I know, not a fancy title lol. But it gets to the point!
I’ve rarely (knock on wood) hurt an ankle and the “injury” didn’t last beyond the first pangs of pain but wow, did it hurt. One of those times, I slipped down a flight of stairs and gave my ankle a good twist. I thought I had broken it. It was fine! But I laid there for a minute like oh SHIT.
It can happen – easily – in the law enforcement officer – sitting in their cars – then needing to leap out suddenly.
Often when I’m doing this or that, leaping out of car, I’ll stop. Think about it. Then repeat the action. I’ll pay close attention to my feet while running upstairs. Today during takedowns, I did that. I’ll think of all of the ways that I can hurt myself… and while everything can’t be prevented! … I’ll think of ways that SOME things could be prevented, and I think about reinforcing this or that, etc.
I THINK why I don’t have ankle injuries is because I use a trampoline. On the trampoline, I’m doing repetitive calf raises, on one leg then on just the other. Because the fact that the trampoline is flexible, I’m doing tons of dorsiflexion (pull the foot up) and plantarflexion (pointing your foot away from you). I’m moving my feet into inversion and eversion …. that is, turning each foot so the bottoms of your feet point outwards and then inwards. Like circling your feet (comfortably!).
All of this is very good and necessary. 🙂
Then we’ve got to stretch our gastrocnemius (largest muscle in the calf of the leg), enormous in most gymnasts (mine as well). And that soleus needs to also be stretched. A lot of this happens automatically with a trampoline.
A simple rebounder can be very helpful…. just check weight limits. You’d want to be on the lower end if you want to truly go nuts on it like I do LOL! But a high quality tramp should be able to handle a bigger person if you’re just doing some light bouncing/ ankle work :-).
Some FUN Shit to do:
-A little warm-up- (Have one)
1) Get a partner. Face them. Toss a medicine ball back and forth. Stand on 1 leg while doing this. Get some foam under there for more of an unstable surface 😉
This is what you want to work up to. This is where unstable is really good stuff.
2) Resist Eversion!
Sit down. Get a mini resistance band and place it around both forefeet. This is how you ill strengthen your lateral ankles —> you’ll rotate your feet upward and outward –> against the resistance.
3-4 Sets of 12
3) Calf raises …. and you know how … you can do these on a step bench or on a step on your stairs or on nothing! 🙂
PRIOPRIOCEPTION (twice a day if you can)
I love this shit. Again…. gymnastics.
If I were to define this …. it’s about knowing/ feeling where one body part is in relationship to another, and the effort and strength needed in the movement. When people are asking so many questions about executing a move (& questions ARE good 🙂 … I know they’ve mental-bodied it. There really is a feeling part to movement… & that IS real.
And well, this is really crazy but sometimes I close my eyes and bounce on my trampoline, spinning so fast on it where I can hardly breathe (it can actually be quite dangerous) but I love how it feels and it challenges my sense of prioprioception. I’ll stop suddenly while the room whizzes by (we call this the inner ear check in gymnastics) and I’ll time my “spin out recovery time” (time it takes for the room to stop spinning). Sometimes (I don’t advise this!) just after coming out of a spin, I’ll toss a straddle or Russian into the air. Gymnasts really are 5150. (What’s better than bouncing? Spinning AND bouncing. K… that sounds kinda bad…)
So —-> We want to develop some GOOD prioprioception and not kill ourselves :
1) Don’t be doing this around clutter. But you should be good at this.
Stand on 1 leg. Balance as long as you can. Do the other leg. 5 times each leg.
2) Do the same with your eyes closed.
3) Now use a foam mat or a towel …. balance on 1 leg with your eyes OPEN.
4) #3, but with eyes CLOSED.
(We’re teaching your ankles to not only get stronger but to ANTICIPATE). You won’t see an ankle twist before it happens. You’ll be running over some terrain, a curb and BAM.
5) Now we’re going to hop.
-Take tape or something and draw a line on a floor. Stand on 1 side of the line —> on 1 foot.
-Now HOP from 1 side to the other & back again.
-On your landings : Remain balanced on 1 leg for about 2 seconds before beginning to hop again.
Get that? Feel free to ask questions if not! This is important stuff.
There’s more. And then there’s extra fun crazy shit but we’ll start here for now. 🙂