- Can you fully extend the ankle and get the top of the foot to the floor?
- Do you have the opposite issue and can’t flex enough?
- Are there other range of motion issues you’re dealing with?
Oh it felt good just looking at the pictures of you doing the shin-ball-thingy. I definitely need to make the time to do this. (P.S. I love your shirt.)
Hahaha thanks, I got that shirt so long ago but always love it. Yeah shins don’t get enough love for sure!
What a great idea, I never thought about exercising that part of the body before, so will be trying this out x
Yep. We use the lower legs so much and the shin muscles get no love!
My go to item is the tennis ball. I usually use it anything going wrong in my body especially when it involves something on my legs or ankles
Tennis balls are the best! So economical too! What’s your go-to area?
Huh. I had never thought about the shin muscle being the culprit in the foot-inflexibility. Great to know! I just got a band – so now I can try these exercises. Thank you!
Yeah if you struggle to point the toes the shin muscles might be tight. It’s funny how we take ankles for granted yet use them so much during the day.
Ankle mobility yoga is really good. Unfortunately I can’t do it anymore.
Kristine Nicole Alessandra
I am happy I saw this post. I have had some numbness in my right ankle for two days now. I will try these exercises. Hopefully i will get rid of this uncomfortable feeling I have on my ankle.
Ugh. Sorry you’re dealing with that. have you sat in a strange position recently? rolled your ankle? Or some other mishap?
Great tips! My ankles are not flexible at all being all beat up from martial arts past.
Yeah, our daily activities can take a toll! Grab a tennis ball and get massaging. What other muscular issues do you have I can help with?
Watching you in your poses makes it look easy. Exercising is a good practice to cultivate. You seem to have done well with it.