I created this 10-minute mobility flow to alleviate foot, ankle, shin & knee pain, stretch the calf & shin muscles of the lower leg and improve walking, running, squatting, lunging & jumping performance. The main focus will be on improving plantarflexion and dorsiflexion. Plantarflexion occurs when your forefoot is moving or pushing downwards. Dorsiflexion occurs when your forefoot is moving or pulling upwards. Please do these drills barefoot for best results. This is also an incredible pre-walk/run warmup, especially if you suffer from shin splints or runner’s or jumper’s knee.
Left-Leg Split-Kneeling Dorsiflexions @ 1 minute
Right-Leg Split-Kneeling Dorsiflexions @ 1 minute
Left-Leg Split-Kneeling Plantarflexions @ 1 minute
Right-Leg Split-Kneeling Plantarflexions @ 1 minute
Left-Leg Split-Kneeling Trail-Leg Toe Extensions @ 1 minute
Right-Leg Split-Kneeling Trail-Leg Toe Extensions @ 1 minute
Left-Leg Standing Elevated-Toes Calf Stretch @ 1 minute
Right-Leg Standing Elevated-Toes Calf Stretch @ 1 minute
Left-Leg Self-Assisted Plantar & Dorsiflexions @ 1 minute
Right-Leg Self-Assisted Plantar & Dorsiflexions @ 1 minute
Use elongated inhales through the nose into the belly and full exhales through the mouth for best results. I also recommend wearing knee sleeves for added comfort & support plus some bonus flexion-gapping mobility benefits.
For the Split-Kneeling Dorsiflexions, first shift your weight onto the toes of your lead leg and add side to side or rolling movement. Then flatten the foot and pin the ankle and heel down to the ground with your opposite hand. Oscillate the knee forwards & backwards and side to side with a particular focus on outward movement. Add a thicker resistance band to enhance the stretch by further mobilizing the joint capsule. Wrap the band around the lower hamstring of your trail leg and then loop both ends around the front of the ankle of your lead leg.
For the Split-Kneeling Plantarflexions, shift your weight back onto your trail leg with the top of that foot pressed into the ground or a padded surface. First work on flexing and extending your hips to mobilize the knee and relax into this awkward position. Then lift the knee up & down to further stretch the shin muscles. Finish by leaning back all the way onto the toes to fully mobilize the foot.
For the Split-Kneeling Trail-Leg Toe Extensions, dig the toes of your trail-leg into the ground as if setting up for a split squat. Use the same-side hand to block the heel down and work on sitting as much of your weight back into your toes as possible. Add gentle side-to-side movement for best results.
For the Standing Elevated-Toes Calf Stretch, elevate your toes onto a low step, weight plate, or big book. First work on mobilizing your upper calf or gastrocnemius muscle by keeping your lead leg straight for 30 seconds. Floss side to side, add rotation, and even bend at the hips to stretch your hamstrings. Then bend the knee as much as possible to shift the emphasis to the lower calf or soleus muscle for 30 seconds. Oscillate the knee forwards & backwards and side to side with a particular focus on outward movement.
For the Self-Assisted Plantar & Dorsiflexions, assume a staggered stance while holding a stick or PVC pipe for self-assistance. The focus is on loading the foot of the lead leg. Fully exhale through your mouth to push onto your toes as high as possible as if mimicking a ballerina. Then inhale through your nose into your belly to pull your toes as far back towards your shins as possible, shifting your weight onto your heel. Repeat for time. Progress to the super challenging single-leg variation over time. You’ll have to fight for every centimeter of movement since an elite level of ankle mobility and tibialis anterior & posterior strength is required.