Hi team! We’re back, and excited to share the next installment of the BODY series. Last month we did a deep dive into hip and pelvis health. We got great feedback and are pleased that you found this information to be so helpful. Today, we look at ankles and feet; how they function in running and what we can do to make sure we’re set up for success.
Check out the video and accompanying text as we carefully walk you through some game-changing ankle and feet exercises and share the “why” behind the importance of incorporating these into your training routine.
Part I: Foot and Ankle Function by Coach Emmi
Hey Team. Coach Emmi here @emmiaguillard_dpt. Today I am going to discuss how the ankle & feet function in running.
When a runner’s foot hits the ground, the ankle and foot joint rotate inward to help absorb the shock of hitting the ground and transfer kinetic energy up the chain. This is referred to as pronation.
When a runner pushes off from the ground, the ankle and foot joints adopt a more rigid lever (think of the new carbon plate running shoes) to maximize the amount of power that is propelling you forward. This is supination.
Having a foot that is mobile enough to pronate AND strong enough to supinate is critical for efficient and injury-free running.
In the video above (min 0:00-1:07), I demonstrate pronation and supination and how these movements function in running. I encourage you to stand up and give this a try at home.
Do you feel like you might have a foot that’s a little too flexible, or perhaps too rigid? Keep watching as Coach Carly breaks down how to work on improving the mobility in your ankles and feet.
Part II: Foot and Ankle Mobility by Coach Carly
Hi! Coach Carly here from Team Wilpers @carlyg_dpt . I am going to discuss how to make sure to have pronation and supination in your feet and ankles by doing mobility work that reinforces these motions. The exercises in the video (min 1:10-2:42) are great for everyone as a part of a maintenance routine and even more important for those who feel that they have a ‘rigid’ or ‘stiff’ foot.
Just like we encourage daily hip mobility work (TW athletes you know what I’m talking about), the feet and ankles need some love as well. Mobility exercises also ensure that force is properly dispersed during high impact activities – like running!
The first video (min 1:10) gives you two options of ankle and foot MOBILITY exercises to help increase rangesof motion. These are good to do before and after your runs to get your feet and ankles unlocked.
The second video is an ACTIVATION exercise (min 2:00) to help get the deeper muscles in the foot to turn on and support the ‘supination’ movement that happens when you push off. Activating your deep foot muscles is also good to do before and after your runs. It is especially important for those people that think they have a ‘flexible’ foot.
Try out these exercises and let me know if you have any questions. Please share with anyone you know who may have foot issues. Let’s all stay heathy and strong!
Next, Coach Ryan will share some ways to strengthen the feet and ankles. 💪
Part III: Foot & Ankle Strengthening by Coach Ryan
Hey Team, Ryan here @sslryan strength coach for Team Wilpers. For the third part of the TW BODY Series, I am going to explain how to strengthen the foot and ankles. *Keep in mind that FUNCTION (addressed above with Emmi) and MOBILITY (discussed with Carly), are critical components to understand before you strength train.
Foot and ankle strength and stability is important because strength issues of the foot/ankle will be felt up the kinetic chain (knees, hips, lower back).
To improve these interactions, here are a few exercises to get your feet/ankles strong (min 2:44-3:09).
In the first video, I demonstrate a standing circular calf raise. This exercise is a controlled articulation of the foot and ankle. You want to work both clockwise and counter clockwise on these. Go slowly and really try to feel what is going on as you move. Try to go back and forth for 5 reps each way.
You can do this exercise as part of your warm-up before training or include it in your strength circuit.
In the second video, I demonstrate the stationary toe tap exercise. There is a dynamic aspect as weight distribution rapidly switches from one foot/ankle to the other forcing you to get strong and rigid upon ground contact. This is a great exercise for runners who want pop and stability through the gait cycle. The trick here is to move almost exclusively through the foot / ankle. Try not to lift and flex the hips much.
Do these just before your running drills, during your run warmup. Try going for 30-60 secs. To build strength, hold smaller dumbbells and do 20-30 reps or so 1x.
Give these exercises a try. If you are interested in a full Team Wilpers strength program to compliment your training, check out our private coaching services at Team Wilpers Coaching. For questions please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks team and as always … Train Hard, Train Smart and Always Have Fun!