Foot and Ankle Mobility (Kristina Anderson)

Figure skating coach and certified strength and conditioning expert Kristina Anderson continues where she left off with her previous discussion of strengthening the feet. In this video, she focuses on foot and ankle mobility. Improving this mobility is important for skaters because it can affect the entire kinetic chain from the toes through the feet and ankles, knees,  hips and lower back. It’s necessary for mastering edge control as well as creating jump power.

Kristina recommends simply sitting down and stretching and massaging the toes with the hands. They can be bent forward and backward to stretch the toes themselves and the muscles of the feet. The next phase is a standing stretch, where the skater squats down with one foot tucked underneath with the toes bent back. This stretch can be intensified by simply pressing with more body weight and rocking forward and back. It can also be done on two feet to stretch both feet at the same time.

The next progression in this series uses a tennis ball (or other ball like a lacrosse ball or squash ball). It is basically the same as the previous exercise, with the skater standing on the ball with the toes curled over the ball. This intensifies the stretch, and allows more control either towards the pinky toe or the big toe. This exercise naturally spreads the toes and stretches them, as well as more muscles of the foot.

For ankle mobility, Kristina starts with a basic calf stretch against a wall with the toes raised. If a skaters struggles to keep the toes up on the wall, she recommends adding a foam roller to keep the toes raised. She starts with a straight leg and then intensifies the stretch by bending the leg of the calf to be stretched. She recommends holding this stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. The next ankle mobility drill has the skater in a lunge position with the front foot on a low bench so the skater can emphasize the range-of-motion of the forward ankle bend, while adding a small amount of body weight as needed.


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