Ankle Strength and Flexibility

Tires on a car are arguably the most important part of any car, right?  They are what actually comes in contact with the road.  Knowing that, our feet and lower legs are equally important to our vehicle!

Taking care of your lower legs: ankle strength & flexibility
Taking care of your lower legs: ankle strength & flexibility

Our lower extremities – feet, calves, and shins take an absolute beating.  All the pounding.  All the shock.  Our lower legs need to be as strong as possible to withstand the punishment that we put on it.

7 exercises for stronger and more flexible ankles
Get stronger & more flexible ankles

TrainwithMarc created a video that shows what to do before a run – with ankle drills to get you warmed up; and strengthening drills to get your calf (the two major muscles that make up your calf: soleus and gastrocnemus) nice and strong!  Have a look at it, pause it, practice the drills, and become a stronger runner.


Heel Walks

Distance:  20 meters.
How to:  Flex shin muscle, stay on heels
Goal:  Prevents shin splints; strengthens ankle tendons and ligaments

Toe (balls of your feet) walks

Distance:  20 meters
How to:  Stay on balls of your feet, flex calves
Goal:  Prevent shin splints; mimics running form

Ankle out

Distance:  20 meters
How to:  Mimic a controlled motion of rolling out over your ankle
Goal: Prevents sprains and strengthens ligaments and tendons

Ankle in

Distance:  20 meters
How to:  Mimic a controlled motion of rolling your ankle inward
Goal: Strengthen ligaments and tendons

Jump Rope

Rep:  30 seconds
How to:  Double Leg; Single Leg
Goal: Work on firing from your calves.  Work on being on the ground for as little time as possible.

Heel Raises

Rep:  5-10 (toes point in, straight ahead & pointed out)
How to:  Hang heels off a ledge, explode up, come down slowly.
Goal: Strengthens calf and soleus muscles.

Theraband Exercises

Reps of 10 (Inside, outside, towards & away; both feet)
How to:  Get a band and wrap around the ball of your foot.  With foot flexed, rotate foot to the point of tension.
Goal:  Strengthen muscles in ankle and foot.


Our lower legs are so important to the health of our running.  To keep our lower legs healthy, the 7 exercises listed above are a crucial addition to any runner’s routine.  Not only do we want to have flexible (no more sprained ankles), but we also want stronger lower legs.  These exercises will help with both.

Strength training for runners
Strength training routines for distance runners


Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

I am a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close