Ankle Strengthening Exercises for Runners
You can follow along with this ten-minute routine of ankle strengthening exercises to build strength in your ankles and lower legs. This ankle strengthening routine is perfect for injury rehab after ankle sprains and other ankle injuries.
The ankle strength exercises in this at-home workout are all chosen so as not to require any equipment, and simply use bodyweight.
You can do these exercises anywhere to build ankle strength and ankle stability!
The ankle strengthening exercises featured in this video include:
- Heel Walks: 2 sets of 1 minute
- Toe Walk: 2 sets of 1 minute
- Single Leg Alphabet Drill: 2 sets of A-to-Z each leg
- Lateral Hop and Hold Drill: 2 sets of 20 each leg
Let’s look at each of these ankle exercises one-by-one…
1. Heel Walk Exercise for Stronger Ankles
If you’ve recently injured your ankle and had to endure an enforced period of rest to let your ankle heal, you will need to re-build strength in all the muscles around the ankle joint.
This simple ankle drill focuses on active ankle dorsiflexion and strengthens dorsiflexor muscles such as tibialis anterior.
2. Toe Walk Drill for Ankle Stability & Calf Strength
Similar to the heel walk exercise, this toe walk drill focuses on building strength in the muscles around the ankle joint. This time the focus is on the calf muscles, plantar flexors of the ankle joint.
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In addition to building calf strength, the toe walk drill challenges your ankle stability. Walking on your tip-toes forces your ankle to practice creating stability in an extremely plantarflexed position. This is really challenghing for a lot of runners; particularly those who have previously suffered from lateral ankle sprains.
3. Single Leg Alphabet Drill for Single Leg Balance
I just love the simplicity of this dynamic ankle stability and drill. However, that doesn’t make it easy!
You don’t need a balance board or wobble cushion to challenge your ankle stability muscles. In fact, you can perform this simple ankle exercise with no equipment at all.
Use the movement of your upper body to create the instability that your ankle stabiliser muscles (like the peroneal muscles for example) have to work hard to control.
Here’s a link to a video which will show you how to improve your balance almost instantly.
4. Lateral Hop Drill for Dynamic Ankle Stability
This hopping drill for ankle strength is a more advanced exercise. So, be sure to only try this one if you’re further along in your ankle rehab process!
The lateral hop drill teaches you to dynamically stabilise your ankle with every landing.
Let me know how you get on with these ankle strengthening exercises. If you enjoy this type of follow along video, do let me know in the comments, and I’ll make more of them to focus on different areas of the body.