jo skates

Thoughts about skating and the practice of everyday life

Ankle rocker

2 Comments

So after watching lots of videos from Worlds 2017, I feel a little maxed-out on skating commentary. So apart from the very brief lesson notes (double threes, navel towards the circle, open mohawks, more speed), I will just write about the very useful article that I found about improving my “ankle rocker” range of motion. Track coach Chris Korfist makes a really compelling case for why ankle function is crucial to speed for runners.

Mr. Korfist talks about how many athletes work on developing hip extension and strengthening glute muscles, but don’t think much about the way the ankle works. He describes what happens when the  “ankle rocker” (the way the ankle moves when one is in the middle of a step forward) is inhibited or locked. The body cheats by swinging the free leg around at the hip in order to compensate for this lack of motion, or the knee buckles inward, or the arch collapses.

It is this motion of the ankle that allows for efficient weight transfer and proper alignment. An athlete can be strong in other ways, but “it is proper ankle rocker that dictates an athlete’s ability. ” As I read this detailed account, I realized that my “ankle rocker,” particularly on my right side (the ghost of broken fibula and torn ligaments past) is really inhibited, and the inability of both my ankles to rock properly affects a lot of the movements I do both on and off the ice.

The article doesn’t specifically talk about skating, but I can think of many ways in which the same principles apply. Just think about the rocker of the blade as following the proper motion of the ankle!

Mr. Korfist gives a number of useful suggestions about how to make progression on developing the “ankle rocker.” He includes a video from Dr. Shawn Allen of “the Gait Guys” that has a couple of really good exercises that I’ve been doing for the past couple of days. Call me optimistic, but I think I can already feel a difference in the way in which my ankles and feet are moving. As Mr. Korfist says, this isn’t a magic bullet–but for me it’s hopefully (hahaha!) a step in the right direction.

Here’s our post-skating (post-mortem?) session!

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Jo, Marc, Joanne, Sonia

 

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Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

2 thoughts on “Ankle rocker

  1. Great post, Jo! You are right that many of us (myself included) don’t use the ankle as much as we should but instead focus on cheating the elements by extending other parts of our body instead. Worlds was wonderful to watch. Tess and Scott were amazing, as usual – their performance had me completing mesmerized the entire time.

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  2. Worlds was so exciting! The ice dancer had me on the edge of my seat. I think I’ll need a few days to recover from Yuzuru Hanyu as well. Luckily I can sit there and do ankle exercises while I catch my breath.

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