In this video, Dr. Ben Bagge helps you determine where your squat restrictions are coming from and how to work on your limitations.
👟 What is a standard range of motion with regards to ankle mobility?
🏋🏽 How much ankle range of motion we need and have to determine what your asymmetries and limitations are.
🏃🏽♀️ Exercises to correct any dysfunctional movement.
👀 An explanation of the “butt wink.”
If you have more questions about squat mobility, schedule a consultation or leave a comment on the youtube video below!
Transcription of Video Below:
Hey everyone. How’s it going? Happy Wednesday. All right, so we’re gonna head we’ll go ahead and get started in just a second. Make sure that someone does. I’m pulled up my phone here too, so I can see if any questions come through while we’re going through this workshop. If you guys do have questions, go ahead and just put those in the comments. Okay. All right. So we’re gonna get started able to see okay, now there’s kind of unclear. See, if we move this over just a tad bit.
Okay, guys. So my name is Ben, I’m a Physical Therapist with Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy and Performance. We specialize in helping people that are active, get back to workouts and sports they enjoy without medications, injections, or surgery. We specialize in helping people that are CrossFit athletes, people that are running that want to be running marathons, 5k’s, half marathons, climbers, just people that are just in general workout and are active and just have a little bit of difficulty doing that. So that’s where we come in and help people with that.
Today, we’re going to be going over squat mobility, okay? This is something that is super important, because very functional, we do we squat every day, right? Maybe not in the gym, or anything like that. But when we go to sit down in a chair come back up, that’s a squatting motion. All right. And so a lot of times when we don’t have proper mobility, to achieve the squat, we start having pain, there starts to be breakdowns, where we start seeing knee pain, low back pain, hip pain, stuff like that. So today, you guys are gonna be able to learn a few self assessments to figure out where is your mobility lacking, if that’s the case. And if that is the case, and we’re gonna address that, I’m gonna give you guys a few exercises to help with that.
We’re gonna go over just some general things with regards to the squat. So with regards to the squat, when we have to have mobility at the ankle, the knee, and the hip, if we’re not getting mobility at the knee, ankle or hip, then we’re gonna start seeing compensations occur. If we don’t have enough ankle, ankle range of motion, that means we have to increase knee range of motion, and also increased hip range of motion. And if we don’t have that, then we’re our mechanics and our biomechanics of our squat pattern is going to change. And when that starts changing, the button on the bottom can start changing, then we’re going to start seeing inefficiencies with our squats. And we’re see compensations, which are going to can lead to injury, and pain as well.
So that’s the big thing that we need to make sure that we’ve got the adequate mobility, all right. Usually, usually everybody does, okay, with new mobility, where I see most issues are the ankles, and the hips, okay. And that’s because we’re, a lot of times, people are sitting so much throughout the day, his ankles get tight, and sort of these hips. And those are all very important things when it comes to the squat. So today, we are going to go over how to assess the ankle, and then how to also assess the hip so you guys can figure out where your restrictions are coming from. So then once we identify what’s restricted, then we can start going into some exercises to start correcting that for the ankle and then also from for the hip. Alright, a lot of times, people when people have pain with squats, it’s usually in the knee, right? But today, we’re only going to address the ankle and hip because that those are usually what’s responsible for the knee pain. Okay, rarely is the knee actually responsible for the pain that’s having, it’s usually coming below that joint or above that joint. Okay, so let’s go ahead and we’re gonna go ahead and take a look and assess the ankles. So we’re gonna do is I’m gonna turn this around here. So I need you guys to do is go ahead and find a wall space. What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna see how much ankle range motion we have. Right?
So what we want to do is we want to take this knee doesn’t matter what this back leg does, Don’t, don’t worry about this, whatever is most comfortable to help you stay upright and not fall over. Alright, so what we’re going to do is we’re gonna take your toes, bring up to the wall. All right, and then from there, we’re going to try and take that knee and touch the wall. Okay, you guys should all be able to do that, then if you’re able to do that, we’re gonna scoot your foot back about an inch and do the same thing. All right, don’t let that he’ll come up. And we’re just gonna go inch by inch, until we start seeing what our limitations are. And when we start seeing that he’ll lift up, we also don’t want the need to come in like this. We want to make sure that knees going directly over that big toe. Okay, and then we’re going to go back and forth until we start running out a range of motion. So this right here is about where I’m even. Yes, and see my heels sort of lift up a little bit. And that tells me I’m out my end range, somewhat like about four, four and a half inches there.
