Why overlooking ankle mobility is bad for your golf game
Most golfers know that hip, shoulder and thoracic spine mobility are mainstays of a good golf swing. Similarly, ankle mobility is critical to the golf swing, but unlike its joint counterparts, it often goes ignored.
Your ankles naturally flex to help you maintain your posture when you take your golf stance. As you transition into your downswing, you naturally squat, which helps draw power from your legs. However, to be able to correctly activate your lower body, you need functional ankle mobility.
Lacking mobility at your ankles will force you to early extend, pushing you out of your posture, sapping your swing of power and causing unpredictable misses to the right and left.
To determine if your ankle mobility is holding back your swing, kneel down on one knee, keeping your leg at a 90-degree angle. Then, press your knee over your toes as far as you can, while keeping your heel on the ground.
A normal range of motion will allow you to press your knee about five inches over your toes. An easy way to determine if you meet this range of motion is to put your fist on the ground in front of your toes — if your knee travels to the end of your fist, your ankle mobility is good. Watch the video below for a demonstration of this ankle mobility test.
If your knee doesn’t travel five inches, you have limited ankle mobility. Luckily, this can be addressed with mobility exercises that target the muscles surrounding your ankle joint like the ones described below.
1. Lacrosse ball mysofascial massage:
Using a lacrosse ball to improve mobility is one of the most versatile exercises that can be applied to every part of the body including your ankles. To do this, take a lacrosse ball and place it under your calf and move the ball around until you find a trigger point. Sit on the spot and work on it by making small clockwise and counterclockwise circles until it dissipates. After rolling out both sides of your calves, gently roll the lacrosse ball under the arch of your foot. Be sure to avoid your toes and the base of your heel.
2. Heel Raises:
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, place your toes on an inclined position – you can use anything from weight plates to a book. Then, dorsiflex your ankles by bending your knees forward until you feel a slight stretch in the back of your ankles. Hold this position for two seconds, and return to standing. Do five sets of 10 reps.
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