The ankle is of the most common sites for injury yet we often neglect to provide specific strength training to prevent injuries occurring here. As trainers, strength coaches, or gym users, we typically focus on the more aesthetic side of training (abs, chest, arms, butt), on the powerlifting/high-intensity side (maximal lifts, big muscle groups, glutes, quads, back, shoulders) or a non-specific movement base (yoga, animal flow, functional).
With the foot and ankle being the base of support for most exercises, sports, and activities, perhaps we should invest some time to strengthen this area as well. An injured or weaker ankle means less stability, poorer balance, and less strength to perform other exercises or sports.
Before considering orthotics, braces, or strapping, perhaps you should consider exercising and building strength so you don't need external support. A wheelchair is not the first option to consider if you have weaker glutes right? So why do we jump straight to orthotics or strapping for ankles and not try to strengthen them first?
At The Exercise Lab, we educate our clients and students on how to effectively strengthen every part of their body in a variety of ways. With the ankle, there are a lot of directions of movement to control. This provides many opportunities to exercise in each of those directions and positions which will benefit you in a variety of ways such as:
Our Exercise Lab courses provide you with the ability to look at each joint and consider all the possibilities to strengthen those areas. We demonstrate how the addition of training commonly ignored areas can significantly help improve other exercises, movements and performance relating to a specific sport or activity.
Here in this picture is an example of how we can start to look at strengthening the ankle. If you try performing this exercise, also feel the amount of control that is required to stabilise the hip and muscles needed to control knee rotation. Could strengthening the ankle also help strengthen the muscles required to prevent injuring your ACL? Do your hamstrings have a role in controlling this movement too? It requires a lot of control, strength and stability in numerous joints to keep everything else still while moving a single joint under load.
The Exercise Lab is about constantly questioning and challenging what we do to discover more effective ways to improve the results for our clients. If you are interested in learning, questioning, and exploring how to train every body part, not just the easiest or most popular areas, please get in touch to find out about our courses or book in for a session to experience the difference first hand.