In order to properly perform a full depth squat, our bodies require a certain amount of ankle mobility to allow us to get into the correct position. With the exception of a low-bar back squat, squatting necessitates that the knee be able to move forward over our toes. This forward forward flexion of the knee is facilitated by ankle dorsiflexion.
How can you measure dorsiflexion? Easy, by drawing a line with the shin and another line with the outside of the foot. The smaller or more closed the angle is, the more ankle dorsiflexion the athlete has. When there is a restriction in this motion, this is where athletes or normal gym goers run into trouble.
Stiff ankles are often a culprit behind our squat problems. We see It all the time, but despite being one of the most common issues when squatting I rarely see it addressed. When squatting, if your feet point outwards (like a duck stance for any snowboarders out there) when you squat even when you try your hardest to keep the toes forward?Do your knees constantly fall inward? All of these movement problems can be related to poor ankle mobility.
Instagram like lovers are particularly bad for not addressing mobility issues in favour of posting “booty gains” captioned videos. I’ve seen too many videos of guys squatting 170kg+ with horrendous hip and ankle mobility where their butt is pushed out and chest is allowed to dip, all so they can boast a high squat. Why? Because they don’t want to spend the time doing lighter squat, because it’s not trendy.
HOW TO SCREEN ANKLE MOBILITY
This test is called the half-kneeling dorsiflexion test. It’s one of the easiest tests that I’ve used numerous times to assess ankle mobility.
What to do: Find a wall and kneel close to it with your shoes off. Use a tape measure and place your big toe 5 inches from the wall. From this position, push your knee forward attempting to touch the wall with your knee. Your heel must stay in contact with the ground.
Use this movement checklist, if you failed anything from the checklist, time to work on some ankle mobility!
Knee can touch the wall at 5 or more inch distance
Heels remain firmly planted
Knees Aligned with Feet
No Pain noted
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