There are a lot of ankle band exercises that you can do to strengthen and stabilize your ankle joint, and this article is here to help if you are looking.
A few of these exercises are ankle dorsiflexion, ankle plantarflexion, ankle inversion, and ankle eversion.
For starters, get yourself a resistance band to provide resistance. Then, find yourself a space that is just big enough to let you stretch your legs out a bit.
The steps below will give you a general guideline on how to go about these exercises.
- For all of these exercises, begin with looping a pull up band either around one foot or a sturdy object that is at ground level.
- Also, most of them require that you sit on the floor with one of your legs outstretched.
- If you are looping the band around your foot, you should hold the other end with your hands. Make sure to place the band just below your toes.
- Move your ankles around, slowly working the joint against the resistance.
- Keep your back and the entire upper body straight.
- Do 10-20 reps for each exercise.
WHAT MUSCLES DO ANKLE BAND EXERCISES WORK?
There are many muscles that cross your ankle joint, including the soleus, gastrocnemius, posterior tibialis and flexor hallucis longus.
Each of these muscles contributes to moving your ankle and stabilizing the joint.
When the muscles on one side of the ankle joint shorten or contract, the entire ankle moves in that direction as the muscles on the other side lengthen simultaneously.
Aside from the muscles, these exercises also strengthen the tendons and ligaments within the ankle region, which work to support the mobility and function of your ankles.
BENEFITS OF ANKLE BAND EXERCISES
IMPROVES BONE DENSITY
Exercises that strengthen your ankle help increase your bone density, which reduces your chances of getting degenerative bone illnesses like osteoarthritis.
By strengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments around your joint, you take some pressure of the joint, which can reduce the risk of injury.
ALTERNATIVES TO ANKLE BAND EXERCISES
SINGLE LEG STANCE ON A TOWEL
Exercises that train on balance can help strengthen your ankle to reduce injury risk or heal an ankle that’s already injured.
The single leg stance on a towel happens to be one of the best exercises that could strengthen and improve your ankle mobility.
- Fold a thick towel into a rectangle and place it on the floor.
- Step on the towel with the one foot and then lift the other leg off the ground.
- Hold for 20 seconds and as your balance improves, you can increase the time up to about 45 seconds.
- Return the other foot to the ground.
You can intensify this exercise by stepping onto a more unstable surface or a Biometrical Ankle Platform System (BAPS) board.
If you are using a BAPS, get a physical therapist to help you with it.
PARTIAL WEIGHT-BEARING STANDING WEIGHT SHIFT
The partial weight-bearing standing weight shift is one of the most popular exercises for rehabilitating your ankle after an injury.
It introduces the muscles around the ankle to increased weight-bearing to help them function normally after injury.
- Get a sturdy object to hold on to (like a table) and stand upright in front of it.
- Shift some of your bodyweight to one foot and hold on to the solid object.
- Hold this position for 15-20 seconds.
- Then, relax your muscles and put your weight back to the other foot.
FULL WEIGHT-BEARING LATERAL JUMP
This movement includes plyometric training in your ankle strengthening routine. It could be particularly useful if one of your ankles is injured.
- Roll a towel and place it on the floor on the side of your injured ankle.
- Hop onto the towel, making sure to land on your injured foot.
- Hop off the towel and land on the other foot.
Make sure the injured ankle can support your entire bodyweight before adding the full weight-bearing lateral jump to your routine.
The hand-foot war trains ankle mobility and flexibility, just like most ankle band exercises.
- Get a chair and sit on it, placing your left foot on the floor.
- Lean forward and put your left hand on the outside of the foot.
- Push your foot against your hand.
- Hold for 15 seconds, resisting the pressure with the foot the entire time.
- Then, place your hand inside your foot, and repeat the push-and-resistance motion.
- Repeat the previous steps on your right foot.
- Do this about 12 times on each foot for as long as you need to.
ANKLE BAND EXERCISES MISTAKES TO AVOID
USING A LOOSE BAND
If there’s one mistake that will surely ruin your progress when you are doing ankle band exercises, it is using a loose band.
Remember this is a resistance-dependent exercise, which means the band you use must provide maximum resistance for you to get good results.
Check your band before you begin your reps and if it is too loose, ditch it and get a better one or else you’ll be putting in all that hard work for no reason.
HOW CAN I INCREASE THE DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF ANKLE BAND EXERCISES?
As a beginner, it would be better to start these exercises with a low resistance band.
Once you have mastered them, and as you develop more ankle strength, then you can increase the resistance gradually.
Don’t amp up the resistance too soon; this could put you at risk of injuring the joint and the muscles surrounding it.
Ankle injuries are not only painful but could also render you immobile for weeks or even months at a time.
Performing ankle band exercises regularly is the most effective way to condition and strengthen your ankles to prevent such injuries.
Good joint health is also very important to everyone who participates in fitness and athletic activities.
You should definitely add ankle band exercises to your lower body routine, starting with the ones mentioned above and any other that you come across.