POPSUGAR Fitness

7 Ways to Strengthen Your Ankles to Avoid Twists and Sprains

May 9 2014 - 5:07am

Ankles are often neglected when it comes to your strength-training routine, but they shouldn't be. Strong, flexible ankles are an important foundation, helping prevent injury whether you're running back and forth on the tennis court or running to catch the bus. The good news is just a few minutes a day can help keep the sprains away. If it's been a while since you gave those joints any extra attention, read on for an ankle-strengthening exercise for each day of the week.

Calf Raises — Basic

Raising the heels destabilizes your ankle joints. Not only are you strengthening your calves with this exercise, but you're also challenging the muscles that support the ankle joint.

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Calf Raises — External Rotation

Changing the angle of the feet by rotating the legs outward challenges different muscles of the lower leg than working in parallel. This position will work your arch of your foot more too, and a strong arch helps prevent the ankle from rolling inward.

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Calf Raises — Internal Rotation

Once again, the different foot position will challenge different parts of the lower leg and feet.

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Plantar Flexion With Resistance Band

Adding the resistance band helps to strengthen the muscles of the arch. And a strong arch helps prevent over pronation (excessive rolling inward of the ankle).

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Dorsi Flexion With Resistance Band

Dorsi flexion, pulling the toes toward your body, works the muscles that support the front of the ankle.

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Lateral Hops

This is an essential move for runners to strengthen the lower body. Hopping side to side helps condition the muscles around the ankle for stability when making quick lateral direction changes found in tennis, basketball, and soccer.

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Heel Walks

This weight-bearing exercise works the muscles that support the front of the ankle and strengthens the feet too. You can do heel walks with or without shoes.

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Source URL
http://www.fitsugar.com/Ankle-Strengthening-Exercises-31081972