There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to workout because you have an injured ankle. Even if your ankles are hanging in there but they’re weak, you will have trouble with running, squats, jumps – basically, any exercise that involves your lower body. Though ankle injuries infamously affect runners, dancers, soccer players, and baseball players, they can stop weightlifters and other athletes from accessing the gains they want. Once you have an injured ankle, getting it back to its original strength (and preventing repeat injuries) can seem almost impossible.

Ankles usually get injured because people expect them to simply work without any extra help. As the first major joints between the ground and the rest of your body, they have a very hard job. The best way to prevent ankle injury is to dedicate some time just to strengthening and supporting these all-important joints. The stronger you make your leg muscles, the less likely ankle sprains become. You also want to train your brain to anticipate and fire the correct muscles to keep your ankles steady, no matter what you’re doing. In today’s blog, we are going to share four exercises you can easily fit into your routine that will ensure ankle injuries don’t slow you down.

Balance disc

Because you need to strengthen your legs while developing muscle coordination and balance, you’re going to spend a good bit of time standing on one leg. One of the most effective ways to make progress is to stand on one leg … on top of a balance disc. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your muscles tire out. To get the most out of this exercise, stand on the disc with one foot as long as you can and then switch. Complete five sets.

Medicine ball toss – single leg

As you probably expected, you’re going to do this on one leg. You’ll need a partner for this one. Square off with your buddy, stand on one leg, and toss the medicine ball back and forth. Aim to toss for five intervals of 60 seconds. If you aren’t breaking a sweat, balance on a foam pad. The pad will allow the little muscles in your foot and ankle to get a better workout.

Resisted eversion

The most common ankle injury is an inversion sprain, where the foot rolls inward, injuring the ligaments of the lateral (outward) ankle. Target this specific weakness by placing a small resistance band around both feet. Sit down and rotate your feet outward and upward, really working against the resistance. This exercise will strengthen your lateral ankles and give you increased stability.

Single leg good mornings

Stand on one leg and bend forward, rotating at your hips so your back doesn’t curve over. Your lifted leg can lift up behind you. Make sure you don’t lock your knee. Raise back up and then bend forward again. Repeat 15 times on each leg.

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