Do it for ankle mobility, squat mechanics, and foot stability
People often perform ankle "mobility" drills such as the wall knee drive. While it is a good stretch, it does not actually improve mobility of the ankle like this variation; the single leg squat to reach.
"Mobility" and "flexibility" are two terms that often get confused and jumbled together. Flexibility is the ability to reach a position, while mobility is having strength in that position.
Back in July we shared the rubber band squat hack and how to create and maintain tension in the squat through the big toe. This rubber band creates an external cue for you to think about as you move through the exercise.
To maximize the single leg squat to reach, we will add two external cues. First we will put a band under the heel (need to be barefoot) to ensure force is being driven through the heel. Second, we will put an object out in front as a goal for your knee to touch as you squat. This will make sure there is more movement through the ankle and not the hip.
Grab a band and put it under your heel. Stand on the band with one leg, SQUAT down trying to touch the ground, and come up.
In the video below, you will see the first two reps where I just hinge back and touch the ground. You can see that my knee stays relatively in the same path and doesn't move forward into what would be a squat. This is relatively easy and not the goal of the exercise.
To make sure you are squatting, put something out in front of you and try to touch it with your knee as you squat down to touch the ground. This forces you to get to the very limits of your ankle mobility as you maintain force in the heel as well (if you don't the band will snap out).
Instead of just passively stretching your ankle, you are now actively mobilizing the ankle under load (bodyweight).
Hope you find some improvements to your ankle mobility with this drill!