6 Key Moves for Stronger Feet and Ankles
Essential exercises to treat and prevent common foot problems. – By Jordan Metzl
1/ Straight-leg calf stretch
Stand with your arms in front of you and your hands against a wall. Keep your left leg forward, and extend your right leg straight back. Don’t bend your back knee. Lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in the calf of the straight leg. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Do three sets.
2/ Bent-leg calf stretch
Stand with your arms in front of you, hands against a wall. Move your right leg back until your right foot’s toes are close to your left heel. Keeping both heels flat on the floor, bend both knees for a comfortable stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Do three sets.
3/ Calf rolling
Place a foam roller under your left ankle. Cross your right leg over your left. With hands flat on the floor, roll your body forward until the roller reaches the back of your left knee. Roll back and forth from knee to ankle 15 times. Repeat with the right leg. Too painful? Roll with both legs on the roller.
4/ Foot eversions
Anchor a resistance band to a sturdy structure, such as the leg of a sofa. Sit on the floor and place the other end of the band around your foot so it is taut against the outside of that foot; then straighten your leg and rotate your foot outward against the tension of the band, keeping your heel on the floor. Repeat 10-20 times, then switch sides.
5/ Eccentric calf raises
Stand on a step with your heels off the edge (hold on to something for support). Push yourself up, then slowly – to the count of 10 – drop your heels below the level of your feet. Push back up and repeat. Do three sets of 15.
6/ Jump squats
Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. Put your arms straight out. Squat down, pushing your behind back while keeping your upper body tall. Now explode up as high as you can and land softly. Do three sets of 15.