How important is it to take care of your ankles? We could elaborate, but just imagine for a moment not being able to use them and you should be able to grasp the necessity. That being said, it is critically important for you to maintain ankle strength as well as health. The first thing you need to know is that the physically active body, at least if it wishes to remain so, needs to be exercise constantly. A look inside the ankle reveals a very complex system with ligaments, muscles, tendons, and other systems that contribute to your ability to move the joints.
Ligaments are critical for the movement process of course but as are the muscles that support them, and building muscle strength is one of the best things that you can do. Not only will you be stronger, you will be able to avoid the most common muscle injuries during your exercise routine. If your ankle muscles are strong, they will be able to withstand greater impacts and even resist injuries – that’s the most important thing of all. You will also find that you can avoid conditions like shin splints and Achilles tendonitis which will definitely keep you in the game longer.
Exercised to Improve your Ankle Strength
Exercise 1: The Single Leg Hop
This is an exercise that involves directional hops, helping to build up stability in the knees while permitting for stronger push offs and landings.
Begin by standing on your left leg, raising your right knee to your hip. Once done, hop forward, keeping your knee at the correct height. Hop forward diagonally to the right, then back to the center. Repeat this exercise for the desired number of repetitions and then switch legs.
Exercise 2: The Three Pointed Lunge
The point of this exercise is to transfer energy from the landing to the push off and build up strength in the lateral knee muscles. This will help to improve stability and it’s really not too hard to do.
Begin this exercise by lunching the left leg forward, and then pushing your left foot off the floor, lunging yourself diagonally to the left. Remember to keep your hips straight, and repeat the process for as many repetitions as needed. It is recommended that you perform six reps and then switch to the other leg.
Exercise 3: Single Leg Mountain Climbers
With this exercise you will be able to strengthen the following:
- Foot Strike Muscles
- Hip Flexors
Getting started is easy; start out in a plank position while engaging your abs, and bend your left knee. Pin your left knee against your right, and then hop your right foot forward. Land lightly on the ball of your foot, keeping your left leg from touching the ground. After that, shoot your right foot back, keeping the same position otherwise. Continue doing as many reps as you wish, 16 recommended for each leg.
These three exercises will do a great job of keeping both you AND your ankles in shape – don’t forget to give them a try.