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Undoubtedly, the muscles that are worked out most during running fall in our lower body. It can truly surprise you how many muscles are targeted during this religious full-body activity.
One of the muscles that are utilized most is the ankle muscles. Strengthening them can help your lot in improving your running speed and power. Ankle strengthening workouts also help a lot in all kinds of lower-body injury rehabilitation.
Most of these workouts are equipment-free, they mostly rely on your body weight and can be done very easily at your home. They can be done anywhere for building strength, stability, and imprint balance & mobility.
The Role of the Ankles When Running
Your lower body plays a great role in getting you moving. Your hips help in stabilizing your body by providing a stable base to your foot & ankle.
Your foot and ankle roll on the floor and allows the running to happen, which is a result of base and control provided by the hips.
Your foot and ankles’ main goal is providing a stabilized base and support while sending feedback to your brain about your body’s position in correspondence to the ground.
Benefits of Ankle Strengthening
Weakened ankles can be a result of repeated sprains which make your ligaments lax. This sets the center stage for the additional sprains or the fall which can lead to injuries or even result in broken bones.
Ankle strengthening workouts help in increasing the flexibility of your ankles which is essentially needed for the running activity.
Besides building and supporting the muscles which help in keeping you balanced regardless of your physical position or physical activities. They play a major role in preventing all types of falls.
Ankle Strengthening workouts should be a regular part of your training routine.
A lot of runners fail to give proper attention to the muscles of their ankles till it gets too late. Runners commonly develop ankle injuries & lower leg issues & yet they are overlooked mostly, till they end up in serious health-related issues. The ankle strengthening workouts can be an excellent addition to a runner’s training plan. These exercises do help a lot in keeping those muscles strong & stable but get you to run faster on the road in your running clothes. These exercises are so quick & easy to complete.
Practice these simple ankle strengthening workouts for maintaining optimal stability
The muscles of your ankles play a major role in stabilizing your bodies while you are on the move. They are engaged in every step you take while moving. Weak ankles can cause injuries & other serious issues like shin splints, foot pain, knee pain & much more. Injury prevention involves proactivity & diligence. A few minutes spent on strength training will keep you healthy & strong.
Best Exercises For Ankle Strengthening
This workout strengthens the thighs and your ankles as well. It is more like a leg workout. Performing squat jacks increase the power that you need for push-off while strengthening your ankles.
For doing this workout start with standing on your feet opened hip-width apart. Make sure your shoulders stay straight right over the hips. Then move out the legs so they are placed at your side. Extend both of your arms overhead as you do in a normal jumping jack. But rather than making a normal ‘X’ shape that you make in the jumping jack, return to the loose standing position. The “standing” position of you in a squat-jack is the legs opened shoulder-width apart when then goes in a squat. Include both the normal jumping jack & the squat jumping-jack in the ankle strengthening program for getting maximum results.
This method of ankle strengthening requires a towel, hard ground & weight. Start this activity by putting weight on one edge of the towel & your foot on the other. Start it by placing the foot on the long-side of a rectangular towel that you are using for this activity. They keep the heels planted in one place & move the foot in a windshield wiper manner from outward direction to inside. Doing this will move the weighted end close to you. When it is headed towards your foot, start stretching that towel back while switching the sides. In a way that the inside of the ankle will be closest to that weight. Then move the foot in the same windshield wiping manner.
Negative Calf Raises
This type of calf raise goes in the opposite direction of the regular calf raise. Start this workout by standing on the step or a raised surface. From there let the heels hang down-off slowly, take around 10-15 seconds and go all the way down. Make sure you feel a stretching sensation in the calves while performing this exercise. Repeat this exercise 12 times. For adding challenge do it by standing on one leg.
Solo Leg Lifts
It is the directional hop that helps in improving both your ankle & knee stability. This move allows the stronger push-off & landing while you hit the running track. Start this workout by standing on your one leg, let say the right leg. Raise your left knee to the hip height, hop slightly forward & then land softly. After that hop back to the position from where you started. Then hop slightly diagonally on your left, after that return to the center position. Then hop completely on your left, and return to the center position. Repeat this workout by hopping forward again. Perform 12 reps of this workout while switching your legs in each set.
When you stretch your calves out by straightening your legs, you do not target all of the muscles and tendons that you could. Some of them are left improperly stretched at that time. In this workout, the soleus works on the muscle that is often forgotten in your calf stretches & connects it calf with to the heel. It targets every part of your ankle.
Start this workout by standing straight, with your palms placed flat against the wall. Then put one of your legs forward, and the other leg back. After that start gently lowering yourself in the seated position, so it looks like either a wonky chair is placed under you or you are preparing for a fierce battle. Then lean forward till you feel your calves stretched. Hold that seated position for 30-seconds to a single minute & then switch your legs.
Do you remember those flamingo toys? You tipped over & drank the water out of the small cups.
This is going to be much of the same thing. Start this workout by standing loosely on the solid floor, grab your foot & control the balance. After that bend over till the other hand can touch the floor. While the ankle is jostling like the crazy trying its best to keep you properly balanced. Perform the same step by using another foot. Once you have got the full hang of it, move onto the unstable ground, like a mini-trampoline. This activity will work on the ankles and control while improving your balance.
Lateral Hop Drill for Dynamic Ankle Stability
This hopping drill is performed for ankle strengthening; it is an advanced workout. Perform this only if you are further along in the ankle rehab process. A lateral hop drill helps you to achieve dynamic stability in every landing.
Treat your body right by focusing some much-deserved attention on your feet and ankles. You won’t regret it; not only will you lower your chance of injury, you will also notice improvements in your athletic performance in terms of agility and strength.