Poor mobility in your feet and ankles will make it really difficult to kick ass at karate. That limited range of motion and neuromuscular control can negatively affect your posture, balance, stances, and ability to generate power, and can also set you up for injury.
So how do you improve your foot and ankle function so you can improve at martial arts? The answer lies in a 4-step corrective exercise process:
- Step 1 – Inhibit the overactive muscles.
- Step 2 – Stretch the overactive muscles.
- Step 3 – Strengthen the underactive muscles.
- Step 4 – Perform an integrative exercise targeting both overactive and underactive muscles.
The following video shows how you can improve mobility in your feet and ankles by targeting the usual suspects: tight/overactive calf muscles, and weakened/underactive shin muscles.
Following the corrective exercise sequence as outlined above and in the video, you can improve mobility in your feet and ankles by doing the following:
- Step 1 – Use a foam roller on overactive/tight calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus).
- Step 2 – Stretch overactive/tight calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus).
- Step 3 – Strengthen underactive/weak shin muscles (anterior tibialis).
- Step 4 – Perform an integrative exercise, wherein the calf and shin muscles work together functionally and effectively. (See video for an example of this.)
Following this 4-step corrective exercise process will improve flexibility and range of motion in the overactive muscles, increase strength in the underactive muscles, and “retrain” all of these muscles to work together in a balanced and functional way. This is how to effectively improve foot and ankle mobility so you can kick ass at karate. 🙂
Please note: tightness and/or weakness in other muscles not mentioned above can also contribute to poor mobility in feet and ankles. The ones mentioned in this article are the common culprits, and a good starting point. I will be making more videos on mobility for martial arts. Stay tuned!
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