In September 1964, Bob Hoffman and his York Barbell Company laid their claim to the then nascent landscape of powerlifting by hosting the first national — albeit unofficial — lifting meet. The event would serve as progenitor to the Golden Age of American powerlifting and its three pillars: Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift.
Over the years, the sport would adapt its own standard for these lifts. Most notably, the criteria for an acceptable squat would be determined by the depth to which one could squat down. And while squatting through a full range is important to achieve an ideal stimulus for strength, it’s important to take into account the mobility and flexibility component associated with this complex movement.
Our range of motion keeps us honest; it’s key when considering the amount of stimulus a person can apply to their body.
You may have heard of putting plates under your heels to “squat deeper”; however, this is just a temporary solution to a bigger problem: ankle mobility. A common problem for lifters, those without proper dorsiflexion will find it difficult to keep their torso upright when performing a squat. Being the case, improving one’s ankle range of motion is imperative when trying to go low. Below we’ve collected some of our favorite stretches to improve ankle mobility. Next time you’re at the gym, make sure to include these in your routine!