Poor ankle dorsiflexion Poor ankle dorsiflexion

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Thread: Poor ankle dorsiflexion

  1. #1
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    Default Poor ankle dorsiflexion

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    Hi all, this is my first post.

    I got hold of the Starting Strength blue book, Practical Programming, and as I'm 47, Barbell Prescription.

    I'm 5ft 7inches and very skinny at 145lb and that's with a touch of belly fat.. My stats are my bench is an abysmal 40kg(88lb), squat a lowly 57kg(125lb), and my deadlift is fairing a bit better at 95kg(209lb). I've failed and progressed on both bench and squats, but my deadlift hasn't yet reached it's max although I think my grip will give out before my legs.

    My problem is that my ankle dorsiflexion is so bad that I must place a big lift under my heels. I've got a scaffolding board I throw under there at present. My dorsiflexion is so bad that my heels lift before even a quarter squat position.I don't think it's something I can stretch/work through (though I'm trying something called mulligan movements in a kind-of vain hope).

    Having a board under my heels is obviously not the best for stability, and it really affects me when I get near my limits. I feel my balance as forward, and the lifted heels make it extremely difficult to 'sit back'. What I can lift is being limited by balance rather than strength I think.

    Obviously the best thing would be some magically better ankle flexion, lose the heel board and improve stability and form.

    However, given I've explained that's probably impossible, what would you all advise. I'm thinking focus on deadlift along with lower weight higher volume squats. (This is suggested in barbell prescription for those who can't squat properly along with some accessory exercises. It's called deadlift/bench specialist in the book, although it's aimed at 60+.)

    The above will be my default unless someone can come up with a solution for my squats.

  2. #2
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    Unless your ankles have been injured and fused, you have sufficient dorsiflexion to squat. You just won't allow yourself to get into the proper position during the unweighted portion of the teaching method. Do you have access to a coach?

    Post a video of you walking down the sidewalk.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Unless your ankles have been injured and fused, you have sufficient dorsiflexion to squat. You just won't allow yourself to get into the proper position during the unweighted portion of the teaching method. Do you have access to a coach?
    Hi,

    My ankles haven't been injured and fused. However with my foot flat on the floor my shin will barely pass vertical. I can get my shin to the angle everyone squats with on videos only by lifting my heels. I think my ankle bones jar and stop further movement. For example if I attempt a bare foot bodyweight squat I can only drop a few inches without lifting my heels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Unless your ankles have been injured and fused, you have sufficient dorsiflexion to squat. You just won't allow yourself to get into the proper position during the unweighted portion of the teaching method. Do you have access to a coach?
    Sorry, didn't answer the bit about a coach.

    No I don't have access to one. I'm lifting in my basement. I have videoed myself though and (with heels raised) look just the same as those on videos here with the obvious caveat. The plank under my heels is just over an inch. Even a slightly thinner plank stops me getting down though.

    Andy

  4. #4
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    The video? Walking down the sidewalk.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    The video? Walking down the sidewalk.
    Hi,

    Apologies as I'm being completely blind. I'll take a video tomorrow of a bit of walking, a bodyweight squat, a weighted squat with no plank, and a weighted squat with plank and let you see what I mean.

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Andy

  6. #6
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    Hi again,

    Wasn't as 'unbalanced' today, I think it's when I'm right at my limits that is happening. As promised here is a you tube video link hopefully showing my dorsiflexion issues.

    YouTube

    Andy

  7. #7
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    Look at 4:30 -- 5:00. How far forward do you think your knees are supposed to go? Have you seen the cover of the blue book?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Look at 4:30 -- 5:00. How far forward do you think your knees are supposed to go? Have you seen the cover of the blue book?
    Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to look at my video.

    I do see what you mean there, and when I look at the pictures in the book I can see that the guy there doesn't have his knees pushed forwards much. But then why is it the plank under heels for me works? Without it, even if I widen my stance well beyond shoulder width I still can't get down to parallel. I've re-read the blue book and I can point my toes out and push my knees out all day and it is not helping me get down. It doesn't feel like a stretching issue. If I was to sit back like the pictures in the book I just overbalance backwards which suggests maybe not being able to move my weight forwards due to dorsiflexion? Is it maybe my femurs are long and push my centre of mass backwards a lot when I sit down? As you can see, with the plank under heels I can just get down no problem. Somehow by allowing my knees forward a bit it's allowing me to sit down without falling over.

    Is there anything obvious you can see that I'm missing that I should be doing in order to get rid of the plank.

    I appreciate now that I may have posted in the wrong area so thanks for answering someone who is completely new to all this.

    Andy

  9. #9
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    Your back angle is too vertical. Learn to bend over more.

  10. #10
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    Funny how people can manage to sit down on a chair, or the toilet with their feet flat on the floor and yet this becomes suddenly an impossibility when performing the exact same movement during a squat. I've yet to see anyone need to raise their heels with a scaffold board in order to get on and off the couch.

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