Ankle Strengthening Exercises for Dancers and Runners

The ankle comes under a lot of stress if you’re a runner, dancer or athlete. Typically any high impact activity will place pressure on the ankle. This leaves the ankles prone to strains and chronic pain. If the ankles are not sufficiently strong enough to tolerate the rigors or high impact activity, they could become prone to injury as well.

An ankle injury will not only put you out of commission for a significant length of time, it will also halt your progress. Here are some ways to strengthen your ankle so that you prevent injuries and strain to all those important joints.

Ankle Stretches

Stretching is important not only because it warms up the muscle to reduce chances of injury it also helps improve range of motion. Doing ankle stretches will also help by stretching the calf muscles, which are as important to stretch.

In seated position point your toes outward, and repeat several times. Also in seated position, point your toes inwards and repeat several times.


In standing position, hold out one leg and rotate the ankle joint fully first in one then in another direction and then repeat with the other leg.

Also in standing position, rise up on to your tippy toes and down. Then lift your toes off the ground as far as possible while the heel is still firmly planted on the ground.

Balance Training

Balance training not only helps strengthen the ankle, it also helps prevent falls and hence other injuries. To improve balance, you could try doing one leg mini squats, play catch while balancing on one leg, or simply practice standing on one leg.

Single leg hops or doing short sprints on one leg also helps you to improve balance and will strengthen the ankle. Don’t forget to alternate legs for each exercise. You can also use a step to do hop on hop off exercises first using both feet together and then alternative the feet.

Resistance Exercise

Using a resistance band you can loop one end to the top part of the foot while looping the other to a pole, sturdy table leg or similar. You need to sit with the legs out straight in front and then pull the toes towards you in a way that stretches the resistance band.

Be Careful Doing These Exercises

While putting your ankle through its paces, you need to be careful not to keep the knees rigid. Bending at the knees while doing ankle exercises will prevent injury in that area.