Controlling your Ankles

Coach @vinny_talluto is a great athlete and performs all lifts very well. But when taking his shoes off, it becomes more obvious that he struggles to control his ankles.

RULE #1: Lose the shoes!
    – When looking at “flat feet” the foot is flat because the fascia of the foot are too low and they are not upheld in an arch.
     – The arch forms in response to demand, created by the muscles of the lower leg, the peroneals.
     – These strong tendons attached to the foot, literally hoist up the arches.
     – “The tibialis pulls up on a weak section of the medial longitudinal arch, the fibularis tendon supports the cuboid, the keystone of the lateral arch, and together they help prevent the proximal part of the transverse arch from dropping” (Tom Myers)
     – It’s no coincidence that “arch-less” feet are often observed to be coupled with thick ankles and shins. The muscles of the lower leg do not interplay.
     – “Thickening usually implies that fluids are a collecting (lymph and interstitial fluid) because the muscles/tendons are immobile or toneless. When muscles do not expand and contract, fluid collects” (Ida Rolf).

*Seen in the video are some movements I practice with clients to help create the demand of the tibialis and peroneals.

Lateral Weight Shift:
     ➡I like to begin with a basic side to side weight shift on the ankle to try and encourage the demand of the lateral compartment of the lower leg. This engagement intends to tease the idea of creating an arch.

Sissy Squat Hybrid:
     ➡Eccentric neural grooving of the anterior compartment of the lower leg. The anterior compartment is often left untrained and is essential for lower leg and ankle health.
     ➡Here, I have Vinny weight shifting forward to the range that he can control without having his ankles “dump” or collapse in.

SLDL on the Rock Mat:
     ➡The idea here is to create an unstable/imperfect environment for the foot. This forces the intrinsic musculature of the lower leg to work over time and control each range.
     ➡Here we are also focusing on eccentric control
     ➡I like to keep the weight low and the speed slow for these.

Split-Squat Holds:
     ➡Here we are focusing mainly on unilateral control of the ankle while trying to maintain that forced arch (by continuing to keep the weight on the lateral aspect of the foot).

💡Too often we expect athletes and adults to control forces at high speeds. Slow them down and observe. What’s going on at the feet and ankles.
💡You will often find that great athletes are good at faking movement patterns at high speeds.
💪🏼Slow them down for a challenge and see what their body is telling you!