These ankle exercises are for people who have healed their sprained ankles or who have weak ankles and want to make them stronger and lower the risk for a sprain. I call them prehab ankle exercises, because they are not rehab as if you just had an ankle sprain. Instead, they will make you faster and stronger in sport and life and most importantly, strengthen the ankle joint so your risk for ankle sprains drops significantly. Most people never focus any exercise on the ankles and that is a huge mistake, because without strong, flexible ankles, you can never reach your potential for jumping and quickness. If you have just sprained your ankle, wait at least a few weeks before you start doing these exercises. They are challenging and you do not want to do them until you are fully ready. So, here are a few of my favorite ankle exercises and I hope you will try them when capable…
- Sprint Squares – Run as fast as possible straight ahead for about 10 yards, then while still facing forward, shift to the side for 10 yards, then backwards for 10 yards, and then shift to your left 10 yards and you will be back at your starting point. Do 5 sets, resting about 30-60 seconds between each set. Not only will this exercise improve your lateral quickness and get you in shape, it will really help strengthen your ankles.
- Broad Jump Squares – Just like the sprint squares, you will be moving forward, right, backward and left (covering a square), but now you will be jumping as far as you can. Make sure you land SOFTLY. Sink back when you land and don’t let your knees come forward, so that your glutes absorb the landing, instead of your knees. Do 3-5 full squares and then rest 60 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
- Single Leg Broad Jump Squares – Now, do the same thing on one leg. This is extremely challenging for your balance, endurance and ankle strength. Do 3-5 full squares and then rest 60 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
These are just a few examples of some great ankle exercises that you can do to really improve quickness, speed, lateral motion, jumping ability while at the same time, really strengthening your ankles so your risk for an ankle sprain drops dramatically. If you are looking for more, I have a whole Prehab ankle exercise section in the H.E.M. ankle ebook. In the meantime, try these out and see how you do.