Rocking Reset - Foot & Ankle Mobility

Guest Post: Colin Dent

"The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art"

- Leonardo da Vinci -

Hardly a day goes by where I don't see something on social media, email or other platforms talk about hips, shoulders, lower back or knees.

Two things that are often overlooked though is our feet and ankles.

When it comes to restoration, mobility, and stability the superstars may be the shoulder, hips lower back and knees.

But what about the feet and ankles?

We were built to experience life on our feet. Our feet are designed to support our weight and to give feedback from the ground to our brain and be reflexively strong.

Ideally, we want ankles and feet that are mobile, stable, and strong.

One movement that stands out to achieve this is rocking. Yes, rocking - the developmental movement pattern we did as little ones before we started crawling.

Stay with me here - if we are designed to walk, run and jump while on our feet, then we surely should not be experiencing any pain doing these activities, right?

If we follow the sequence of crawl before you walk and walk before you run, it makes sense to go back and restore our reflexive strength and to optimise our movement by revisiting the movement patterns that allowed us to progress pain-free in the first place. In a sense, go back and earn our stripes.

Rocking is a developmental pattern we mastered before we started crawling, it is where we started to set and prepare our posture for walking and living life on two feet. It is where we started to integrate the whole body – the neck, spine, ankles, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

Rocking is a great place to visit to restore ankle and foot mobility, stability, strength, and the body's reflexive strength.

The body is one unit. If the feet and ankles are not reflexively strong it will affect other parts of your body.

I am not a foot expert but from my years of experience, your training can either make things better or worse.

Coaching Tips for Rocking

Caution: Starting rocking slowly. Listen and pay attention to your body and do not move into pain. The nervous system shuts down when we move into pain and the opportunity for learning will be lost.

  • Position yourself on your hands and knees so your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips.

  • Close your lips, rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breathe through your nose.

  • Keep your head up, eyes on the horizon and hold a big chest.

  • Rock back and forth shifting weight over the arms and then sitting back as deep as possible without the spine rounding.


Here are 6 variations that are worth exploring - provided you don't have an issue that requires medical attention.

As a bonus these movements could unlock performance plateaus, have a cross over to your fundamental movements like squats, and your wellbeing in general.

Rocking is also a great place to press reset on your nervous system, restore your posture, and improve your body’s reflexive strength.

Plantarflexion Rocking

Feet are in plantar flexion (top of the foot on the ground).

Dorsiflexion Rocking

Feet are in dorsiflexion (ball of the foot is on the ground).

Plantarflexion Variations

Ankles straight | Ankles out | Ankles in

Dorsiflexion variations

Ankles straight | Ankles out | Ankles in

So, there you have it, one movement and six variations for your feet, ankles and your body’s reflexive strength.

Enjoy your training!

Disclaimer: Please recognise that it is your responsibility to work directly with your health care provider before, during, and after seeking fitness and/or nutrition consultation. Any information provided is not to be followed without prior approval of your doctor. If you choose to use this information without such approval, you agree to accept full responsibility for your decision.

PS: Want help becoming the healthiest version of you?

You can view nutrition programmes here or send me an email with any questions about a personalised movement programme.

Colin Dent is an Exercise Specialist, Personal Fitness Trainer and Sports Conditioning Coach, OriginalStrength Pro Level 2 Coach and a Hardstyle Kettlebell Certified (HKC) Instructor.

He provides fully personalised strength & movement programmes online.

#movement #developmental patterns #vitality #strength