3 Exercises to Prevent Ankle Injuries by Building Stability
Ankle sprains are the number one sports related injury. Even worse: the more you sprain your ankle, the more susceptible your ankles are to more ankle sprains. This is why we should take the necessary precautions to prevent these nagging injuries, by performing exercises that prevent ankle injuries.
Now, I’m no physical therapist. But, when it comes to ankles I do know of 3 progressions that can help athletes of all levels work to prevent these injuries. It doesn’t matter how unstable in the ankle you are, I’ve got something for you.
A Cautionary Tale
I made a video on this topic, and the top comment is enough to motivate you to do these injury prevention exercises every day. Here’s what he had to say (edited for grammar):
“Wish I knew about this before I started chronically rolling my ankles. I eventually developed nasty ass bone spurs on the front of my ankle, leading to the end of my collegiate soccer career!
One surgery later, and I still have tremendous pain in the front of my ankle and it makes physical exercise difficult.
Being a 21 year old with chronic ankle problems and a dream crushed from injury, I would advise anyone competing at any level to really take things like this more seriously than your main training.”
That enough to get you to do these extra exercises at the end of your workout?
Let’s get into it.
Before You Start
Almost all athletes these days wear shoes that are almost like a cast for your ankle, meaning they limit your ROM so that you don’t incur injuries. But, these are a blessing and a curse.
They’re a blessing because they do provide some peace of mind that an athlete is safe from injury, but they’re a curse because they create weak, unstable ankles in athletes.
That being said, take your shoes off before you perform the following exercises to prevent ankle injuries. This way, you’re calling upon more of the small stabilizing muscles in the ankle.
If you know you have unstable ankles, and even more, know you are unstable on one leg, you’re going to start barebones…
On the flat ground.
To build a beginner base of stability, you’ll perform unilateral movements in different planes of motion. You can start with a single leg toe touch, a forward and back motion, or even a lateral reach.
You can perform these in 3 sets of 10 each leg to start, and each week progress in reps and sets. These are basic, but I really encourage you to check your ego so you don’t end up hurting yourself in the weight room.
The Foam Pad
The next progression for ankle injury prevention is the foam pad. A foam pad provides a little less stability, calling on more stabilizers to keep you balanced on one leg.
Once you’re on the foam pad, you’ll perform a single leg cone drill, where you have an arch of cones surrounding your mat, and you bend at the knee and hip to touch each one (shown below).
This ankle injury prevention exercise is done in physical therapy, and is highly effective in creating a stronger ankle.
You can perform this for three sets of five reps each leg at the end of your workout.
The Bosu Ball
Yeah, most people think bosu balls are a joke. Most of the time, those people are right, but when it comes to injury prevention, they’re highly effective.
The bosu ball is the final level of progression in this ankle injury prevention series, as it is the most unstable surface. All you’ll do is perform the reaches in different planes of motion I talked about in the first section.
In addition to that, you can also perform other unilateral movements on the bosu ball to build ankle stability, such as a reverse lunge. You can also perform the cone drill I spoke about in the last section
There’s three big things we learned today:
- Ankle injuries are abundant
- They can cut your career short
- You can prevent them!
All it takes from you is some extra effort at the end of your workout. Trust me, it’s work it.
The Ankle and Your Jumping Ability
The ballistic ability of the ankle plays a large role in your jumping ability. So, after you’ve stabilized your ankles, the next logical step is to find out how to put more bounce in them.
To do that, join in the FREE Advanced Vertical Series.
You’ll learn how to improve your unilateral jumping ability,
Exactly what to do in the weight room to jump higher,
You can find out what all the hypes about down below: