How strong are your roots?
A tree is only as strong as its roots, how strong are YOUR roots? Building a strong and stable body starts with our ankles. Like a tree with shallow roots, weak ankles don’t give the rest of our body a great chance for success.
What’s in the ankle?
As you can see, there’s a lot going on in the ankle. Bone-wise, we have our two long bones in the lower leg (tibia and fibula) articulating with a short, supportive bone in the ankle area called the talus. There are many small bones in the foot, so we have a lot of moving parts. Ligaments, tendons, and muscles help hold everything in place. When any of these soft tissues become stretched or they aren’t doing their job, that’s when problems arise.
Why do you need ankle stability?
It’s incredibly important to improve ankle stability regardless of your activity level.
A soccer athlete’s skill level on and off the ball will benefit from strong ankles. They’ll be able to cut and move sharper, strike the ball with a solid locked ankle, and lessen the likelihood of sustaining injury.
For the average adult, think of how much time you spend during the day with just your bodyweight on your ankles. Without working on ankle stabilization, weakness and imbalances are likely to occur over time. Bad ankles can affect and cause pain in other areas and vice versa.
Geriatric patients benefit from ankle stability just as much. As we age our bones tend to weaken, so consistent resistance and stability training are very important. Using the stairs, walking on uneven ground, and driving a car all require good ankle control, which can be improved with these stability exercises.
How to increase ankle stability
Follow this progression to improve your stability and strengthen your entire lower body. You can add it to your warm up or do it by itself, just get it in somewhere!
- Bowler Lunges
- KB Circles
- KB Crossovers
- 3-Point Touches
- Bonus – keep your eyes closed!
Start out with the bowler lunges, and only advance when you can comfortably complete 10 reps uninterrupted. Try these on a hard floor first. If that’s too easy, you can add a stability pad to significantly increase the difficulty of each of these movements.