In a previous post, we covered a self-guided assessment to see if you have adequate ankle mobility. If you have yet to watch that video or read about the assessment, you can do that here.
Ankle lift-offs are a great exercise if you are lacking range of motion OR if you have adequate PASSIVE ankle dorsiflexion range of motion, but have limited ACTIVE ankle dorsiflexion range of motion.
Get into a half-kneeling/lunge position and drive your front knee forwards, dorsiflexing your ankle. Find a decent stretch in that leg’s calf musculature, being sure to keep your heel on the ground. From this position, use all of the muscles on the front of your shin and contract them as hard as you can. Try to maintain this angle at the ankle! While maintaining this angle, rock your body backwards until your toes start to lift-off of the ground. You should really feel the muscles on the front of your shin working. Rep this out for a few sets of 15-20 reps. Repeat on the opposite ankle if needed.
Many of you will notice when you rock your body backwards that the angle at your ankle will increase. This increase in the angle shows that you do not have control and strength over your ankle dorsiflexion end-range of motion. This exercise will help strengthen that end-range of motion so you can own that range.