So, here at The Brake we love to give light to the underdog.
The whole brand is built on supporting the lesser reported individuals in winter sport, we’ve covered lesser-trained muscles with our ‘adductor importance’ pieces and now we turn our sights to the most important, but bizarrely undertrained joint in pushing - the ankle.
There’s a fair bit of research now showing the massive forces present in the hip, knee and ankle joints during pushing a sled. The most impacted though? The ankle. By far.
Besides a few pogos and other dorsi-flexion enhancing, bouncy sprint drills (not hating by the way these absolutely should be in your training arsenal), we do precious little conditioning of the joint itself.
In fact, it’s only the athletes who have had previous ankle issues that I see doing any sort of mobility or strengthening work.
As the old adage says though, ‘prevention is better than cure’, so let’s look at some exercises you can get in early doors to address strength in this joint.
This is article 1 on the subject, the exercises I’ve put here I think are the foundation of conditioning and armouring your ankles for the rigours of power training. There are a lot more to come.
Spoiler alert - you need a theraband of some description. (Easily and cheaply purchased on Amazon. Mine are cheap and from Decathlon and are absolutely fine)
Banded Ankle Conditioning.
As mentioned, these are a foundational group of exercises that help you strengthen, condition and co-ordinate your ankle joint. They’re fantastic for a number of reasons and are so easy to put into your session prep that there is really no reason not to.
You can play with tempo and really get to learn how your ankle moves through different modes of flexion. You will build the weirdest lactic acid sensation when they fatigue. You can progress the strength of the band you use (but be patient it doesn’t need to be a crazy heavy band).
Basically, through consistent tension, you will strengthen, support and activate your ankle through its entire range.
Follow the videos and let us know how you get on.