How to Strengthen Ankles for Hikers

Your ankles are your friends. Although you may not really pay attention, your ankles do a heck of a lot for you. They are constantly being placed under stress as they work hard to support you in your activities. 

If you want to have healthy ankles for life, it is important to learn how to strengthen ankles. Functional ankles are ones that are supported by healthy and strong connective tissues and muscles. Strong and healthy ankles know how to absorb loads from all angles.

There are two types of ankle strengthening exercises. The first type is progressive loading in forward-back and lateral movements using resistance bands. The second type is all about stabilization and teaching your ankles how to stabilize on uneven terrain.

Together, these two types of exercises will develop strong connective tissues that will support you in all activities of life. 

There are three tools that I would recommend for ankle strengthing. The first is a light resistance band which will assist you in the first type of exercises. The second is a bosu ball. The last tool I would recommend would be a stability disc. These last two tools, the bosu ball and the stability disc, are perfect for the second type of exercise – ankle stabilization.

Use the resistance band to put your ankle through resisted plantarflexion and dorsiflexion movement patterns. Start using the stability disc and bosu ball for balancing holds. Start with short periods and extend them as you improve.

If you are just learning how to strengthen ankles, start slow. If I were you, I would perform ankle strengthening exercise every day to ensure they are always ready to support me.

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