How To Improve Your Flexibility In Squats And Deadlifts
If you have a slight lower back pain doing deadlifts or your heels come up while doing squats. This little trick will fix these issues for good.
Does your ankle come up when going low on your squat? Especially below parallel? Does your lower back hurt while doing deadlifts even when you use a perfect form? These are all signs of your ankle dorsiflexion (bending backward/extending forward) mobility problems.
What Do you mean by “ANKLE DORSIFLEXION”?
Dorsiflexion means when the space between your ankle and shin (tibia) shortens. Either by flexing the foot with toes toward the shin (tibia) (toes-to-shin) or while leaning the shin forward toward the toes (chin-to-toes). The latter is usually the problem.
People or athletes with overall mobility issues especially in the lower body have a history of ankle injuries that caused the ankle to recover with a minimum range of motion due to lack of proper rehab.
You may even feel pressure on your Achilles’s tendon that may be only temporary. But the tightness of your Achilles’s tendon will cause an issue such as slight pain up the kinetic chain ( a pain originating from a single joint to other groups of joint) and lumbar spine (lower back).
Strangely you might still be able to get your heels quite low on the bottom of a calf raise but that is “TOE-TO-SHIN” Your SHIN-TO-TOE flexion still need improvement. I’m personally a perfect case scenario.
How to Fix This Issue?
You can improve your ankle dorsiflexion movement by simply doing elevated split squats. The only thing you’ll have to change is to elevate your toes on the foot that is on the ground. Here’s how to perform the exercise: Set up a normal split squat but elevate your front foot as demonstrated in the picture below.
Mostly trainers and lifters will use a piece of wood of about 1 1/2 inch.
But I suggest using a 10-pound plate since most gyms do not have a plywood laying around lol. Focus on having more of a tripod balance stance. Weight distributed between your heel and ball of the foot on the big toe side and the ball of the foot on the pinkie side.
In brief keep your torso straight flex your core muscle slightly and keep a steady straight posture. Try to feel the weight equally on each foot while keeping your torso straight.
Do this exercise just before and after doing squats and deadlifts. It will tremendously improve your shin-to-toe mobility. Resulting in lesser back pain and mastering proper squat technique for better performance, faster gains while diminishing the risk of injury.
*If you think your ankle dorsiflexion is a major issue while doing squats and deadlifts, shoot for 3 sets of 20sec for each leg 3 times a week before your workouts.
*Stick with bodyweight the first few times you are performing this exercise. Don’t overburden your already tight Achilles.
*After the first week start adding some extra weight on your shoulders.Use light dumbells, kettlebells or just the bar. The goal is to gradually improve your Achilles flexibility and not to built leg strength.
Simply add weight gradually up until you feel comfortable in this position with the weight you perform your split squats. By then you will have massively improve your Achilles flexibility and your shin-to-toe mobility.