Smarter Stretch Studio

Feet & Ankle Mobility Warm Up For Running

In today’s article I am going to show you a 2-3 minute program that when done consistently will do more to protect you from running injuries that anything else I know…

But not only that, it has the potential to improve your running efficiency too!

Today I am going to show you how to properly mobilize your feet and ankles.. And I promise you will thank me for it…

It is pretty obvious when you think about it, healthy feet and ankles are vital for injury free AND efficient running. They are your literal points of contact with the ground.

Every stride you take first starts with your feet and ankles. So if they don’t work properly, your body is forced to compensate, leading to injuries.  Despite this fact, very few people actually spend time looking after them…

Luckily we are going to change that today…

For those of you that don’t know what mobilization is, it is about moving your joints. And a mobility program is a sequence of exercises designed to make sure your joints are moving properly. It’s a little different from stretching, because stretching targets your muscles. And while both are important for runners, for reasons I am about to explain, mobility should be your top priority.

Firstly, if your joints don’t move properly your body is forced to compensate. In the short term, it causes injuries. In the long term, compensation leads to excess wear and tear on your joints and ultimately to degenerative diseases like arthritis.

And because you only get one body and one set of joints, you need to make sure you look after them. The more miles you run, the more important this is. Do you still want to be running in 20 years?

Thought so 🙂

Secondly, the main reason your body holds a muscle tight in the first place is to try to protect your joints. If your joints don’t move properly, your brain will hold your muscles tight to try and protect them. When your joints are moving properly, your brain has no reason to hold your muscles tight anymore and it simply lets them relax. So by doing a joint mobility program as part of your warm up and cool down, you will have less muscle tension and become more flexible. Pretty cool right?

So now that I have peaked your interest, lets very quickly talk about your feet and ankles. Then we can get into the good stuff..

Your feet are made up of 26 bones, 31 joints. They act as shock absorbers that soak up the force of your body weight every time your foot hits the ground. When they are not working properly their performance as shock absorbers is affected. This causes mechanical stress to be transferred to your ankles, knees, hips and back.

If just one of the 31 joints isn’t moving properly, it can cause a whole cascade of events! Because we start wearing shoes at such a young age, it is impossible to make it to adulthood with perfect feet. So unless you have been doing foot mobility drills your whole life, it is a guarantee this is affecting your running!

Your ankles are the link between your feet and the rest of your body. Their job is to transfer force from your legs to your feet. They are designed to be very mobile, but also very stable. A lack of mobility or stability in your ankles causes stress to be transferred directly to the knees, hips and back.

Does your knee, hip or back bother you when your run? And it won’t seem to get better despite doing all the glute med exercises your physio prescribes?

Well you might just have found out why. Many running injuries can be traced back to poorly functioning feet and / or ankles. And until you deal with the real issue, you won’t be able to resolve the problem.

So now lets move on to the program..

In the video below I will show you how to do it. But before you get started, there is one golden rule. NEVER MOVE INTO PAIN. If you feel pain during any of the exercises, try slowing down or reducing the range of motion. If you can’t find a pain free way of doing it, then just leave it out for now.

The exercises themselves don’t look like much, but I promise you if you do them properly they are very powerful.

In fact, only last night, a client told me that they are the best best thing she has ever learnt when it comes to looking after her body. She used to dread getting out of bed in the morning because her feet would hurt so much. Now she doesn’t even have to think about it!

I personally do this routine every single day when I wake up in the morning and as part of a warm up / cool down for running..

The exercises look nice and simple, but it is really important that you do them properly. Especially the toes pulls. Unless you get the joints to open, you won’t get the wonderful benefits…

If you would like help to make sure you are doing these exercises properly or if you are struggling to recover from a running injury, click the link below to book a free session with us.

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Keep moving


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