Ankle strengthening exercises are important not only for injury recovery but also essential to ensure your ankles are not prone to injuries.
The ankle is a weight-bearing joint on which the entire body balances. Its construction is complex, with various bones, tendons, and ligaments working together to support the body weight and make it mobile. Ankle band exercises can help you manage pain, injury, or mobility problems without putting weight too much strain on the ankles.
In this article, we explore the benefits of ankle band exercises. We also list some excellent ankle resistance band exercises for strength and stability.
Why tight or weakened ankles are a problem?
Tight or weaker ankles have a high risk of injury and can cause recurring pain.
Ankles can become stiff or tight with aging or due to medical conditions like arthritis. Such stiffness affects mobility, making it difficult to bend the ankles. Most people with tight ankles have difficulty bending their ankles upwards rather than downwards. It makes it challenging for them to walk uphill or point their feet straight when walking.
Weaker ankles increase the risk of injuries and need more attention. Some people are born with weaker ankles; others develop them due to injury or trauma. Whatever the reason, weaker ankles can affect the quality of life as they can make it difficult to stand or walk after a while.
Fortunately, you can manage tight or weak ankles with workouts like ankle resistance band exercises. A study found that ankle strengthening exercises can be "an effective treatment method for enhancing the proprioceptive sense and balance ability in adults with functional ankle instability."
Benefits of ankle band exercises
Ankle band exercises are low-impact, so they are ideal for working out muscles and tendons in the region. As resistance bands do not concentrate the whole weight on the ankles like free weights, there is minimal risk of injury.
There are several benefits of doing ankle-strengthening exercises with a band.
- Improved bone density: Strengthening band exercises help increase ankle bone density, reducing the risks of degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis.
- Improved balance: Stronger ankles muscles improve balance which is necessary for several sports and other body-building exercises. Strong ankles also minimize the risk of injuries and falls.
- Improved range of motion: Ankle exercises with resistance bands improve the ankle joint's flexibility, which enhances the range of motion.
- Preventing injuries: As stronger ankle muscles can withstand pressure on the ankle joint more efficiently, it helps prevent injuries.
- Convenience: Another significant benefit of ankle-strengthening exercise resistance bands is their convenience. These lightweight and portable bands are easy to use.
Best ankle band exercises for strength
1. Ankle dorsiflexion
- Sit on the floor with your right foot stretched in front of you.
- Loop the resistance band around the ball of one foot while the ends are securely anchored.
- In this position, keep your hands behind to support your back, and keep the back straight.
- Move the foot backward and forward in a controlled motion, and slowly work out the ankle against the band's resistance.
- Repeat for 15-20 repetitions before switching ankles.
2. Ankle plantarflexion
- Sit on a mat with your right foot out.
- Loop the resistance band around the ball at the ankle and hold onto the ends of the resistance firmly with your hands.
- Start pushing your foot down towards the ground, moving it against the resistance of the band.
- Hold the position for a few seconds before gradually returning the foot to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement for 10-15 reps, then switch sides.
3. Ankle circles
- Sit on the mat with your right leg stretched out.
- Loop the resistance band around the middle of the foot and hold the ends firmly in your right hand.
- Slowly trace a circle with your foot working it against the band's resistance.
- You must be mindful of making the circle in a controlled movement through the entire range of motion, including flexion, extension, inversion, and eversion.
- Repeat for 10-15 reps, then switch the direction of the circle before moving to the other foot.
Ankle band exercises for stability
This ankle band workout challenges, balances, and engages the muscles around the ankle joint improving overall ankle stability.
1. Single-leg balance with band
- Loop the resistance band around the right foot, and hold the ends with the right hand maintaining tension in the band.
- Once in position, lift your left leg.
- Balance your weight on the right leg while stretching the band.
- Hold the position for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.
2. Monster walk
- Loop the band around your ankles and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Slightly flex your knees to engage your core and hinge forward at your hips.
- Take alternating steps forward, maintaining an equal distance between you and keeping the resistance band in tension.
- It would help if you did not twist your hips as you take steps forward. If your hips twists, try taking shorter steps to reduce the band resistance.
- Repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
How to choose the right ankle band?
Resistance bands are available in several varieties. It is vital to choose the right one for these ankle band exercises.
You must prioritize quality and choose a thicker resistance band as they are durable. Any ankle band must be able to support your body weight without snapping. Also, the material should offer enough resistance. Latex resistance bands offer ample resistance if you choose the right strength level. Also, check out the accessories that are available with the resistance. Usual resistance band kits have simple band loops, but for ankle band exercises, you will need additional accessories like handles, ankle cuffs, and attachments.
LIT ankle resistance band offers great flexibility, adjustable resistance up to 200 pounds, and built-in sensor tech to monitor your movements and reps. LIT Axis is a portable smart resistance band training system that takes all the pros of conventional resistance bands and enhances them further with technology.
With LIT AXIS, you can monitor your reps, resistance loads, time under tension, any muscle imbalance, and much more through the LIT AXIS app.
Learn more about the LIT AXIS ankle band.
Weak or tight ankles can cause pain and problems with mobility. Incorporating an ankle band workout into your routine can improve ankle muscle strength and joint mobility. Furthermore, it will reduce the risk of injury to the ankle's tendons, bones, and ligaments.
Can ankle band exercises help prevent ankle sprains?
Yes, ankle band exercises improve muscle and tendon strength, reducing the risk of injuries like sprains.
Can I use ankle bands if I have ankle pain?
Yes. As ankle bands are low-impact, they do not put pressure on the ankle, so they are actively in therapy and rehabilitation.
How often should I do ankle band exercises?
You should do ankle band exercises 2 or 3 times a week for the best results.
Can ankle bands help with balance?
Studies have shown that ankle strengthening and balancing exercises can enhance proprioceptive sense and balance ability in adults with functional ankle instability.