Ankle mobility is my number one for limiting the position of the squat. In my personal anecdotal experience, I find variances in the squat pattern are due to either having short calf musculature (deep posterior tibial tissue) or stiffness through dorsiflexion (think foot coming towards your face). Whilst other factors such as hip mobility or poor motor control can contribute to this, ankle range of motion is one of the first things I assess in my sports injury clinic.
What are the top 3 things we can do to improve this?
1. Joint mobilisations / mobilisations with movement.
If you are not seeing a therapist to get this done for you then you can try and do some of this accessory work by yourself. Grab a band and get that talus moving anterior to posterior!
See video below: GO TO 1 min 25 seconds
- Stretch your soleus. The soleus is what makes up your calf musculature along with your gastrocnemius Aim to contract/relax 6 seconds / 10 seconds for 2-3 minutes and try and increase your range throughout the relaxation phase.I couldn’t find a great video for this. I like to use a plyo box and have my heel hanging off of the end and pulling my body weight through so I can feel the stretch. Below is another alternative way to hit this. You will need a decline board for this method.
- Get a sports massage / self myofascial release (see previous blog here)Soft tissue release doing it yourself or by getting a sports massage is a great way to help lengthen your tissue through the neural system. If you do have tight/short calf musculature then you will most likely hugely benefit from this! However, you will certainly need something to bite on :-)Work on your ankle range. Don’t forget to test/retest this either using your squat (narrow stance) or via the single leg wall test. Any questions then feel to get in touch as always!Have fun!