Although frequently overlooked, having strong ankles can have a major impact on an athlete’s performance. Knowing how to build strength and stability leads to a solid foundation for injury prevention. This helps prevent ankle sprains, an injury that many triathletes experience but often dismiss as minor, but one that can lead to more major recurring injuries. Here are five exercises to help strengthen and stabilize your ankles:
- Standing and balancing on one leg on flat ground: Yes it’s as simple as you think. This is an activity you can incorporate into your daily life. Try standing on each leg for 1 minute then switch, doing this a few times a day will help build up stability.
- Balancing on unstable surfaces: Try incorporating balancing exercises on a wobble board or bosu ball into your strength workout. stand on one foot for 30 seconds then switch legs, and try to build up to balancing for 1 to 2 minutes on each leg.
- Standing calf raises: Your calf muscles help stabilize your ankle with every foot strike, so it’s important to build up strength in those muscles as well. Try doing 10 reps on each leg, building up to more reps and more sets.
- Scissor hops/lunges: Begin in lunge position, jump and switch feet mid-air landing with the opposite foot forward.
- Bounding sprint strides: short bursts of speed in the form of striders strengthen ankles. By doing this you’re training them to react to quick changes. make sure to do a proper warm up before doing this exercise.
Even if your ankles are one of the weaker points in your body, the stronger your entire lower body and core is, the more support your ankles will have, so make sure to include lower body and core exercises into your routine.