Ankle Flex Range

Most skiers flex their knees more than their ankles. This unfortunately causes body weight to rest consistently over the middle and back of the skis.  This also fatigues our muscles and puts extra strain on the knee joint.

The reasons for this are

Ski Boots inappropriate for your ankle flex range
Specific muscles perhaps too tight or ankles lacking in mobility
Over use of knee flex due to incorrect ski technique

Our solutions

Ski Boot check

Many skiers spend years in ski boots that don’t allow their ankles to flex.  It’s important to check your boots and make sure they are appropriate for your ankle flex range. The way to check this is stand up straight in them, then try and assume a normal ski position. You should feel consistent contact of your shin against the tongue of the boot and your weight evenly distributed along the length of your foot.  You will feel support from the boot but it should be comfortable, not painful.

If you don’t manage to do this very well, or not at all, your ski boots may be inappropriate for your body weight or skiing ability.  At this point it is worth getting a ski professional or expert fitter in a shop to check them out.  If you find that your boots do have the correct resistance for your body weight and skiing ability then it could be an issue with range of movement in your ankle joint.  You can easily test this range with the Ankle Flex range and angle test.

Flexion range + angle test

By taking a measurement of how far each person’s ankle allows them to flex, we can tell early on if the simple mechanics of the sport will work or not. The ideal range for safe skiing on the flex test is between 10cm and 15cm with ideally the same flex range on the right and left ankle. Our previous findings have shown over 95% of people show a clear difference between their left and right ankle flex range.

In addition to your score above, this range will also relate to an angle between the floor and your shin. The accepted healthy range for this angle is between 20-40 degrees.

Flexion range + angle test
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Ankle flex exercises on skis

There are numerous exercises on skis to help you use your ankle joint effectively whilst skiing and get comfortable with you ski boots.

Once you are controlling your ankles and ski boots you can get on with your ski technique development, but remember, if you build your technique on a foundation that is unbalanced or lacking in mechanical movements, the future of your skiing will become vulnerable the more you test yourself against challenging terrains and speeds.

The result of improving the way you use your ankle joint when skiing and being able to control your ankle flex will create better balance and an ability to use muscles to steer instead of using them to simply support your out of balance body weight.

Leg Flex Pattern
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Ankle mobility & flexibility exercises off snow

In the process of working through your flex test you may find that one heel lifts off the ground before the other, this is common when testing your ankle flex abilities.  Most people have muscle imbalances that affect their skiing.  Many people have a tighter calf and tighter hamstring on one side that will affect their skiing.

You can help improve and manage this range by performing a variety of flexibility and mobility exercises. These are always best done after exercises and when properly warmed up. Please have a watch of the following video for lots of useful exercises and advice on this.

Video coming soon!!!

 

Ankle mobility & flexibility exercises off snow
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Developing Ankle strength & stability

Once you have mastered the use of your ankle joint within the ski boot, and can consistently control the flex of your boot, the next step is to start working within a functional range whilst skiing to create better turns. Developing the strength and stability of your ankle joint off snow will be of a huge benefit as you learn to control the range of this movement thereby giving you the ability to maintain good positions over your skis. Please watch the following video for lots of useful exercises and advices on this.

Video coming soon!!!

Developing Ankle strength & stability
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