The squat form can be limited by one or multiple factors including your low back, hips, knees, or ankles. When discussing loaded squats, shoulders can also be a limiting factor for holding weight on a barbell.
Today we will discuss the impact of ankle mobility on squats.
With squats, the most important ankle mobility to have is called dorsiflexion. Ankle dorsiflexion is when you pull your foot/toes back as far as you can. This range is needed for not only squats but walking and stairs as well. It is important that your knee is able to move forward when you perform squats. Otherwise, you will be off balance and likely fall backward or will have to perform a squat with a modified range of motion
How to Improve Ankle Mobility
If you have limited ankle range of motion, it is likely due to a previous ankle injury such as a sprain, a recent injury, or surgery. With any of the above, it is important that you regain your range of motion so your ankle does not become stiff in the long term.
Exercises for Ankle Mobility (least aggressive to most aggressive)
- Active dorsiflexion range of motion
- Seated ankle dorsiflexion slides
- Standing ankle dorsiflexion rocking to wall
- 1/2 Kneeling ankle dorsiflexion
- Ankle dorsiflexion rocking with the band for counterforce
Ankle Mobility Progression and Exercise
While working on your specific ankle dorsiflexion range of motion functional exercises are important you are putting them into function. This means performing your mobility exercises at the start of your session and following it up with movements such as squats, step-ups, step-downs, or lunges to reinforce the mobility you did. The exercise you start with and the speed of progressionw will be dicctated by where you are in your rehab process and the acuity of the injury.
Ready to work on your ankle mobility?
Ready to learn to squat and perform other strength exercises with your knee pain? Sign up for a complimentary initial consultation here, or check out my physical therapy services and email me to get scheduled today.