Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Improve Your Ankle Mobility!-


The squat.  It’s a great exercise.  It’s a basic movement pattern.  It’s something almost everyone should be able to do…however, it’s something most people have difficulty doing the right way.  There are numerous reasons as to why this is the case, one being limited ankle mobility.  Many times, it seems we look at a client with faulty squatting mechanics and think “oh, their hips are tight” or “their core is weak.”  These most definitely may be reasons, but we mustn’t forget to think about the ankles!

No, this post isn’t about squatting.  It’s about ankle mobility.  I just mentioned squatting because it is one of those exercises which tends to expose a lot of imbalances within the kinetic chain.  Most people have imbalances period.  We all do.  Life leads to imbalances.  Just means we gotta address them! 🙂

So…what can we do about improving one’s ankle mobility?  Throw in some 3-D Stretching!  Your muscles aren’t arranged in straight lines, so it makes sense that you should do more than stretch ’em in a straight line!  Here i’m stretching the calf of the stationary leg.  I have my foot aligned straight ahead, and i’m reaching and planting my moving leg centrally, medially (to the inside), and laterally (to the outside).  This way, i’m incorporating all three planes of human movement to the stretch – sagittal, frontal, and transverse.  I’m keeping my abs braced and my posture remains good as I move through the stretches.  Also, i’m keeping my rear heel down.

In this second video, which i’m calling the “3-D Calf Transverse Swing,”  i’m driving the front foot in the transverse plane, thus internally and externally rotating at the stance hip.

So, in thinking along the lines of the three planes of movement, it also makes sense to realize that you can take a “toed in” or “toed out” foot position with the stance leg.  BAM!  More stretches!

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10 responses

  1. jamieatlas

    Wow Sarah! I just tried these stretches and they are awesome! I totally feel the stretch in my calf in a different way than traditional stretching. Love the vids – keep ’em coming!

    Jamie Atlas

    March 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    • Thanks, Jamie!!!!!! 🙂
      More in store…I am completely sold on the 3D stretching!!!!
      PS – I made a 30 min mini-vid on Animoto yesterday! It’s over on the right hand side of my blog! LOVE IT!
      Thanks for the encouragement, suggestions, and support! You rock!

      March 11, 2009 at 10:17 am

  2. I like the 3d Transsverse one ALOT…nice one!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    • Heck yes!!!!!!!
      It feels good all the way up to the hip! 🙂

      March 11, 2009 at 10:15 am

  3. JMJ

    Love the variation of these. I have front squats on my routine trmw, I’ll give these a try during dynamic warm-up for sure. Thanks Sarah.

    March 10, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    • Awesome! No problemo!!!!!!
      Let me know how it goes!
      I love these b/c it doesn’t feel like you’re “forcing” the stretch…it’s more like you’re “encouraging” the ankle’s mobility 🙂

      March 11, 2009 at 10:15 am

  4. DDRdiva

    Good videos. I like how you used a mat, because then we can see exactly how your feet are placed.

    March 11, 2009 at 8:36 am

    • Thank you!
      I didn’t plan on it turning out that way, but when I went back and watched the vid the first time, I realized the mat was really useful b/c of that! 🙂 Everything lines up with the mat!

      March 11, 2009 at 10:10 am

  5. DDRdiva

    Say: maybe you could take an old Twister mat and write the numbers 1-4 on the dots with a magic marker, then give instructions like ” put your right foot on blue number 4 and your left foot on red number 1 and stretch…” You could even market it as the Rippel Method Fat-Burning Mat (gotta have “fat-burning” in there so it’ll sell) LOL!

    March 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    • I LOVE IT!!!!!!
      and SO true!
      “fat-burning” is one of the top key phrases in fitness marketing…lol!!!!!

      March 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm

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