5 leg and ankle workouts for higher stability

WWhen you think about exercise and what muscles are you going to work out today, what comes to mind? Back and shoulders? Foot? Arm? Core? What about a body area that is supposed to be unique to them all because it is the only body part that is constantly in contact with the ground — the foot? “Complex” feet and ankles—so called because of their closely linked interdependence—support your entire body weight and are the foundation for almost any movement. motion.

“Your foot is amazingly complex with 26 bones, over a dozen muscles and countless nerve endings,” says Brian KinslowPT, DPT, owner of Flagstaff Development. “It both acts as a flexible shock absorber for every step, a powerful lever to propel you forward when walking or running, and a rich source of sensory information informing the brain. about Where is the body in space?. “

Research shows that during running, the foot and ankle complex takes up three to five times your body weight. During a jump, the amount of force varies depending on the type of grounding (e.g. two feet versus one foot) and the height of the jump, but in general you are looking at at least four to five times your body weight. In either case, assuming 150 pounds of weight, that’s a minimum of 450 pounds of force through your feet and ankles!

If that’s not enough, the foot and ankle complex directs force and motion in all directions, whether it’s straight forward and backward (sagittal plane), side to side (lateral plane). front), rotation (horizontal plane) or a combination thereof. During any and all of these moments, the feet and ankles absorb the force of weight bearing, and when you step down, they release that force and stabilize the foot and ankle in the air.

Why it’s important to strengthen your feet and ankles

Considering the amount of force transmitted through the foot and ankle, the type and angle of force they exert, and the fact that we use them a lot (every step), it’s no surprise that foot injuries and ankle is one of the most common injuries. General injury, active population.

Furthermore, the foot and ankle complex affects the rest of the leg. When your foot hits the ground, a shock wave propagates into it and upward. The better the feet and ankles can absorb the force, the less shock waves are transmitted to the shins, knees, and higher areas.

Each of these factors contributes to the unique biomechanics of the foot and ankle complex. For example, the foot is separated into three zones — the forefoot (think of the ball of the foot), the midfoot (from the front of the ankle bone to the starting point of the ball of the foot), and the hindfoot (from the back of the foot). ankle bone to heel), each with its own and unique mechanism, function, and purpose.

For these reasons, ankle health is an important part of overall physical health. For Dr. Kinslow, “foot and ankle health is an essential part of orthopedic health. That’s something we should consider with most patients and clients, even if they don’t have foot or ankle pain. So don’t neglect your feet and ankles! “

If you haven’t thought of “training” your feet and ankles like the rest of your body, don’t worry, as most likely you will. To fix that, here are five research-proven exercises—also with advancements—to improve foot and ankle strength and function.

5 basic exercises for feet and ankles

1. Rotate your feet and ankles with the strap

Sit barefoot on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you. Loop the end of a long resistance band around the ball with your left foot. Let it go over the bottom of your right foot (as if you were standing on it), then hold both ends with your right hand. Bend your left toes towards your face like turn them out, then point them down as you rotate them inward. It’s a representative. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions per foot and work your way up to five sets until you’ve reached three sets of 25 repetitions. At that point, make the exercise harder by slowing down and counting five to get back to the starting point each time.

2. Roll your toes with a towel

Sit barefoot on a chair and put a bath towel (double) on the floor in front of you. Place a book or sneakers on the end of the scarf facing you and place both feet on the end of the scarf closest to you. Keeping your feet flat on the floor with the towel underneath, pull the weight close to you by curling your toes to roll the towel up like an accordion. It’s a representative. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions and work your way up to five sets until you’ve reached three sets of 25 reps. At that point, make the exercise harder by wrapping the resistance band around your toes and curling up against resistance.

3. Lift heel and toe sit

Start sitting on the chair Keep your bare feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Lift both heels off the ground while keeping the ball of your feet on the ground, then slowly lower your heels. Reverse the movement with the toes and toes off the ground while the heels remain on the floor. It’s a representative. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions in a seated position and work your way up to five reps until you reach three sets of 25 reps. At that point, make the exercise harder by doing the same movement while standing. The final process is to progress to this standing pose, balancing on one leg at a time.

4. Short legs

Start sitting in a chair, placing your bare feet on the floor. Without arching the toes, raise the arch of the foot, while keeping the ball off the foot and heel on the ground. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions in a seated position and work your way up to five reps until you reach three sets of 25 reps. At that point, make the exercise harder by doing the same movement while standing. The final process is progressing to balancing on one leg at a time.

5. Balance

Stand on one leg for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side. Alternate between legs for three sets. When you can get it done with ease, repeat the process on a soft surface like a pillow. For advanced balance practice, repeat the sequence above and close your eyes!

This program helps build foundation strength, mobility, balance and feedback into your foot and ankle complex to better cope with the high demands of life, activity and fitness. daily sports. Give it a try and once you have it turned off you can also integrate it into your daily startup. Your feet and ankles will thank you!

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