Limited ankle dorsiflexion, decreased single limb stability, and posterior chain muscle weakness can negatively impact running mechanics, running efficiency and performance. For clients recovering from ankle sprains, achilles tendinopathy, knee/hip disorders or even surgery, this exercise is very helpful for restoring strength and power needed in triple extension for running, jumping, deceleration and sprinting activities.
Stand approximately 18-24 inches away from the wall. Place the hands flat against the wall at shoulder height. Begin standing on the left leg with a slightly bent knee. Slowly descend into triple flexion (hip/knee/ankle) by squatting on the left side as you reach the right foot toward the floor behind the body. The goal is to achieve maximal dorsiflexion in the ankle without the heel coming up or knee caving inward. Lightly touch the right toes to the ground, and then drive the right hip up and forward as high as possible toward the wall while pushing up into a full heel raise on the left side.
Pause at the top for 1 second and then repeat the sequence. Perform 10 repetitions on each side, and repeat for 2-3 sets. Emphasis should be on proper form and achieving full dorsiflexion at the bottom and full plantar flexion at the top of the movement. The wall provides support so that the client can focus on strength and mobility without losing balance.
1. Add a weight vest
2. Perform the concentric portion as a plyometric with a hop at the end of each rep
This exercise will facilitate closed chain dorsiflexion in the ankle, as well as focusing on the transition from triple flexion to triple extension needed for optimal running and explosiveness in sport. It is an excellent way to improve posterior chain strength, especially in the gastroc/soleus complex, while also addressing restrictions in the ankle joint that may limit performance. Working on this drill will help promote optimal running mechanics and reduce injury risk for overuse syndromes, reduce knee valgus collapse and improve overall strength, power, and proprioception.