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Decline Squat for Stiff Ankles

Hey, it’s Jennifer. Today I want to talk about squatting for people who have stiff ankles that limit how far down they go.

So what I’m talking about is when you do a squat, you get to a certain level and it’s like, “That’s all she wrote.” Because your ankles aren’t going to bend any more to let you get done lower without some significant spine movement.

So an easy fix for that is to use a plate or some dumbbells or decline board to put your heels up. And then your ankle range of motion isn’t the limiting factor anymore. And you can practice going down with a nice, stable spine (as low as you want), and come back up.

Some people are a little hesitant to do that, because they say “Well, I have this limiting thing. Shouldn’t I work on that before I start compensating for it?” I see the point. I would argue that while you’re working on your ankle range of motion, but it’s not quite there yet, you’re missing out on building strength in your squat in the lowest range. Which is the toughest part to keep your core and your spine stable when you have a weight, or some load on a barbell or something. 

So what I would recommend, go ahead and put your heels up or use your lifter shoes or whatever helps with your ankle stability. Then you can work on that core, glute and leg in the low parts of your squat. Don’t want to get stronger but also work on your ankle range of motion so that eventually you don’t need as much of a tool to help you get down there and you can do it without the lifters.

So that’s my two cents on whether to raise your heels up when you’re squatting or not. When it’s your ankles that are limiting how far down you can go. Let us know what you think, and thanks for listening!

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