Our feet carry our full bodyweight step after step, mash the pedals when asked and help drive our body through the water. While we often focus on larger muscle groups when training, your feet and ankles may require specific attention as well.
Soft tissue in our feet and around our ankles is often tender to the touch, and taking care of your feet and ankles goes beyond self-myofascial release. There are plenty of exercises that can help strengthen the muscles throughout our lower legs.
Exercising your feet isn't as flashy as other strength exercises, but do not discount its effectiveness. Muscle dysfunction in the lower leg can alter your mechanics and could lead to injury.
These exercises will help strengthen your feet and ankles.
Dyna Disk Single-Leg Touchdown1 of 7
Stand on a Dyna Disk or Airex pad with one foot. Bend at your waist and touch the floor with the same hand, return to the starting position and repeat. Make an effort to perform this exercise slowly and methodically.
3 to 5 reps on each foot, 2 to 3 sets.
Medicine Ball Leg Lift and Chop2 of 7
Stand on one leg and hold a medicine ball at your side. With your arms extended, make a chopping motion across your body. Pause at the bottom of the motion and return to the starting position. Stand on an Airex pad or Dyna disk to increase this exercise's difficulty.
6 to 10 reps on each side, 3 to 4 sets.
Soleus Release3 of 7
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, and align the foam roller perpendicular to your right calf. Cross your leg over your right ankle. Place your hands on the floor and use them to raise your body. Roll back and forth from the lower portion of your calves to the back of your ankles.
1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Towel Grab4 of 7
Throw a towel down on the ground and bunch it up by grabbing it with your toes.
1 to 2 minutes on each foot.
Band Calf Exercise5 of 7
Sit on the floor with your legs straight and loop a resistance band around the front of your extended foot. Pull your extended foot back toward your shin (dorsiflexion) and then move your foot toward the floor (planter flexion).
5 to 15 reps on each leg, 1 to 2 sets.
Foot Rollout6 of 7
You can do this exercise while at work or watching Netflix on the couch. Place a lacrosse or golf ball on the floor and roll out the entire bottom of your foot. Spend extra time and target tight or tender areas.
2 to 3 minutes each foot.