Ankle exercises play a vital role in the healthy life of any individual. Our body is a very complex system, and when we exercise, our joints can never fail; they are systems in which, in addition to muscles, other structures are involved, such as ligaments and tendons, on which our mobility depends, addition to serving as supports and shock absorbers for our different activities and exercises.
This is the case of our ankles, essential for all exercises we do standing up, especially those involving jumping.
Ankle Exercises to Strengthen it
We will start with some movements that you can do with elastic bands to intensify the effort in the different movements that the joint allows us.
This movement consists of bringing the tip of the foot inwards, with the foot raised and helped by our band. You can perform repetitions or start keeping the isometric position.
On this occasion, we will try to bring the toe out against the resistance of the elastic band, always trying to stay within the limits of the flexibility of our ankle.
In this movement, we will bring the tip of our foot up, so the elastic band must be pulling our foot down; as you can see, this is a natural and widespread movement when we walk and also when doing squats so that it is essential to have strength and flexibility to do it.
This exercise is the opposite of the previous one; we will try to lower the toe against the resistance of the elastic band; this exercise is also excellent for our calves.
By lifting the heels, you are destabilizing the ankle joint; in addition to stretching the calves, we challenge the muscles that support this joint. With feet hip-width apart, slowly raise your heels until you’re on the balls of your feet, then slowly lower back to the starting position, or one foot at a time to increase the load.
Calf Raises with External Rotation
By rotating the feet, we will be using different muscles in the lower part of our legs. This position will strengthen the foot’s arch, which is very useful to avoid accidentally turning the ankles inward. The movement of the exercise will be the same as the previous one, only that we will start it with the tips of the fingers outwards, forming an approximate angle of 45 °.
Calf Raises with Internal Rotation
As in the previous exercise, by changing the angle of the feet, we will be working different sections of the stabilizer muscles of the ankles.
Starting in a stride position, take a jump, change the position of your feet in the air, landing with the opposite foot forward. Of course, you should land on your ankles to cushion the fall and activate the muscles that stabilize this joint.
Partial Squat Jumps
In this exercise, you will do a movement similar to that of the traditional squat, only this time you will only go down to a quarter of the total squat, and you will go up again by jumping, always remember to land softly using the balls of your feet to cushion the impact.
Walking on heels
Another excellent exercise for the ankles that challenges us by creating instability, as its name tells us, is just about walking on the heels; in this way, you will strengthen the muscles that support the front part of the ankle.
For this movement, you can use a stepper, a large book, or any surface that allows you to stand on the front of your feet and lower your heels; the movement consists precisely in lowering your heels slowly to their limit before going up again. If the heels reach the ground, remember to descend in a controlled manner so that the heels do not suffer a blow on each descent.
Squats on Toes
You can start the movement with a traditional squat; with your feet completely flat on the ground, you will do the downward movement, and when going up, you will also raise your heels, standing on your toes; from there, try to continue on your toes all the time.
Remember that you can lean on a wall or support if you find it hard to keep your balance in the first few attempts.
As with all parts of our body, stretching is essential to gain mobility in the joints, perform exercises more efficiently, and avoid excessive pain after training.
Point Your Toes
Lying down, or sitting with your legs forward, try to point your toes forward. To do this movement, your calves will also have to stretch, so if you feel that the movement causes any excessive tension in these muscles, even causing pain, you will need to decrease the range of motion.
This will be the opposite movement to the previous one; lying down, your toes should try to point towards your head, moving both the fingers and the feet up. It will be customary for you also to feel your calves stretch.
Supporting your hands against a wall, put the tip of your foot against this same wall while leaning your body forward, stretching your calf muscles. In addition to stretching the calf muscles, this movement also leads to the ankles gaining more elasticity if you do it frequently.
So now you know, with these strengthening and stretching exercises, you can have solid and stable ankle exercises knowledge and will serve as the basis for your daily life and routine.