BY TYLER CHIN
Improving your squat’s range of motion—the depth you’re able to achieve without sacrificing form—can result in all kinds of benefits, spanning from athletic performance to muscle growth.
Tight hips are the biggest culprit when it comes to limiting factors that hinder optimal squat mobility, but it’s not the only one. In fact, when it comes to improving squat form, one of the most commonly overlooked body parts is the ankles.
Poor ankle dorsiflexion—the ability to flex the top of your foot toward your shin—can have a profound effect on how well you perform in the squat rack; in fact, even walking up or down stairs can be hindered by limitations in ankle mobility.
The good news: Improving your ankle mobility is surprisingly easy.
Watch the video above to see Ray Peleckas, the founder of Boston’s Bodyburn By Ray, demonstrate what he calls the four-finger ankle mobility drill. It’s a simple way to test your ankle mobility, but when done daily will also help to unlock your ankle’s range of motion and transfer to noticeable improvements in your squat and other lower-body exercises.
Follow Peleckas’ instructions in the video, and why not give this drill a try right now? All you need is a wall. If you find it difficult to perform this move with four fingers between your foot and the wall—don’t worry, most weekend warriors will—then shorten the distance between the two until you’re able to touch your knee to the wall. Remember where you started, and then watch the improvements unfold day by day.
To take your ankle mobility from good to great, Peleckas suggests doing this drill daily, aiming for three sets of 10 reps on each side.