Okay. So I want you guys to do is go ahead and try both sides there. Okay, try the left and also the right side, and see if you’re noticing any asymmetries. Okay, I’ll tell you what, before. Before I tell you guys what the normals are, I want you to go through so you can’t cheat. All right. But take it take a mental note of what you are on the left side, and the right side with regards to how far away you are from the wall.And I’ll give the norms on what we what we need to see with that. With regards to asymmetry, that research shows that we’re actually better off having two equally bad ankles and one that’s good, and one that’s bad.
So if you guys have any questions about this, please put that in the comments. I’m gonna grab my phone, so I can see those comments while you guys finish up there. And then we’re going to go over what the norms are, and then also go over some exercise to correct that. Okay. All right. So let’s see any questions? Good. Let’s see here. All right, so you guys should be about done. So we’re going to do is discuss what the normal ranges are.
So the research says that, for us to have adequate normal walking pattern or gait pattern, we need to have at least three inches away from that wall. If we don’t have the adequate range of motion and the ankle that three inches, we’re gonna start seeing compensations for that. So if you see somebody that walks with, or their toes kind of pointed out like this, okay, that’s most likely can be hip or ankle, but a lot of times it’s ankle, okay, so we turn our feet out, when we lack the range of motion here, it’s for us to advance over the foot are backfoot, has to have good dorsiflexion or that test that we did good ankle mobility. If it doesn’t, then we’re gonna start compensating and start turning our toes out. And so we just start making compensations. We don’t have that three inches, that’s just for normal walking pattern, okay, everyday life. For people that are squatting and running a lot, we ideally want around five inches, four to five inches with that. Okay? If we don’t have that, especially when we go deeper into a squat, we need we need definitely need that four to five inches. Okay, the deeper we go into the squat, the more our shins have to be good translating forward, we don’t have that, then we’re gonna start seeing those compensations in the hips, and the knee joint as well. Okay.
Any questions on that? So if you’re not, and then also, we talked about asymmetries? Sure, a lot of you has had asymmetries. Okay, so I question I get a lot is like, Oh, my right one was only two inches, and my left was four, should I only focus on that right leg and only do stretches on that side? No, don’t do that. Make sure you’re doing it on both sides equally, because before you know it, that bad side is going to become the good side and they’re just playing a catch up game, you know, of trying to catch the left leg up to the right, right leg up to the left. If you just do them equally, eventually, that one will catch up to it, and then you’ll be even throughout throughout the duration of that. Okay. So let’s go ahead and we’re gonna get into some of the stretches and exercises you can do to improve the ankle mobility.
So let’s go ahead, move this up just a tad bit. So what we want to do is, again, you guys can just use the wallet you’re at, what you’re gonna do is that it doesn’t matter what the front legs doing now, okay, just as long as we’re stabilizing yourself, or doing is we’re trying to stretch this back, like, Alright, so just so you guys have some context to this. There’s two calf muscles. All right, there we have the gastroc. And then we have the soleus. Okay, the gastroc attaches above the knee, knee joint, the soleus attaches below the knee joint. So we can actually target each muscle individually. And this is where I see a lot of people mess up. I have a lot of people come in where they’re like, I just work on my ankle mobility all day in and day out, and it doesn’t change and ask them to show me what they’re doing and they show me just one stretch. All right, and usually it’s just for the gastroc muscle, but they’re missing the other half the calf muscle. Alright, so they missed out in 50% of that, and once we loosen up and I show them this other exercise and target, then it frees that other muscle up. And then they start making their changes that they wanted to see with ankle mobility. That’s why it’s so important to do assessment and figure out where your restrictions are. And not just throw, you know, try and be like, a lot of times people are just don’t know where the problem actually is. And we talked about how a lot of times that knee pain isn’t the knee isn’t responsible for the knee pain, usually the hip and the ankle. So it’s important to figure out where is the problem, okay. And if you once you figure out that problem, you don’t want to just start throwing random exercises that you want ones that are tailored to you, and your individual body. So it’s important to, to know which ones are going to be effective with that, too. Okay, so we’re going to get into, I’m going to show you guys the gastroc stretch. So we want to do is we’re going to keep this back leg straight. Okay. And then we are going to be leaning in and kind of pushing into the wall, it should feel a good stretch in the calf muscle right here. Again, make sure to keep that back leg straight. Alright. And ideally, we’re holding this for about 30 seconds.
