Greetings athletes. The 2016 CrossFit Open is under way as of 2/25/16. If you’re looking for fun workout videos to watch on YouTube, I suggest watching them! Each Thursday night for 5 weeks a new workout is announced. It has to be done to the exact specifications (Rx division and modified division) listed and you need a judge to record your score. I just finished 16.1 (hence my late blog post today). It was a doosie. I’m tired. I’m used. I’m happy. Continuing on with our running series and Dr. Kelly Starrett’s book, Ready to Run, our next standard is this:
Standard #7: Ankle Range of Motion
For this standard, you need to be able to kneel and hold pistol position with either leg. In a
runner, poor ankle range of motion is expressed in the duck-foot position (toes turned out). The knees may collapse inward, arches collapse, you may develop plantar fascia stress, bone spurs, bunions, and injury pain that will make you stop running. Poor ankle range of motion is also a side effect of wearing shoes that elevate your heels (as previously discussed).
Within the system of your ankle is the connection between the leaf spring-like mechanism of your feet and arches to your lower leg bones. Starrett refers to the achilles tendon as a heel cord. It is a 6-inch stretch of tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. Despite the miraculous abilities of the heel cord, running many miles and fast running tend to stiffen it up. When your ankle and heel cord are treated poorly, the repercussions can and will be felt up and down the kinetic chain. You want to achieve an elastic ankle complex. Meeting this standard is going to take some work and patience. If you are limited in either plantar flexion (pointing your toe) or dorsiflexion (flexing your foot), then you are missing out on the capability to use movement patterns you were born to use. The good news is that you can change. Your tissues and joints can change. You need to commit some time weekly if not daily to restoring the glide between the sliding surfaces in your tissues and improving your movement patterns. You need to be able to pass 2 tests (bonus= to pass these tests also requires healthy hip function.
Test #1: Dorsiflexion
Can you get into the pistol position? This is a full-flexion single-leg squat. Note: the heel is on the ground!!
Test #2: Plantar Flexion
Some good mobilizations/exercises for you to achieve these standards: You can do this one while you watch tv, no excuses. work the ball around your foot and arch, applying pressure wave motion using body weight.
Dorsiflexion work: In a kneeling position, spend time rolling back on your toes and waking up the range of motion.
Plantar Flexion Work: Invigorate the fascias in your feet and develop plantar range of motion
P.S. Personally I’ve found using a voodoo floss band on my ankles has also helped a ton in my ankle range of motion. This is especially true if you have an old ankle injury (like myself) with some scar tissue restricting your ankle flexion. Wrap it tight from your foot up to your bottom leg nice and tight. Then go through full range of motion squats, lunges, and other movements. Take off after a couple minutes.