A very common question that I get from many people is: “how do I increase the depth of my squat?” The squat is not only an extremely effective, full-body exercise (if done correctly) but also a valuable tool in determining dysfunction (tight muscles, imbalances, compensations, etc.)
In order to squat well ( and pain-free) several events need to occur:
On the descent (Lowering):
1.) Hips Flex
2.) Knees Flex
3.) Ankles Dorsiflex
On the Ascent (Standing back up):
1.) Hips Extend
2.) Knees Extend
3.) Ankles plantarflex
Obviously, the perfect squat is much more complicated than that. There are several muscles and muscle groups that can greatly affect your mobility in your squat. Some of the more common culprits are Tight hip flexors, hamstrings, and gastrocs.
For many of you reading this, you have likely already foam rolled and stretched your muscles into oblivion. Some of you may have noticed results while others are left scratching their head. It all starts at your feet. Your lack of ankle mobility could not only be the reason that your squat depth is lacking but also the reason that you have hamstring, calve, or lower back pain.
Your feet are your foundation in the squat, so it is necessary to address the mobility of the ankle, particularly dorsiflexion (think toes to shins.) Many of us have restrictions in mobility in our ankles (especially those who have suffered some serious sprains causing the ligaments to shorten.) Runners, swimmers, tennis players, gymnasts this is likely a problem!
Quick Test for Ankle mobility:
Shin to Toe Test:
-Place one foot about 4″ away from a wall.
-Assume a kneeling lunge position facing the wall
-With your front foot planted, lean forward trying to get your knee to touch the wall
Could you do this? If not you likely have ankle mobility issues!
Try This: This same test above can be used a drill to improve your mobility in your ankles. Simply lean forward bringing your knee to the wall until you feel a stretch, then back off. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
The most of effective solution to improving your ankle (and likely your hip mobility) is a combination of stretching, drills, and chiropractic.
If you are interested in improving your mobility give us a call or schedule online: (781) 460-0939