And then once 30 seconds is up, you obviously want to do the same thing on the other side. So I’m gonna let you guys finish that up there. Okay, and we can talk a little bit. Alright, so ideally, for stretching, you want to be doing three sets of 30 seconds. Okay. And you want to be doing that multiple times throughout the day, ideally, twice. Okay, if you can only get through once. That’s okay. All right, but ideally, twice. And the research regards to why we hold for 30 seconds. That’s just what the research the research tells us is the best, right? They did tests where they did 10 cycle holds 20 cycle holds 32nd holds a minute, two minutes, five minutes and 10 minutes, and they found that the 30 seconds is the biggest bang for your time. Do you get improved stretching with holding for five minutes? Yes, but you know, who actually has time to be doing? Holding stretches for five minutes each time? Alright, so 30 seconds, three steps is ideal. With that. Okay, so yeah, that stretch should have, you should have felt that a little bit higher in the calf. Alright, so that was the gastroc.
Now we want to go up to that soleus muscle, that muscle deeper underneath that gastroc. And this is one where I see most people don’t target effectively target. All right. So what you’re going to do is, instead of keeping that back leg straight, we’re going to try and drive that knee down into the floor. Okay, so we’re doing is we’re trying to take this back leg is straight on that last one, now we’re trying to bend that knee, okay, and drink and drive it to the floor, we should start feeling more of a stretch in the lower portion of the calf instead of higher up in the gastroc. Okay, and we’re getting, we’re just holding that for about 30 seconds. Okay, some of you may feel a bony block or kind of like a pinch in the front of the ankle, that can be, that can be a totally different issue or restriction. We’re not going to get into that today, because it’s a little bit more uncommon. I want to make sure that we we target, we target the muscles that are usually most tight. Okay. So if you have that issue, you can just message me, and let me know and I can send over an exercise to address that pinching in the front. Okay. And then also, with regards to you guys can also make this more aggressive if you have the stare. So I’m going to use the step here.
So what you can do is you can use a step and make it a little bit more aggressive, where you can just hang off your ankle, or your heel like this, okay, keep that leg straight. If keep that leg straight is going to be going after that gastroc if you bend that knee, you’re gonna be going up to that solace. So that’s another way you can do you can use the wall or you can use the stairs, stairs can be a little more aggressive. Okay. And then of course, if any of these are painful, stop right now they should be painful. Just means your body needs something different. Okay, so those are the two, two best stretches for the ankle mobility. We’re gonna also go over foam rolling for that. Okay, the best way to loosen up muscles like combination of stretching and foam rolling. Okay, so let’s go ahead and get into that. You can get this set up here. Okay, so you take a foam roller. And what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna place this underneath the calf. Alright, and then we’re just gonna roll up and down into I already have that calf, make sure you’re going all the way down to the heel, okay, and then all the way up to the knee joint with that, okay. And then one thing too, that I see a lot of people mess up is they only point the toes directly straight ahead or straight up. All right, that calf muscle wraps all the way around that to the front of the shin. So we need to make sure we’re also angling our toes out, okay, and hitting the outer parts of the calf. And then also turning them in like this. Okay, and ideally, we’re doing two minutes each leg, okay, if you want to make this more aggressive, you can cross it over. Okay, you’re adding more weight to it may be more intense. And so like, right, now I kind of have a knot in my right calf.
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to pause and hold out down on that, let me do is I’m going to take my toe, my foot, bring it up, and then I’m gonna push down, and bring it up, and then push down. And just do about 10 reps of that. And what that’s doing is it’s pinning down on that tight muscle. All right, and then while it’s pinning down on that foam roller, now as we move and flex our foot, we’re bringing and rolling, or we’re kind of moving that muscle over the top of the foam roller, it’s going to help loosen up any knots or muscles or tight areas that we have to. Alright, so I’m let you guys go ahead and do two minutes there. Okay, I’m gonna see if there’s any questions. Again, if you guys have questions, go ahead and just put those in the comments. I’m gonna move this over here. So you don’t get we get rid of this kind of glare. Okay, make sure you’re bringing the toe, you’re rotating the feet out, rotating the feet n. And this one might be kind of uncomfortable, start with two feet at once, and then you can start moving towards one. And then when we’re done there, we’re gonna go ahead and move over into the hip and go over some stretches for that.
