The key to improving mobility and relieving overly tight contractile tissues is to perform the best bang-for-your-buck exercises with a slow, controlled tempo while using as much weight as you can safely handle. To up the ante, you can add in a brief isometric hold in the bottom position. This is one of those exercises.
Any type of squat, deadlift, or lunge variation requires a great degree of ankle mobility and stability. When neglected, locked-up ankles can wreak havoc on the entire body and lead to chronic hip and knee pain.
The problem is, the usual prescription for ankle restrictions revolves around soft-tissue work, band mobilizations, etc. While those have their benefits, you’re missing out on an opportunity to lengthen and activate the tissues if you never add load.
Performing single-leg calf raises with a slow tempo and using pauses at the bottom to eliminate the stretch reflex can bridge the gap between mobility and function. – Charlie Gould