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Use This Quick Yoga Sequence to Increase Your Ankle Mobility

Mobility of the ankle joint is vital to support everyday locomotion. Ankle mobility requires both stabilization of the ankle joint (bones and ligaments) and flexibility of its surrounding muscles and tendons.

While stabilization strengthens the muscles around the joint to prevent and avoid injury, flexibility helps to increase range of motion in the joint for all of our physical activities.

As we become more physically active, we demand a lot of our bodies and our joints take on extra load as a result of that added demand. A healthy range of motion in our joints is paramount to maintain an active lifestyle and support longevity of our bodies over time.

Ankles are a finicky joint and even the most active individuals complain about weak ankles. Ankle sprains are extremely common and ankle injuries are an unfortunate and common side effect of sports and other physical activities like running.

Fortunately, we can find ways to support a healthy range of motion in our ankles and, hopefully, prevent injury in the future.
 

 
 

Use This Yoga Sequence to Create More Ankle Mobility

For this practice, you will need a resistance band or yoga strap and a foam roller or a yoga block.

Let’s get mobile!
 

1. Ankle Rolls

DJN Ankle Rolls
Ankle rolls increase the elasticity of your ankle joints.

Let’s try it:

  • Elevate your leg and rest your calf onto a foam roller or a block
  • Gently roll your ankle in a circular motion five to 10 times in each direction (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • This will increase blood flow and alleviate tension in the tissues around your ankle joint
  • Repeat on the other side

 

2. Plantar Flexion

DJN Plantar Flexion
Plantar flexion of your ankle stretches the top of your foot and ankle joint.

Let’s try it:

  • Come into a seated position with both legs extended
  • Place a strap or a resistance band around the sole of one foot and gently point your foot (into plantar flexion) and slowly release as you flex your foot five to 10 times
  • Repeat on the other side

 

3. Dorsiflexion

DJN Ankle Flexion
Dorsiflexion gently stretches your plantar fascia, which can help increase ankle mobility.

Let’s try it:

  • Come into a seated position with both legs extended
  • Secure a strap or resistance band around an external stable point (like a leg of a table or chair) and wrap the opposite side of the strap around the sole of one foot
  • Gently flex your foot (into dorsiflexion) and slowly release as you point your foot five to 10 times
  • Repeat on the other side

 

 
 

4. One-Leg Balance

DJN One Leg Balance
This shape builds glute strength, increases stability of your ankle joints, and supports your balance.

Let’s try it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and parallel
  • Transfer your weight to one foot and bend and lift your opposite knee to hip height
  • Balance for five breaths and repeat on the other side

 

5. Chair Squat

DJN Chair
This pose builds strength in your glutes and quads and increases the stability of your ankle joints, which you’ll want as you increase your ankle mobility.

Let’s try it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and parallel with your hands on your hips
  • Bend your knees deeply as you send your seat back to the space behind you
  • Align your inner knees with the inner edges of your feet and lean your weight back into your heels
  • To release, push down into your feet as you straighten your legs and rise to stand
  • Repeat this exercise five to 10 times

 

6. Lunge

DJN Lunge
Lunge builds strength in your glutes, quads, and ankles and improves your balance and proprioception.

Let’s try it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and parallel
  • From a standing position, step one leg straight back to create a 90-degree angle in your front leg
  • Return to stand and repeat on the other leg
  • Continue to alternate lunges from one leg to the other and repeat five to 10 times

 

7. Downward Facing Dog

DJN DD
Down Dog stretches your major calf muscle (gastrocnemius) and your plantar fascia to help improve ankle mobility.

Let’s try it:

  • From a table top position with your toes tucked under, hover your knees off the floor as you gently lift your seat back toward the space behind you and lengthen your spine to create a triangular shape with your body
  • Press your heels down into the earth to stretch your gastrocnemius, the chief muscle of your calves
  • Take five to 10 breaths here

 

8. Downward Facing Dog Active Stretch Variation

DJN DD w Pedal
This Down Dog variation stretches your minor calf muscles (soleus) as well as your plantar fascia.

Let’s try it:

  • From a Downward Facing Dog position, slowly bend one knee and press the opposite heal down
  • Feel the stretch in your soleus, the smaller muscle in your lower calves
  • Mimic a slow bike pedal with your feet as you alternate bending one knee and then the other

 
 

Go Slow as You Increase Your Ankle Mobility

Go easy on yourself and take breaks in between each of these exercises as needed.

Of course, we here at YouAligned advocate for a regular yoga practice as it’s a great way to increase flexibility and mobility of all your joints.

These Are the Top 10 Physical Benefits of Yoga

If a yoga practice isn’t the remedy you seek, we recommend incorporating a few of these exercises into your daily routine, which ensures that you are creating ankle mobility and a sustained range of motion as you move throughout your day.

If you have any ankle injury, avoid weight-bearing exercises until your ankle heals and modify your practice in the interim.

Foot or Ankle Injury? These 7 Chair Yoga Poses Are Just for You

Please consult with your doctor before introducing any of these exercises to your body.
 
 

Ready to Increase Full-Body Mobility?

Practice the Flexibility and Mobility online yoga program with Kelly Pender on YA Classes!

Flexibility & Mobility
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Denelle Numis

Denelle Jarro Numis is an advanced yoga teacher (E-RYT 500) based in San Francisco, California. In addition to her yoga credentials, Denelle has a B.S., an MBA, a love of travel and an impassioned zest for life. To learn more about Denelle check out her website or follow her on Instagram.

denelleyoga.com

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