Can Improving Your Ankle Flexibility Actually Strengthen Your Back?

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If you have limited dorsiflexion, then you probably have limited squat depth as well and you risk injuring the hips and low back. Do one or both of these stretches for 2 minutes/day for a month. 

As shown in the video, Andrew mimics a back squat with limited ankle mobility and his upper body drastically hinges over. Some of you may not maintain a flat back and will instead drop all the way down, rounding the low back (which is even more dangerous when under a heavy load). Doing these stretches daily will give you small increments of mobility, allowing you to sink all the way down in your squat and maintain a flat, neutral spine. The knees must shift forward and some people like Andrew will actually shift their knees in front of the toes… this is perfectly fine if you keep your weight in your the heels!!! 

For those of you that don’t know, you have 2 different calf muscles. Stretching the calf with a straight, locked out knee will stretch the gastrocnemius (the outermost muscle), and it does not affect ankle dorsiflexion when the knee is bent. The second muscle, the soleus, is underneath the gastrocnemius and is the limiter for ankle dorsiflexion when the knee is bent. Previous ankle injuries that have produced scar tissue or bone growth in the front of the ankle may also limit ankle dorsiflexion.

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