Ankle Stretches With Vanderbilt Baseball

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If the shocks on your ride go bad, odds are pretty good that other parts will start failing, too. According to John Sisk, strength and conditioning coach for the nationally ranked Vanderbilt baseball squad, your ankles are like shock absorbers. Ignoring them can be the catalyst for other body parts to stop functioning properly.

"In baseball, you're running and jumping all the time, which can lead to shin splints and knee injuries, so we work on full range-of-motion stretches for our ankles," Sisk says. "Baseball deals with a lot of quick, sharp, multidirectional movements that begin at the foot. By working the ankle, we can enhance performance while trying to eliminate a breakdown in that area, as well as others."

Sisk puts the Commodores through these two exercises year-round. If you have a history of ankle problems, he recommends doing them every day; otherwise perform them 3 to 4 days a week.

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If the shocks on your ride go bad, odds are pretty good that other parts will start failing, too. According to John Sisk, strength and conditioning coach for the nationally ranked Vanderbilt baseball squad, your ankles are like shock absorbers. Ignoring them can be the catalyst for other body parts to stop functioning properly.

"In baseball, you're running and jumping all the time, which can lead to shin splints and knee injuries, so we work on full range-of-motion stretches for our ankles," Sisk says. "Baseball deals with a lot of quick, sharp, multidirectional movements that begin at the foot. By working the ankle, we can enhance performance while trying to eliminate a breakdown in that area, as well as others."

Sisk puts the Commodores through these two exercises year-round. If you have a history of ankle problems, he recommends doing them every day; otherwise perform them 3 to 4 days a week.

Set-up for both exercises

• Sit on ground with legs fully extended and toes pointing up
• Loop band/towel around arch of one foot to create tension
• Place hands on each side of band/towel with palms facing inward

Seated Dorsi Flexion with Band

• Pull band toward you, keeping toes pointed up
• Point toes away from body against band resistance
• Repeat for 30 seconds [15-20 reps each way]; rest 20 seconds
• Switch band to other foot; repeat stretch
• Perform 3 sets on each foot

Coaching Points: Pull your foot towards you pretty snug to create your flexion. When pointing toes away, make sure you follow through as far as you can go; and while leaning back, keep your back straight and eyes focused forward. Also, remember to breathe throughout the exercise.

Seated Dorsi Flexion with Towel

• Pull towel towards you, keeping toes pointed up
• Hold stretch for two counts, then point toes away from body
• Perform 15 reps
• Switch towel to opposite foot; repeat
• Perform 3 sets on each foot

Coaching Points: You're trying to put a good amount of tension on the ankle so you get a good release off it. Make sure to get a full range of motion when pointing toes away.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock