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WHY IS ANKLE MOBILITY SO IMPORTANT?

Ankle mobility limitations are almost always the number one problem that hinders good squat technique. If you want to get into a good, deep squat, your knee has to move forward over your toe, and that needs or requires ankle mobility. So if you have limitations, what's going to happen? Your chest is going to fall forward.


A lack of ankle mobility is a common cause of poor squat depth or poor squatting mechanics, leaving lifters frustrated.


To get into a stable and strong squat position you need your ankle to bend(flex).


The ankle is one of several joints involved in squatting and is important because its ability to flex will allow for deeper and more stable squatting.

If you are lacking mobility AND stability in your ankles you may struggle to get to correct depth without tipping over.


Some lifters may also find their demands for ankle mobility are higher, like long-legged lifters or lifters who squat in a narrow squat stance. This is because both of these require a greater degree of flexion in order to hit depth.

Certain squat variations require a greater degree of ankle mobility for example front squats and high bar back squats particularly when compared to low bar back squats.


So what can you do to improve your ankle mobility?


1. Calf Foam Rolling (Roller) with Ankle Dorsiflexion and Rotation


Sitting on the floor extend one leg outstretched on the foam roller and cross the other leg over top of the straight leg and roll backwards and forwards through the muscle.


Once you find a place of tension, flex your foot up towards you and then point it away from you and repeat, sinking the muscle deeper into the roller. Try and push as much of your bodyweight into the roller to increase the intensity.


As well as dorsiflexion, you can also keep the foam roller still while rotating your ankles in a circular motion.


2. Banded joint mobilisations.


Place a band around a rig. Elevate your foot slightly on a weight with the band wrapped around your ankle, resting on the front of your foot.


What the band is doing is helping improve that natural gliding of the joint. Helping to improve the motion of the talus bone gliding backwards against the tibia bone (your tall shin bone), improving the natural joint movement of the ankle.


Drive your knee forward over your toe and perform 20 reps holding for 3 -5 seconds each.


3. The box/bench stretch.


Place your foot on a bench, then drive your knee directly over the toe and hold. You can grab down on the box/bench and using your chest really pull down to increase this.

When you're driving your knee over your toe, we're getting a lot more stretch in your calves in the soleus muscle than your gastroc (big calf muscle), and that's often a main limiting muscle in our depth when squatting. Try holding this stretch for different periods of time from 15 seconds all the way up to a minute.



Try these 3 exercises for a few weeks and see how your ankles improve and feel! Don’t forget to check the videos out on the page! Happy Squatting!

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