So the testing for this, when it comes from a patient perspective, is I’m just going to have you guys do the stretches. And if you feel like there’s quite a bit of restrictions, and it feels pretty tight, that kind of is your assessment as well. And then if you feel difference between left to right, that’s gonna be a good indicator that there’s obviously some imbalances. There’s some physical therapy, orthopedic assessments that we do as physical therapists. But again, we’re trained and doing that I was gonna be hard, it’s hard for a patient to be able to assess it. So we’re gonna use the stretches as our assessment. So we’re induced, we’re laying on her back. And what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna cross this right leg over our left, and then what we’re gonna do is we’re going to take this knee and drive it to our opposite shoulder. Okay, so right now I have the right knee over the left, and take that right knee and drive it to the left shoulder. And we should feel pretty good stretch, right in the glute area. And hold this for 30 seconds. So this muscle that we’re stretching here is called the piriformis muscle. So I’m sure a lot of you have heard the term sciatica.
So sciatica can be coming from the back, or it can be coming from a tight glute muscle, or the tight piriformis. That sciatic nerve travels underneath the piriformis muscle, that restriction now, if that piriformis gets really tight, it can compress down on that sciatic nerve and cause pain down the back of the leg and sometimes even all the way into the foot. Okay. And so you’re probably wondering, Well, why does the piriformis get some darn tight in the first place? Or why are people more prone to that? So the reason for that is that piriformis is a pretty small muscle. It’s not supposed to be doing a whole lot of work. But a will if we have muscles that aren’t doing their jobs, such as bigger glute muscles, the glute medius, and are sort of the glute Maximus and medius. If those big glute muscles aren’t doing their jobs in that pure form, it starts getting overworked and having to take over the work of the lazy glute muscles. And then when that happens, when muscles are overworked, that muscle gets tight, and then when it gets tight, can generate pain.
Let’s go and switch and do the same thing other side. Okay, and then we’re going to take this left knee and bring it to our right shoulder. And again, hold this for about 30 seconds should be feeling kind of in this blue area. So be careful and be aware of whether you’re feeling more tightness on the left or the right or right over the left. This can also be influenced by if you sit with if you cross one leg over the other more than more than the other, I can play a factor into things. But back to the back of the piriformis. So I’ll see a lot of people that have this piriformis pain or lack of hip mobility. And what they do is they just stretch every single day, and it keeps it at bay, don’t get me wrong, it does make it feel better, but they have to keep doing it day in and day out. Because it just keeps getting tighter again, you’re better off, not just in my opinion, that’s just treating the symptoms, you’re not treating the root cause the root cause is that the glute weakness, it’s much easier to maintain strength than it is to maintain mobility. All right, so if our joints and our muscles aren’t getting the stability that it needs, it’s going to start compensating in other ways and recruiting other muscles that aren’t supposed to be doing their job. And then these muscles get tight. So you’re better off strengthening and figure out where your weaknesses are, and strengthen those up in this piriformis want to get so darn tight. And then you want to have to stretch it know day in and day out. Because now you’re finally addressing the root cause that’s where I see a lot of patients that come in, and they’re like, you know, I stretch and it feels better and, and I have my mobility routine, but it just keeps coming back. And again, it’s just because of just treating symptoms. Alright, so any questions on these two at all? Okay, so now we’re gonna do instead of going from opposite and bringing that knee to the opposite shoulder, we’re gonna actually push away. Okay, so open up the hips, I’m gonna hold this for about 30 seconds.
