Skip to content
Home » 6 Easy Exercises to Increase Ankle Strength

6 Easy Exercises to Increase Ankle Strength

    6 Easy Exercises to Increase Ankle Strength

    Your feet and ankles will undoubtedly be subjected to pressure and strain no matter what form of dance, calisthenics, gymnastics, or fitness exercise you engage in. According to one study conducted in the United States, 40% of reported injuries in professional dancers occurred at the foot or ankle*, making it the most common site of damage on the body. We’ve put together some simple exercises that may be done as frequently as needed to improve muscular strength and ankle stability. Always ask your teacher if you have any queries, and we always recommend contacting a specialized podiatrist or sports physiotherapist for any specific issues.

    1. Rises in First Parallel

    Begin at the barre with your feet together and flat in parallel. Hold on to the barre as you progressively rise onto the demi-pointe. (Perform this exercise slower than you would if you were doing raises in class). Take attention to your ankle stability as you transition from flat to demi. If you feel wobbling while moving through the demi, try to keep it to a minimum and concentrate on making the transition as smooth as possible. Hold this position and count to 5 when you reach the demi-pointe. Then lower, gradually progressing from demi to flat and minimizing any swaying during the changeover. Ten times through this drill.

    When you feel like you’ve mastered a seamless transition in this exercise, try taking your hands off the barre at demi and counting to 5 without holding onto the barre. If you’ve progressed to this level, you should be able to maintain the demi-pointe stance without wobbling or collapsing at the ankle.

    2. Rises in First Position

    Place your feet in the first position while remaining at the barre. Repeat the preceding exercise, slowly increasing to demi and holding for five counts before slowly dropping back down. Again, try to keep the transition as fluid as possible—10 times through this drill.

    This exercise can also be done without holding the barre.

    3. Rises in Second Position

    Rep the preceding exercise in the second position, striving for maximum ankle stability as you travel up and down. Rep 10 times more.

    This exercise can also be done without holding the barre.

    4. Point and Flex with a Theraband

    Choose a Theraband that is appropriate for your level for this workout. If you’ve never used a Theraband, start with the lightest strength for the least resistance. The more power, the more excellent the resistance against your foot and the more complex the workout.

    Begin by connecting the Theraband beneath the ball of your feet and between your toes while your foot is flexed. Next, move to a pointed-toe position from this flexed position while pulling hard against your foot with the Theraband. Slowly make your way through this transition, focusing on maintaining your ankle stable. If you’ve never done this exercise before, your ankle joint may move slightly from side to side as you slowly move from flexed to pointed toe – this is okay. Aim to improve each time you execute the exercise until you can maintain your ankle entirely stable.

    This exercise should be done 15 times on each foot. You can raise the strength of the Theraband you utilize as you continue.

    5. Fondu and Rise in low Passe

    Begin at the barre, feet parallel and one foot pointing in a low Passe position. Maintaining a straight spine and a forward gaze, fondu the supporting leg slowly and keep this position while counting to five. Keep the ankle stable throughout the transfer. Return to a straight leg softly and go up onto the demi-pointe. Hold this position for five counts, then slowly return to your starting position.

    Repeat this exercise five times on this leg, then switch legs and repeat.

    This exercise can also be done without using the barre. Next, complete the routine on a wobble board for an even more advanced strengthening practice. This exercise can also be done with your hands turned out.

    6. Controlled Lunges

    Place one foot in front of the other in a parallel position, some distance apart. Place your hands on your hips. Slowly bend both knees into a deep lunge while keeping your back straight and core muscles engaged as you bend your knees. Attempt to keep your ankle on the front foot stable, as this foot is prone to tremble and tremor as you shift more weight onto it. Hold the lunge while counting to five. Return to straight legs gradually. Switch legs and repeat the slow lunge.

    Repeat this exercise 5 times on each leg, alternating.

    This exercise can also be done with your front foot on a wobbling board.

    All the exercises listed above can be done as part of your warm-up or as an ankle conditioning workout. Always work in a safe atmosphere, and if you have questions, visit your teacher, physiotherapist, or podiatrist.

    Learn more: Dancers’ Thera-band Exercises