Contributed by Justin McLawhorn, MS
Health & Fitness Professional
Increasing Ankle Mobility For Squat Performance
The importance of ankle mobility has been greatly overlooked by many fitness professionals. Proper ankle alignment can lead to better overall body movement. For example, when performing a squat, you must have proper ankle dorsiflexion (the ability of the foot to move closer to the shin) to get the proper depth during the movement. If your ankle lacks the range of motion, then it will be more difficult for you to achieve a full squat with good form. Some fitness professionals elevate the heel of their clients to allow for greater depth in the squat. This is a good modality, however unless the fitness professional is progressively decreasing the height of the heel raise then the individual is not going to achieve full range of motion without an aide.
Furthermore, those who do not have proper ankle dorsiflexion will have to compensate for it by allowing the knees to travel over the toes or raising the heels. When the knees travel over the toes it can put a great amount of pressure on the knee joint causing serious discomfort. There are several stretches I personally use to help with my ankle mobility such as using an incline platform to mobilize my ankle into full range dorsiflexion. Long term, this will help with greater range of motion in squat, deadlift, and lunges. Greater range of motion will allow you to achieve a greater stimulus during the workout, thereby achieving better results from each workout. Who doesn’t want to achieve the best possible results during a workout?