The Importance of Analyzing Ankle Mobility

Many people’s current training programs are loaded with double legged “functional movements,” but they have discrepancies between their right and and left sides. We at OPT believe that this can cause problems over time if it is not assessed and corrected appropriately.  In the CCP courses, we show two screens (one to show dorsi-flexion range of motion and the other shows pronation and supination to show tibial rotation) to assess unilateral discrepancies.


If someone does has an inability to go through proper range of motion in both ankles or has that difference from one side to the other, they will be at risk for injury doing a variety of movements that require optimal movement in the ankle joint.  Some common movements in the sport of fitness can be high speed running, plyometrics, jump roping, over head squatting, front squatting, and high speed weightlifting.  There are a variety of ways to improve this dysfunction, but over time it may have to be something that is “referred out” to a professional.


In this video, James discusses some of the screens OPT uses to look at the functionality of the ankle joint and how dysfunction can cause problems with people in the sport of fitness or in search of balanced fitness.





  1. Lucas Davis

    I find that I hit the “wall” with my subtalar joint (or maybe it’s lack of dorsiflexion) when I do front squats or back squats. Overhead squats however are not as much of a problem. For that reason, my Overhead squat max is better in relation to other athletes who have higher back squat and front squat maxes. I definitely feel more load in my hips during front and back squats and I’ve known for some time it’s due to the lack of ROM in my knee over the shin connection. So, I have researched quite a bit on how to increase my ROM and I’ve found little help. I’ve found that the VooDoo band helps as well as working on the Gastrocnemius muscle. The problem I found is that I am constantly tight my Gastrocnemius muscles. I think in order to gain ROM in the ankles, I need to not only work on mobility at end ranges but the real challenge for me is to find a way to keep the Gastrocnemius muscles relaxed and/or find a way to make them recover a little faster. Thoughts on this or ideas on how to make that happen?

  2. James Fitzgerald

    which “wall” are you describing when you say hit the wall for FS or BS?

    it makes sense that OHS feels better as its lower load than FS and BS

    how are you determining that the reason your max BS and FS is lower in relation to others is due to ankles?

    to increase ROM in the ankle, you go away from the ankle to get it, its a simple joint that if simple mobility does not help it it can be other areas that need stabilizing…
    i.e. increase stability in the glutes with SL work has shown to increase ROM shin over toe in squatting in some clients i have worked with, lengthening the piriformis, rectus femurs, QL and high hamstrings has helped as well as it allows pelvis to rotate better also, which allows better shin over toes

    if your gastric is constantly tight it means that it is doing the 2 jobs that it does too much, its that simple, the gastroc is a knee flexor and ankle extensor, it helps in knee flexion and plantar flexion…it also helps in decelerating the shin in landing for bounding and running, etc…so if it is always tight it means your ass is too weak or not working well enough relative to the work the gastric is doing…great jumpers do not have big or even relatively higher gastrocs, they have awesome asses – so get that ass activated with ext rot work, hip extensions work, all activation work, then see how it helps gastrocs over time


  3. Luke Davis

    I feel as if I’m hitting the wall of my ankle’s mobility in FS and BS. But, in the OHS, I just hit the threshold of the strength in which my Quads can move heavy weight. I have an OHS of #245, but my Front Squat is #275. That should be much different, so I think compared to other athlete’s data. I’m fairly new to the OPT blog and I am an EC client. I will reach out to my awesome Coach, Matt Bryant and have him look into programing more of the work you recommended. I’ve hit PR’s in every single lift, in every single set range possible in the 2 months I’ve been with him. Not bad for a 5 year CFT Athlete! Thanks Coach!

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