Squat Quick Test: Is it Tight Ankles or Tight Hips? | Community Video

Fix Your Tight Ankles

Hey Mwodies,

Athletes are always asking us if their squat is suffering because of their tight hips or because of their tight ankles.  The answer is it’s both obviously…But we can be a little more nuanced in our understanding.  You could call this quick test a little differential diagnosis or advanced clinical reasoning.  Either way, it’s based on actual movement and it’s in the language that you already speak (strength and conditioning). Besides, you should be able to pistol,  or shoot the duck while roller skating at the Skate King in the first grade, holding “Brandy’s” hand….. I’m sure it’s not your fault you missed that   500lb squat the other day (it’s your ankle’s fault…)

Here's a free video on how to open up your tight ankles.

Here's a Daily RX episode using the Battlestar, Gemini and Yoga Tune Up balls to free up your tight calves and feet.


In this video: Kelly Starrett & Brian MacKenzie talk about identifying whether it's your stiff ankles or stiff hips that are keeping you from improving your squat.

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23 thoughts on “Squat Quick Test: Is it Tight Ankles or Tight Hips? | Community Video

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  14. F. D'upankle says:

    Hi, first off, thank you for all of the great free info you put out there, it gives a lot of the, d-i-y’ers, and uninsureds’ the opportunity to learn more about, and correct issues that we’ve brought on ourselves through years of training.

    That said, I’m hoping you see & can respond to my inquiry, here or via my email I left.

    I just took the squat test above, my good ankle can do a pistol w/o much difficulty, my bad one, fughettaboutit’… I start to fall back almost immediately :(

    My Talus (ankle) was broken in a car accident, it was misdiagnosed as sprained, I walked on it (or I hopped on the other leg) for 12 days in excruciating pain before going back for a 2nd opinion, getting the correct diagnoses, and put in a cast. FAST FORWARD: When I squat ATG or below parallel, my heel (on the F’d up side) lifts off the ground pre-maturely, ex: My good side can get the knee 3″ + in front of my toes b4 the heel lifts, the bad side 1″ before the heel lifts.

    When I squat I feel all of the weight in my heels (which I understand should be more so centered on my mid-foot)… So I’m lacking ROM in my bad ankle.. WHAT CAN I DO!?- HELP! or am I just stuck w/this.. I feel achey in my inner thighs (adductors?) when I squat both heavy & deep… I want to progress, but want to to so safely w/o compromising another joint, tissue, tendon etc, while making up for this scar tissue, Bone incorrectly healed, etc…. Anyway, thank you a ton in advance for your time & very valuable input.

    • Shadow says:

      Have you found any stretches that help with that? I had multiple ankle sprains in the last few years that tore up my ankles pretty bad from running and stuff. There is a little over an inch of difference in how far I can bend my knees from one leg vs the other. It does effect my squats a little, but more so it effects my running because one leg is noticeably less flexible than the other. I feel your pain. It is an extremely frustrating condition. I think constancy with stretching is what I”m going to try, but not much else has seemed to work so far. I hope you get some answers, I’m still searching myself.

    • Quattro says:

      Hey guys,
      I’ve lacked ROM in my ankle joints for as long as I can remember. The rest of my mobility is pretty darn good but in spite of my best efforts my ankles have never improved. The result of this missing ROM has been an inability to perform a 1/4 squat let alone a full squat or a pistol. It has also meant that running is really hard on my lower legs as my legs feel as though they are being forced/slammed into their end ROM and all the gnarly old tissues in my ankle/lower leg are getting strained and angry. The result is a wicked pump and compartment syndrome type symptoms. The best thing I have done yet to improve the way I move when I lift is to take my weightlifting shoes to the cobbler for them to add extra heel height. This has given me about 3″ of heel to lift with and my lifting mechanics have improved dramatically. I can now squat and pistol whoop! The next thing I’m experimenting with is heel inserts (which I’ve just ordered) for my runners and I’m hopping this will decrease my lower leg strain. As an aside I continue to mobilize and massage my lower legs so I at least maintain tissue health to the best of my ability. Best of luck getting your symptoms sorted team!

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