[READ FULL ARTICLE] Ankle Mobility For Pistols https://www.gotrom.com/blog/how-to-do-pistol-squats-even-with-crappy-ankle-mobility
Technique Trumps Crappy Ankles
Technique can beat anatomy…sometimes.
Here is one trick to make pistol squatting easier even if you have really crappy ankle mobility. Some people do pistol squats as part of Crossfit / fitness regimen and are forced to start to wear Olympic lifting shoes with the really high heels to overcome crappy ankle dorsiflexion.
Of course that makes pistol squatting easier but sometimes you’re doing a workout and can’t wear your Olympic lifting for the entire workout. In this case you should know how to use the best biomechanical principles to get into a single leg pistol squat.
Go barefoot (so you don’t have any free ankle mobility) and get your center of mass as far forward as possible. That means get your head / get your trunk / get your arms as far forward as possible. It’s going to be a whole lot easier than trying to stay vertical during a pistol. If you try to pistol squat totally upright you’re doomed to fail.
So get your center of mass forward. Even exagerate getting your chin down and ribs down (flexed.) This allows you to get the most amount of hip flexion and dorsiflexion The chin and rib positioning also allows you to get the most amount of hip flexion by putting you in a a posterior pelvic tilt. The reason this helps is because if you’re in an anterior pelvic tilt and try to go into hip flexion, you get early hip impingement.
A cue for a neutral or posteriorly tilted pelvis movement is “tuck your tail”.
Pistol Squat Checklist
So now your checklist is:
– your center of mass forward (reach with your arms)
– tuck your tail (posterior tilt)
– sit down into your pistol squat
The last really really subtle trick is to contract your tibialis anterior (shin muscle). This means try to pull your toes up towards your knees as you’re doing a pistol squat. This might be a little too sophisticated for you to think about the middle of a workout so don’t worry about it unless you need every last bit of ankle range of motion.
Basically when the tibialis anterior contracs on the front this the calves are relaxing on the back which gives you more dorsiflexion. Dorsiflexion is the key to pistol squatting so every little bit hepls.
If you caan go all the way (butt to ankles), great. If not, keep working on hip and ankle mobility and it will come.
In a nutshell, getting your center of mass forward and your pelvis posteriorly tilted (rounding your back) will allow the pistol squat to be a lot easier even if you have crappy ankle mobility.
Those those gifted with amazing ankles this will not be as necessary, but you will still notice that everyone has a rounded back in pistol squatting.
Is This Safe?
This is generally safe because pistol squats are usually unloaded. Additionally, if you keep your abs braced and are controlling the whole movement – you have little to worry about.
Every degree of ankle and hip mobility that you get, the easier pistols will become and the safer they will be.
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