When you think about what it takes to perform a quality squat with proper squat form, chances are you think about your butt, thighs, and knees. But if you’re not seeing improvement in your squat game or have a tough time getting low, you might want to spend some time thinking about your ankles.
Stiff ankles may be interfering with your range of motion when squatting, explains David S. Levine, foot and ankle surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery. Poor ankle mobility—difficulty getting the joint to flex and rotate—can result from past injuries (like an ankle sprain) or everyday stress (like wearing heels every day). This factor comes into play when you’re at the bottom of your squat, and without good range of motion in this joint, no amount of glute strength will get you low while keeping your heels on the ground. Here’s how to troubleshoot your ankle mobility for optimal butt-strengthening squats.