Don't Fear Foot Locks: How To Strengthen & Improve Mobility for Ankles
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Don’t Fear Foot Locks: How To Strengthen & Improve Mobility for Ankles

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Don’t Fear Foot Locks: How To Strengthen & Improve Mobility for Ankles

 

Having strong ankles is important for any athlete as it’s the base that will help you have balance.

Every time you are attempting a takedown, passing someone’s guard or bridging, your ankles need to absorb the impact.

Having strong and flexible ankles is also very important when it comes to dealing with foot locks. In a sport like BJJ, you can experience submissions that put a serious torque on your ankle such as toe holds:

or  the straight footlock:

 

To deal with foot locks, you will need to improve your mobility and stability. This will reduce your risk for injury.

How to do this:

  1. Practicing foot locks
  2. Passive stretching
  3. Incorporate range of motion ankle exercises for BJJ:
  4. Working on foot lock defense

An  effective way of improving ankle flexibility for BJJ, is practice getting as far as you can with a controlled foot lock (from a trusted partner) during a 20 second hold:

foot

Passive stretching ( Source: http://www.foot-pain-explored.com/):

1. Foot Pulls

 Purpose: To stretch the muscles across the front of the ankle and improve plantar flexion at the ankle joint

Foot pull ankle stretch to increase plantarflexion. Approved use www.hep2go.com

Starting Position: Sit with the foot to be stretched crossed over your other leg, or resting on the floor/bed as shown.

Action:
Grasp the middle of your foot and slowly pull the foot downwards to stretch the front of the ankle.

Repetitions:
Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 10-25 times

Variations:
You can stabilize the foot further by supporting just above the ankle

2)  Side Stretches

Purpose: These ankle stretches can be used to improve inversion and eversion, the twisting movements of the ankle

Ankle stretches to improve the twisting movements of the foot, inversion and eversion. Approved use www.hep2go.com

Starting Position: Sit with the leg to be stretch crossed over the other leg.  Grasp the outer border of your foot

Action: 1)
To improve inversion: Grasp the outer border of your foot and gently draw the foot upwards and inwards as if trying to turn up the sole of your foot until you feel a stretch down the outer side of your ankle
2) To improve eversion:
Grasp the inner border of your foot and gently push the foot down and outwards as if turning the sole of the foot towards the floor until you feel a stretch on the inner side of your foot

Repetitions:
Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 10-25 times

Note:
If only one of these movements is limited, just work on that one, but if the whole ankle is tight and stiff, do both movements.

3)  Heel Sit Backs

Purpose: Stretch the front of the ankle and improve plantar flexion of the ankle and toes with this ankle stretch

Heel sit backs to help stretch the ankle. Approved use www.hep2go.com

Starting Position: Kneel on a bed/table with the middle of your foot off the edge.

Action:
Slowly, sit back onto your heels until the ankle stretches at the front

Repetition:
Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 10-20 times

Progression:
Increase the stretch by sitting further back onto your heel and/or moving the foot further onto the table

 

3. Incorporate these range of motion ankle exercises for BJJ:

Jeff Glover takes his ankle flexibility seriously…

A video posted by Jeff Glover (@youjitsu) on