Your ankles take on a lot every day and most of us rarely think of increasing our range of motion with specific exercises. Working on the mobility of your ankles can prevent sprains and potential injuries and improve your athletic performance.
Stretching and strengthening the muscles and tendons surrounding your ankles will help improve your posture and prevent your knees and hips from overuse and weakening. Here are the eight best mobility exercises you can add to your workout routine.
Stand in front of the wall and flat your palms on the surface. Inhale and lift your heels so you’re standing high on the balls of your feet. Exhale and bring your heels back down. Repeat 20 times and you can go as fast or as slow as you’d like.
If you want to challenge yourself, you can step on an elevated surface and come to the far edge, so your heels are hanging off the ledge. Grab onto something for leverage and gently stretch out your heels towards the floor before coming high on the balls of your feet. Repeat 20 times.
Start in a standing position, feet at hip-width distance. Lift your toes so you’re standing on your heels and attempt to do a few steps forward, and a few steps back. If you cannot find a good balance, hold on to a wall or a railing and use it to help you walk on your heels. Keep your feet activated and flexed.
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Sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Start flexing and pointing your feet, warming them up. After a few stretching and flexing moves, start rolling your ankles clockwise, taking it slow and really focusing on fully stretching each side. After 10 rolls, do another 10 but counter-clockwise.
Start in a standing position, feet together. Open your feet to a 45-degree angle, point your right foot and sweep it forward, guiding it with your heel. Sweep it the same way back. Repeat 20 times.
Now, using the same preparation, sweep your feet to the far right, as far as it will go, ending on your fingertips. Sweep it back towards the center. Repeat 20 times.
And lastly, sweep your foot back, keeping the leg extended. Relax your glute so you don’t create too much tension in your lower back, and gently sweep your leg back to the center. Repeat 20 times.
Repeat everything with your left leg.
Sit on your mat and extend your legs in front of you. Grab a strap or a long resistance band and place it under your foot. Take the strap into both of your hands and pull it toward your torso, flexing the foot as you go. Stay here and gently push the strap with your foot, strengthening your ankle as you do so. Repeat 20 times.
Tie the strap to a sturdy surface and still sitting down, loop your foot so that the strap is on the top part of the foot. Slowly start flexing your foot toward your torso, creating tension with every move. Repeat 20 times.
One of the best ways to strengthen your ankles and improve their mobility is by playing with your balance. Start in a standing position, feet separated at hip-width distance. Activate your core muscles and lift your belly button.
Lift your right leg, keeping it extended or bending the knee, whatever you prefer and your flexibility allows. Make sure your left leg is straight and strong, knee cap lifted but not fully locked. Find a point to focus on and try not to let it out of your sight.
Relax your breath and hold your leg up for at least five long inhales and exhales. If you start losing balance, simply bring your foot to the floor to rest and then pick it back up. Repeat with your left leg.
Start in a standing position, feet separated at hip-width distance. Place your hands in front of you and clasp them together. Slowly come to a squat, getting as deep as you possibly can. Take a big inhale and on your exhale, jump high into the air, dropping your arms by your sides. On your inhale, come back down into your squat. Repeat 20 times.
Protect your ankles and prevent injuries.
Side jumps help strengthen the outer part of your feet and they can be pretty intense for beginners so be gentle and take it slow.
Start in a standing position, feet separated at hip-width distance. Place your hands on your hips or lift them in front of you and clasp them together. Inhale, bend your knees, and jump to your right, keeping your feet facing forward and using the power of the outside of your foot to soften the landing. Inhale and jump to the left, repeating the same technique. Repeat 10 times.
Exercises that increase the mobility of your ankles are an important part of your workout regimen. They strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding your ankles, helping you improve your performance in sports as well as preventing injuries. If your ankles are weak, you might be experiencing pain in your knees.
Here are some of the best exercises you can do to reduce knee pain and strengthen the surrounding muscles.