This is gonna be, it’s gonna feel like a totally different structure, you shouldn’t really be feeling in that blue area should mean might be a little bit more in the groin, or feel a bit deeper in the joint. And I’m going to explain the importance of these in just a second and why these are gonna also improve your hip mobility, or sorry, you’re not just hip mobility, but your squat mobility, and your ability to get deeper into the squat. So usually, hip mobility, if we’re lacking there, we get compensation from the low back. And so I had a patient that came in and stated that they had been to physical therapy for six months, and that they weren’t really seeing much improvements. And I’m like, Well, what did they give you for a diagnosis? And this person said that they had a weak core, like, Okay, how much here? What are you having pain with? And they said, just having pain was squatting like, okay, I want you squatting, like 300 pounds. I’m like, okay, so if somebody is able to squat 300 pounds, most likely, it’s not really a core weakness issue. Okay, but I didn’t want to just jump to that conclusion, can still have muscle in coordination at the core. But the fact was, he just had pain with squatting. Right? So it’s most likely pain or squatting that was causing his pain, right? Seems like pretty logical. Well, I asked this patient did the PT assess your squat? And they’re like, no, they never looked at my squat. We just worked on core strengthening the whole time. And so I’m like, Okay, show me your squat. And what I saw was, um, have you guys going to switch the other side, when I saw was, was this rounding of this low back, okay. And when he got into a deeper squat, we started seeing rounding of the low back. Well, he doesn’t do that one can explain this a little bit, she gets him see. So when we do a squat, or when we have normal spinal position, you can see my low back kind of has a little bit of an arch to it. Everybody stops we haven’t that we all have like a natural curvature to our spine.
When we go into a squat position, we want to maintain that same neutral spine alignment throughout the entirety of the squat. Okay, so what he was doing was called a butt wink. Okay, but wink is when we start so I want you guys to watch my spine entire, excuse me the entire time. And so what he was doing is alright, so as low back my low back looks good. Looks good. Looks good. Now when I get deeper into the squat, yes. See how my low backs kind of rounding out now? Okay, about rounding here. Okay. That’s what happens. That’s the butt wink. Okay, this is what about when kids, we go down and we start rounding out that at this low back. Okay? So when we, when we round out that low back, we can irritate the disk. Okay, there’s, there’s a fluid filled sacs in between the vertebrae. And when we start bending and over flexing, especially when we got weight on her back, it can push that disc back and hit nerves and cause pain. And so why does that happen? Why does our low back start rounding out? Is it a lack of core strength, right? Usually No, most majority of time No, it’s our hips and our ankles have started running out of range of motion. Okay, and so when we run out of range of motion here, now this low back for us to get deeper to squat has to start rounding out to compensate for that, and then we start having pain. So his low back pain, again, was not just like the knees not usually responsible for its pain, it’s usually above or below the joint. Same thing with the low back. Okay, especially with squats, okay, his issue was hip mobility majority. But he also had ankle mobility as well. We talked about how everything’s connected, right? And if we don’t have ankle mobility, we have to have compensation from the knee and the hip. Right? He did have a little bit of ankle restriction. Okay, but main thing was hip, right. And so when we lose ankle range of motion, that means we have had even more from the hip, and he did not have that. So guess what happened? worked its way up the chain. And now the low back is compensating for things. Okay, so guess what we did, we attacked his hips. And each week, he so he was able to still keep squat. And that’s the thing is, there’s always modifications, alright, I’m never going to tell somebody to stop working out or stop doing a start activity. That’s always modifications we can do to keep you working out and keep you moving. Okay, so let’s see here. I think we may have lost the live feed here. We’ll see if it comes back. Anyways. All you’re saying we tack the hips, okay, we’re not going to restrict somebody from working out. There’s so many modifications we can make. Right? So we tapped the hips, he was able to get deeper into squat weekend and week out. And then we also address the ankles, and he was able to squat painfree over and he also increases weight that he was able to squat, he was able to squat 300 pounds, he went up to 335 in just a week, a couple of weeks, right. And that’s because we were able to fix his biomechanics of the way he was squatting. And then we were able to increase his weight.
Okay, so those three exercises for the ankle, and those two for the hip are going to help improve your ability to improve your squat mobility. Alright, if you guys want a copy of this routine, instead of like trying to memorize it, or know if you’re doing it correctly, just message me through Facebook. Okay, and I will go ahead and send that over to you guys. You can also find us at Pro+Kinetics Physical Therapy and Performance on Google. We’re located in Uptown Oakland. So you guys can find our contact information there. If you’re if you are interested in contacting us for that mobility, routine. And, and then we’re also doing because you went to the Candace mobility class, we’re offering 50% off initial evaluation, we’re still seeing patients in person as well as virtually. And so if you’re interested in assessment, that 50% off is good for today only. But yeah, hope if you guys have any other questions, just go ahead and put those in there and I’ll do my best to answer them real quick. I’m not seeing any right now.
So yeah, if you guys want the mobility routine, just let me know. Otherwise, I hope you guys have a great Wednesday. All right, and stay safe and healthy and keep moving. Keep exercising.