Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your Amarillo personal trainer. Today we’re going to be talking about how to burn more calories by increasing flexibility in this one joint. This is going to be part one in a two part series, so be on the lookout for part two coming soon. If you have any questions then please give us a call at (806)-322-3188

A lot of the time people don’t realize that one joint can have such an impact on their fat loss, muscle strength, and muscle tone. But it really can affect it because this one joint is inhibiting the larger muscle groups from doing their best. And that large muscle group is  typically going to be your highest calorie burner.

So usually the more that you move, the more that you burn. Well if you can’t move very far and get very deep into an exercise, then you end up not burning as much. You really want to remember that it’s about the whole body, and specific foundations have to be met. But if your body is not functioning as one unit all together doing the same thing, then it can cause a problem.

So what are we talking about today? We’re talking about the ankle.

So a lot of times when people are doing squats they’ll have pains in their knees. That typically comes from doing a knee-forward position in their squat rather than a hip-back.

Well, the hip-back tends to bother some people because they can’t get as deep of a squat. So they feel like in the knee-forward they’re making more progress even through their heel is lifting off the ground and their form is off. But in the hip-back, they might get stopped high up. They might get stopped at a 45 degree angle, or a 90 degree, or maybe neither. So then they push forward in the knees and lift up through the heels.

So what’s going on there is typically they have a lockdown happening in the ankle joint. That ankle is not as flexible as what it could be, so therefore its not allowing the full range of motion that one would like. If that ankle joint is unlocked and you take the hips back, then you are able to get deeper into that squat without letting your toes up, or your heels up that would cause shifts through the body.

So the heel would be the first tell that something was happening. The toes come into it once you start to shift, and you try to wiggle as you move the body to try and get in a little bit deeper. So then again, not a solution there to move the body like that. You want to rather work on the flexibility of the joint to be able to help you to get deeper into your squats, lunges, and all the exercises that use this joint.

So what is causing this problem?

Well, when you think about it, you more forward all day long. You are constantly moving in the same direction. How often do you step out to the side, or walk back, or move in a direction other than forward? You don’t, so you don’t typically work that ankle joint in different directions even though it’s meant to work in all different kinds of motion.

What else happens, especially with females and even some males, is that our shoes have either just a slight elevation on it. The two extremes are high heels or flats. So even that slight elevation can cause some problems because our foot that should be flat, is elevated. That causes tension through that achilles tendon. So the achilles tendon starts to tighten along with the calf. Then the ankle joint gets kind of frozen in that elevated position. And with high heels that gets worse obviously. You’re up on your tiptoes, so that heel goes very high up.

And what about flats? I did mention something about flats. Well, the problem is that is you have ever watched someone wearing those ballet flats walk, they shuffle. They keep their foot completely flat and there is no range of motion through that ankle. As they walk, if they were to roll through that foot and lift the heel, the shoe would pop off every time. So typically people that wear ballet flats are just walking with a flat foot all of the time. And people on heels contract that achilles tendon causing that ankle lock. So you shorten different tendons, because different problems with that joint, and all around the muscles, ligaments, and tendons start to freeze up.

So what can you do about it?

Well first if you want to fix something, you have to know if you have a problem in the first place. You might not.

The best way to test that is to find a wall, and put your toes about four inches away from the wall. Your other foot isn’t going to be doing anything, so you don’t have to worry about it. You’ll put all of your weight on that foot close to the wall, you’re going to make sure that your knee goes straight ahead, and lean forward into the wall with your knee. If when your knee gets to the wall, your heel has to lift to get there, then you know that you have some ankle issues.

So if your heel lifts, then you’re going to move it closer and do it again. See how far away you can get from that wall to be able to maintain that knee down position, and get the knee to the wall at the same time. When you get there, go ahead and measure it. Consider that your beginning test score.

With that beginning test score, you’re going to want to improve on that over time. A range of about 4-5 inches is considered normal range of motion. There is no typical standards that have been cemented, but the 4-5 range is typically where you want to be.

I’m going to end part one here, but i’m going to be posting part two very soon.

If can’t wait for part two, or you want to know more about Custom Fitness and what we do here, then please give us a call. If you’re wanting the accountability and help with creating an action plan to see results, or are wanting to someone to help create a workout plan to push you to your greatest potential, then that’s what we’re here for. We have an entire team of dedicated professionals to help you with your health and fitness goals. To get your consultation set up, give us a call at 806-322-3188 or email us at info@customfitness.biz At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day.