How to improve ankle mobility for squats?


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By Danielle Hildreth

Does ankle mobility affect squats?

Ankle mobility, along with hip mobility, is what allows us to get into an optimal squatting position. Limited range of motion at the ankles compromises our form, which can lead to injury, especially once we start lifting heavier loads.

Can ankle mobility be improved?

If your ankles are weak, or if you’d like to boost your sports performance, ankle exercises and stretching can improve your mobility and strength. Including ankle stretching and strengthening in your daily routine will pay off in accident prevention.

Step 1: Strength Exercises that Improve Ankle Mobility

  1. Heel lifts. While standing, have the client lift their heels off the ground.
  2. Toe raises/heel drops.
  3. Toe/heel walks.
  4. Lunge.
  5. Overhead squat.
  6. Ankle flexion exercises.

Does ankle mobility affect squat form?

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 lack mobility and stability in your ankles you may tend to feel like you are going to rock back or fall over when you come down into a squatted position.

Do squats help with ankle mobility?

While heels elevated squats are great to get deeper into the squat and give your muscles a good burn, the toes elevated squat will challenge your ankle mobility and your balance by making the angle narrower, helping you improve your ankle dorsiflexio.

What does poor ankle mobility affect?

“If your ankle mobility is limited enough, it can impact your walking gait,” says Wickham. When your walking gait gets wonky, a chain reaction happens up your body that increases your risk of injury elsewhere. Hip and knee injuries are especially common in people with limited ankle mobility.

Does flexibility affect squat?

You need some flexibility to do a quality squat. Flexibility and lack of ankle and hip mobility are factors that limit how low you can descend into a squat. If your joints aren’t flexible, you’ll have a limited range of motion when you squat and won’t achieve as much depth.

Does front squat require more ankle mobility?

Front squats require a greater amount of ankle mobility than back squats and even more than box squats. A mobility restriction in the ankle joint can be caused by a restricted joint or tightness in the calf muscles. To test your ankle mobility and determine the cause of any restriction, perform a knee to wall test.

Why is ankle mobility so important?

The flexibility of the ankle can determine the ability of how to perform an exercise. As stated before, the body is a whole unit. When one area does not function at 100% then it causes a domino effect on the surrounding areas. Poor ankle mobility can even cause poor posture as the chest begins to lean forward.

How does ankle mobility affect the hips?

Also, tight connective tissue, like that in your ankles, pulls on your muscles and bones, and can irritate nerves causing pain. Ankle immobility may lead to heel pain, calf, shin and knee pain, but surprisingly, can affect your hips and spark low back pain as well.

What is the consequence of poor ankle flexibility is it a risk factor to injury?

Without a warmup period, muscles and ligaments will remain tight, and less flexibility means greater risk for stretches and tears.

How do you know if you have poor ankle mobility?

Let’s just do a quick assessment: Take a knee and place your toes 6 inches away from the wall. Lean forward and try to touch your knee to the wall without your heel coming up off the ground. If you can not get to the wall with your knee you might have poor mobility in your ankle.

Why is good ankle mobility important?

Some reasons why ankle mobility is important: Prevents knee and hip muscles from weakening. Prevents ACL injuries. Increases mobility around strength training.

Why is it important to stretch your ankles?

Otherwise, stretching your ankles may help with your range of motion and overall stiffness and soreness. Try to stretch regularly, or three to five days out of the week. You can also speak with your doctor or physical therapist about other ways you might be able to improve your ankle strength and flexibility.

How important is ankle flexibility?

The flexibility of the ankle enables the tendons, ligaments and muscles around the ankle to accommodate for these sudden movements or changes of direction and to help keep an athlete from unwanted injuries.

What is considered good ankle mobility?

Research shows that a normal range of motion for ankle dorsiflexion is somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees. Average plantar flexion is 40 to 55 degrees. If your client has trouble with these angles, ankle mobility may be restricted. Pain is another indicator that ankle mobility may be an issue.

Why is foot mobility important?

Mobility in the foot and ankle allows the foot to achieve its normal function without limitations by soft tissue or joint restrictions. Ankle dorsiflexion allows your body to progress over your foot during gait, go up and down stairs, and squat.

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