Ankle training Part 1

Posted: February 26, 2015 in Recovering from Injuries

Ankle sprains are common especially in the physically active population. A survey showed that as much as 73% of athletes in Hong Kong (from recreational to competitive and elite level athletes) had recurrent ankle sprains. The good thing is that this type of injury can be mitigated through training. Described below are some exercises that can be used as a warm up routine while at the same time they serve as a prophylactic exercise against common injuries like ankle sprains. It is hitting a lot of targets with a single routine.


There are an endless types of exercises that can be used to prepare the ankles to absorb forces. Here are some exercises which would strengthen the leg muscles whose tendons cross the ankles. Aside from being very good exercises for dynamic warm-up for the whole body, these exercises also train proprioception in the ankle joints and also increase the tensile strength of the tendons and ligaments around the ankle joint. They can be used in your warm up or as assistive exercises. Mark two points on the ground which are around 5 meters away from each other. Travel the distance with the following exercises. Walk back to the starting position after each exercise. Repeat each exercise 3 to 5 times before moving on to the next exercise.

1. Knee hugs tip toe

Stand straight, be as tall as you can. Pull back your shoulder blades. Lift one knee as high as you can while pointing the toe of this leg as high as you can. With your arms, hug your knee as close as you can while pushing the ground with the toe of the other leg. Try to be as tall as you can. Maintain the position for 2 to 3 seconds before taking a step forward. Repeat with the opposite leg. Note that standing on your toes is an important part of this exercise.


Front View of the Knee Hugs to tip toe:valstrengthtrainingkneehugfrontvw

2. Flying T

Start with the same starting position as the knee hugs tip toe. Instead of hugging the knee extend your leg backwards as if you want to reach something behind you with your leg. Do not tip toe. Keep looking forward, not on the ground. Spread your arms to the side to form a letter T. Maintain the torso and “reaching” leg in a straight line and almost perpendicular to the standing leg. Stay on this position for 2 to 3 seconds before pulling in the reaching leg and stepping forward. Repeat the movement with the other leg.


Front View of the Flying T:


3. Knee Hugs to Lunge Stretch

The starting position is the same as the Knee Hugs tip toe. This time after hugging the knee, and standing on the toe, lower yourself on the other foot to a lunge position. Lunge as long and as low as you can without losing balance. Keep both arms directly overhead and keep your elbows as straight as you can, with each of your biceps touching the ear on the same side.


Front View of the Knee Hugs to Lunge Stretch:


Using these exercises for warm-up saves a lot of time since they address a lot of issues in one go instead of doing a lot of exercises to address balance, flexibility, and ankle stability. It also serves to increase body temperature and heart rate prior to doing your main training. This can be used prior to your Strength Training or prior to running or trail running. Runners and trail runners would benefit from these when it comes to ankle stability. There are other exercises that can be done outdoors to for stronger legs and general strength too.

Click here if you want to learn about an unusual, overlooked, but very effective strength training method. 

With good preparation, the incidence of sports related injuries can be lowered. And if an injury does happen, the severity most likely would be lesser and the recovery time would be faster. This is a big return of investment and it shortens training time while increasing quality of training. Train Better, Live Better!

Read Ankle Training Part 2

  1. […] is quite good. If you have some balance issues or you are recovering from ankle injuries, read Ankle Training Part 1. If you feel that these exercises are not challenging anymore, try doing the next level (Ankle […]


  2. […] the squat to help in keeping your heels flat on the ground. To improve ankle stability, read this: Ankle training Part 1. To improve ankle strength and mobility, read this: Ankle Training Part […]


  3. […] “Will I gain any benefit from this exercise and are the benefits greater than the risks?.” (click here for warm-up exercises which also improve ankle and knee proprioception) There is a story of a well known and respected Strength and Conditioning Coach and former athlete […]


  4. […] to pay attention to. Acute injuries are mostly due to a big and sudden “error” on how we move. (Read this for exercises to lower your ankle incidence). Overuse injuries and inflammation of tendons and fascia are usually caused by a combination of […]


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