Whilst reading stuff online on range of motions and movements I've noticed that there seem to be a lot of talk about mobility drills and stretches. A lot of those techniques seem to involve strange rubbing on the tissue and even cross over to tennis where guys buying out a lot of tennis balls just to sit on them or lay on them, in order to improve the range of motion in movement.
I will not be covering the range of motion here, as this is a completely different topic. I just want to focus on a joint that doesn’t get as much attention as hips or upper back, but in my opinion plays equally, if not more important role, in squatting or movement in general.
It will be a bit of a mouthful, but skip the joint names and it will all make sense, I hope ;)
Ankle joint, and foot in general, is the first part of your body that has contact with the ground when you are moving (unless you are rolling downhill) or zorbing.
I would say that ankle is divided into two parts:
Back ankle and mid ankle
Back ankle is made of sub-talar joint and talo-crural joint (what physios actually call true ankle joint)
Mid ankle is made of talo-navicular joint and calcaneo-cuboid joint.
Why I think foot is important? Because in order to perform efficient squat, side lunge or even normal walking, your mid ankle must move in a different direction than back ankle to allow you a full range of motion. Therefore, in order for your back ankle joint to go into dorsiflexion, eversion and abduction (in squat or walking in front foot), your mid ankle bones have to go into the opposite direction in the saggital plane and inversion in frontal plane.
Another reason is that often in a squat talus projects forward too fast (before tibia and fibula) and actually blocks tibia and fibula from going over the ankle, limiting your ankle movement. This is a sequencing problem and the easiest thing to do is to speak with someone qualified to fix it.
Have a look at the video and see that when I’m going into the end range of the ankle motion and set feet in dorsiflexion/ eversion / abduction, my squat is very limited, but when I do the opposite and I allow my ankles to move my squat is smooth.
A little explanation in case you didn’t know why were you putting those plates under the heels on the squat.
However, you can perform this easy mobility drill to warm up your ankles in all planes of motion, increase your dorsiflexion and loosen up the back and mid ankle. Boom ;)
Really simple, just follow this video.
I hope this will help you in your next leg session.
Don’t forget you can use my free software ptfolder.com to write workouts or use ready made ones, paid version gives you access to over 1000 exercise videos and pictures and an amazing and easy to use interface.
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'Greg Mikolap, BSc in Physiotherapy, and a Personal Trainer based in Maidenhead, England. Greg is also a founder of www.PTFolder.com, training solution for people who want to get fit or for people who help others get fit. With almost 10 years experience in the industry, Greg is also a course director for Faster Health & Fitness and is working on his volleyball performance book.'