Lesson 23, Topic 1
In Progress

Downward Dog Heel Raise

Michael Bewley March 27, 2019

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The DWMA Downward Dog-Heel Raise is a dynamic, multi-combination movement screen that examines the following kinetic chain segments:

  • T-Spine Mobility
  • Core Stability
  • Hip Extension
  • Hip Flexion
  • Hamstring Extension
  • Soleus Extension

TIP #1: When the athlete performs the heel raise, cue the athlete to keep their foot and toe pointed to the ground. If you observe the athlete turning the foot/toe outward to achieve leg height, the athlete will need to incorporate the kinetic chain hamstring mobility and hip mobility corrective exercises.

TIP #2: Detect the balancing leg when the athlete performs the heel raise. Ideally, the heel should be flat against the ground. If not, the athlete will need to include the kinetic chain ankle mobility corrective exercises.

TIP #3: If you observe the athlete lifting their hand off the ground when they swing the leg through after the heel raise, cue the athlete to keep their hands on the ground. If they persist, the athlete will need to incorporate the quad mobility and hip mobility corrective exercises.


MOVEMENT SCREEN INSTRUCTION

Following straight-leg hip hinge is the dynamic multi-combination movement, downward dog heel raise. As the athlete begins this movement, observe their ability to maintain a plank position. Is the spine neutral or is the back sagging? If the athlete can perform a push-up during this movement, great. If not, have them progress from the plank position into the downward dog position. Now, as they transition into the downward dog, be sure to see how they freely and can extend their shoulders and hips and a straight line while pressing their heels into the floor.

As they raise their leg, observe their range of motion and ability to extend and maintain a straight trailing. And finally, as the athlete transitions and swings their extended leg up and through, study if the athlete freely brings their knee up underneath the body with the bottom of the foot making complete contact with the ground.

Now, specifically in the plank position, we are observing T-spine strength and stability in the shoulder girdle in combination with core strength and stability. If you see the athlete’s back sagging instead of being in a flat neutral spine position, it’s suggested they perform the T-spine mobility exercises along with the core strengthening exercises illustrated in the kinetic chain corrective exercises video. As the athlete’s mobility and strength improve, require them to perform a push-up between each movement. Once more, observing T-spine strength and stability in their shoulder girdle in combination with core strength and stability.

Now, watch the athlete. See how they transition from either plank or push-up into the downward dog position. Here, we are examining T-spine strength, stability, and mobility in combination with hip flexion, hamstring extension, and soleus extension. If the athlete’s range of motion is constrained, particularly in the hamstring and soleus extension, it’s recommended the athlete perform hamstring and ankle mobility exercises illustrated in the kinetic chain corrective exercises video.

As the athlete motions into the fourth dynamic combination movement, we are observing hip extension and strength. If you discover the athlete’s range of motion and ability to extend and maintain a straight trail leg are limited, assign the quad and hip mobility exercises illustrated in the kinetic chain corrective exercises video.

And lastly, as the athlete transitions into the final movement, we are observing hip flexion and hip extension. Study to see how the athlete can freely bring their knee up underneath the body with the foot making complete contact with the ground. If the athlete twists the body or swings their leg out to the side during this transition, it’s suggested they perform the hip mobility exercises in the kinetic chain corrective exercises video.

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