6 Balance Exercises to Strengthen Your Ankles

Exercise 3:  Complete exercise 2 with your eyes closed. This is going to be harder than you think. In fact, I'll bet that very few of you are able to get up from your chairs right now and do exercise 3 without touching the ground with the foot that is supposed to remain suspended in the air. You won't prove me wrong. 

Option 1: You can choose to do only one exercise per balance session or do a series. Your series might be doing three repeats of going through exercises 1, 2 and 3. In other words, 3 x (exercise 1, exercise 2, exercise 3).

Option 2: When you master exercises 1 through 3, to make them more challenging you can do them on a BOSU ball.

More: 4 Ways to Build Balance

Exercise 4:  While standing on one foot, raise your knee until your femur is parallel to the ground. Count to five. Repeat five to 10 times. As you progress, build up to 30 seconds per foot.

Exercise 5:  While standing on one foot, raise your knee until your femur is parallel to the ground. Kick your heel out until your leg is near parallel to the ground. Bring your foot back so your tibia is perpendicular to the ground. Then move your foot back in a controlled manner as though you are a horse kicking backwards. Return your femur to the parallel position. This entire movement is a count of one. Begin with five repetitions and build to 20 or 30 before switching to the other leg.

Exercise 6: Raise both arms above your head. Stand on one foot. Let's begin with the right foot as an example. The left leg begins with the femur parallel to the ground (like in exercise 4). Move your right hand down to meet the bottom of your left foot. This requires that your left leg moves up and the bottom of your foot rotates toward your hand. A count of "1" is when your right hand touches the bottom of your left foot. Return to both hands up and femur parallel to the ground before beginning the second repeat. Begin with a count of five and build to 20 or 30 before switching to the other leg. 

Option 3: As you advance, you can choose to eliminate exercises 1, 2 and 3 and do only one of exercises 4 through 6 per balance session. Or you can do a series. Your series might include three repeats of going through exercises 4, 5 and 6. In other words, 3 x (exercise 4, exercise 5, exercise 6).

Option 4: Complete one or more sets of exercises 4, 5 and 6 with your eyes closed.

More: 6 Exercises for a Balanced Body

If you're following one of my offseason or base training plans, you can easily add balance exercises to a strength training session, starting as early as the Anatomical Adaptation (AA) phase. I prefer working them in between upper body or abdominal exercises. You can also rotate rather than doing all balance exercises at once. For example, abdominal exercise, lat pull down, balance exercise and repeat.

If your training plan doesn't call for strength training, you can include the exercises before you do a cycling or running session. You can also treat balance work as a stand-alone session anywhere such as while you're watching the news or as a work break.

Those of you that decide to do balance exercises as a break from work will really have the office talking.

More: 4 Ways to Balance Your Triathlon Training Through Yoga

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