Improve Ankle Mobility 777x431

How to Improve Ankle Mobility

Ankle mobility might not be something you think about regularly, but its limitations can surface in weird ways.

Do you have hip and knee pain? Do you struggle to squat or move as you would like? Does running hurt your feet and ankles?

While there are many reasons for the symptoms above, one thing you may not have considered is your ankle mobility. Hip and knee pain can often be an extension of limited mobility in your ankles. If your ankles don’t move properly, often another joint has to compensate in a way it is not supposed to, leading to pain. Improving your ankle mobility will almost always improve your squat and if your ankles move better it certainly may relieve some tension due to tight ankles when running. 

When we talk about ankle mobility, we are talking about the ability for your ankle to go into dorsiflexion—which means how far and well your knee can move over your toe. The body was designed to move well; however, many of us, whether due to age or a sedentary lifestyle, have lost the ability to move as we once did. 

But, we want to help you gain back some of your ankle mobility. 

Here are three exercises and mobility movements you can do to improve your ankle mobility. They can be performed before a workout, after a workout, or even on their own. Take the stretches slow at first and slowly build up over time - mobility is often a marathon, not a sprint.

#1 Weighted Ankle Mobilization

This is a great mobility exercise to begin with, and one that can help show new ranges of motion fairly quickly. 

To begin the movement, start in a lunge. The simplest, beginner's version involves driving your front knee over the same toe until you feel a stretch in your ankle. This typically shows up on the backside of your foot, right above your heel. Hold the end range for five seconds and repeat five times before you switch legs. Repeat three times. 

If you have access to a band or weights, two variations are especially helpful. To use the band, loop one end on something sturdy like a power rack at the gym, or even a bookcase or desk leg. Next, take the other end and loop it on your foot, right below the tongue of your shoe. Often, your poor ankle mobility is due to a bony block (this may feel like a pinch on the front of your ankle), so by using the band we create some extra space between the bones in your ankle allowing you to move better.

If you have access to a sandbag, kettlebell, or even a dumbbell, resting the extra weight on your front knee will allow you to get deeper into the stretch. No matter the variation, you can use the rep scheme above. Keep breathing, and pay attention to how your body responds. Improved ankle mobility is on the way.

READ MORE: 3 Exercises That Burn 200 Calories in Less than 3 Minutes

goblet squat with kettlebell

If you checked out our hip mobility article, this exercise might be familiar to you. Not only is the goblet squat great for hip mobility, but it can also really improve your ankle dorsiflexion. 

Begin by taking a kettlebell, dumbbell, or even gallon of milk to serve as a counterbalance. Squat as deeply as you are able, and hold for five seconds. Do this five times and repeat this sequence three times. When you sit at the bottom of the squat, shift your weight from one side to the other, being sure to drive through your heel and keep your foot on the ground. This should give you a deep stretch in your ankle. 

READ MORE: 5 Reasons Exercise Will Change Your Life

#3 Heel Drop Stretch with Calf Raise

Heel Drop Stretch with Calf Raise

This is your classic calf stretch, but with a little twist. 

Begin by finding an object about eight to twelve inches tall, like a step or step stool; it needs to be high enough so your heel doesn’t hit the ground when fully extended. With the balls of your right foot on the step, let your right heel fall as far as you can. Hold the stretch for three seconds then contract into a calf raise; extend as high as you can with your heel higher than your toes. Hold this top position for two seconds. Repeat five times on each leg, for three total sets.

Wrap Up

You are all set to unlock those tight ankles. Check out our article here for more information on improving your mobility. Your overall health involves so many things and we want to be here to support you in many different areas - from meal prep recipes and macro calculating to mobility resources

Which mobility exercise is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below. 

READ MORE: How to Improve Shoulder Mobility


Horschig, Dr. Aaron. “How to Improve Ankle Mobility.” Squat University, 10 Oct. 2022, 

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