If you have spent any time here at French Vanoli you’ll know just how much emphasis we put on the importance of squatting correctly. In terms of CrossFit a proper squat is integral to success on either of the Olympic lifts as well as on a host of other exercises. Poor mobility is the number one culprit in preventing us achieving the perfect squat. Tight glutes and hip flexors as well as shortened hamstrings are often blamed and addressed in our efforts to improve our squatting potential. However another often overlooked issue, which can be equally as hampering as the above listed, is poor ankle mobility or a lack of flexibility in the ankle joint.
If we struggle to get our shin angle less than 90 degrees during a squat or our shin remains perpendicular with the floor, we will struggle with achieving good depth and good positions in a squat. Because of this other compensations will be made, for example dropping the chest and hinging forward at the hips on the eccentric portion of the exercise. It is important that we minimise these faults in order to reduce risk of injury.
There are a number of things we can do in order to address poor ankle mobility. I am not a fan of long winded and complicated approaches to mobility. The best approach is to pick two or three protocols that are quick, user friendly and require little equipment. The following are two such protocols that, once implemented regularly into your routine, should greatly improve your range of motion at the ankle joint.
Foam Rolling and Stretching
Tight calves are a common cause of poor range of motion at the ankle joint. Spending time stretching as well as rolling the calves and surrounding areas with either a foam roller, or barbell if you fancy a more aggressive approach, should provide considerable relief. (photo)
Lunge ankle dorsiflexion
On this protocol you are lunging forward keeping the front heel on the floor and the back leg behind on the floor. From there you shift your weight forward while trying to maintain the front heel on the floor in order to increase dorsiflexion on the ankle:
Like all mobility issues the longer it goes without being addressed the worse it gets. Include these protocols into your own training schedule and you should see noticeable results on any squat based movements.