If you have limited dorsiflexion, or the ability to bend and contract your hand and/or foot, then you probably have limited squat depth as well. As a result, you risk injuring your hips and low back. Today, we go over ankle stretches to help strengthen your back.
Ankle Stretches to Build Back Strength
As shown in the video below, the client mimics a back squat with limited ankle mobility. You can see that his upper body drastically hinges over. Some of you may not maintain a flat back in this position and will instead drop all the way down, rounding your low back (which is even more dangerous when under a heavy load).
Doing the stretches below will increase your mobility allowing you to sink all the way down into your squat and maintain a flat, neutral spine. Remember your knees must shift forward in this position. It is important to note that some people will shift their knees in front of their toes, which is perfectly fine if you keep your weight in your heels.
What Causes Ankle Flexibility to Decrease?
Ankle flexibility is determined by your calf muscle flexibility as well as any previous injuries or issues. For those of you that do not know, you have two different calf muscles. Stretching the calf with a straight, locked out knee will stretch the gastrocnemius (the outermost muscle), which 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 that may also limit ankle dorsiflexion.
For more help with ankle mobility, contact us online today. We can help you increase your range of motion and reduce low back pain.