Dorsiflexion is the ability to bring the top of your foot closer to your shin.
I explained a quick test to determine if you have a restriction in my post 2 reasons your knee is always in pain.
If you have identified that you lack PROPER range of motion in the ankle joint, are experiencing knee pain or just want to improve your squat and lunge then this is the best place to start.
Proper dorsiflexion is enormously important when participating in any type of strength training (proper force production), running mechanics (proper toe-off) and actually just being an average human (to not destroy your knees with activities of daily living).
Prevention Is Better Than Cure. Modern day medicine is extremely reactive rather than proactive. Get sick, and the Doctor slams antibiotics in your face. Understandably stuff happens in life but every human should have a base of knowledge when caring for his body. Don’t eat your vegetables, don’t wash your hands and kiss a sick leprechaun. Guess what happens? You get sick.
I think a lot more athletes should ask the question ‘how to improve dorsiflexion’ because the same thing happens in movement. You don’t have proper dorsiflexion and say you also lack adequate glute extension and now you squat/run or jump like crazy. Guess what happens? You get knee pain.
There are certain prerequisites that need to be met before you go crazy under heavy weight and/or plyometrics. And one of them are to have proper dorsiflexion.
If you don’t have proper forward range of motion in that joint something else WILL compensate, be it your ankles lifting of the ground when lifting something heavy, the knees caving in, the feet caving in, your back or some other weird compensation and holy mother now you have pain somewhere along the kinetic chain, who would have guessed.
How To Improve Dorsiflexion?
- Foam roll the gastrocnemius and soleus (calf muscles)
- Foam roll the Achilles
- Stretch the calf muscles in a straight position and in a bent position at the knee.
- Right after that do an ankle mobilization exercise.
- Do a dorsiflexion drill. (The dorsiflexion test we did can be done as a drill)
- Train the tibialis anterior muscles.