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.
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.
Want more help?
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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?