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Back pain. Knee pain. Struggling getting off the toilet or out of a chair. Getting up from the floor is a challenge. Most of the exercises you do when you workout are difficult.

Any of these sound familiar?

What if I told you it all boiled down to one thing? How much time would you spend each day to make all of these issues go away?

I’ve been a functional fitness coach for a while and I’ve seen hundreds of people who have these problems. The large majority of them have the exact same root cause.

Lack of mobility in the ankle joint.

That’s it. Inflexible ankles create a compensation pattern that disrupts the entire kinetic chain and function of your body.

When you have tight ankles, your knees and lower back have to do extra work and operate in a way that compromises their function. The ability to achieve proper ranges of motion in almost all movements and exercise is greatly diminished. 

All movement starts with your connection to the ground. If that connection is not efficient and operating properly it messes up everything else.

Here are 3 simple stretches you can do on your own to improve your ankle flexibility.

Standing Calf Stretch 1

This stretch hits two areas of the calf and ankle. When you keep your leg straight and push your hip forward it focuses the stretch on the upper portion of the calf and behind the knee. When you bend the knee and push it forward it focuses on the lower calf and the ankle joint itself.

Standing Calf Stretch 2

This stretch hit all over the calf and ankle. You can play around with this one. Twisting your knee in and out will change where you feel the stretch. Stepping forward and alternating between a straight and bent leg will also change the focus. Spend time identifying where you feel tightness and work those areas.

Knee to Wall Stretch

This is a great one because it gives you a visual of how much flexibility you have. The further from the wall you can move your toes and still touch the wall, WITHOUT YOUR HEEL COMING OFF THE GROUND, the better you are. It will be different for everyone base on bone length but, 4-5 inches is a good start to shoot for.

I recommend doing this at least 3 times a week, even after you’ve gotten to where you want to be. Range of motion is important. It’s most important at the base of the pyramid. Keep your ankles moving well and you will see an improvement across the board in your quality of life, and your ability to perform exercises.

In case you didn’t make the connection. Being able to do more without pain or limitation EQUALS being more fit and healthy. 

Just fixing your ankle mobility can take you to the next level!

I hope this info helps. For more good info and a ton of great people check out the APEX Health and Fitness group on Facebook.

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