If you are a runner, one of the questions you have probably asked yourself is "Why am I not going faster? Is it a matter of lack of rhythm? Maybe my running technique is wrong?"

Don't worry, we've all been through it, but stop torturing yourself because there may be an unexpected guest on the scene of your concerns : weak ankles . Or that is what at least says a study that relates biomechanics to the understanding of the stabilization of the ankle and foot.

A total of 25 runners were monitored by the German Sport University Cologne to assess their behavior during a 10 km race. The researchers asked a portion of the volunteers to run around 5% slower than their personal best. As the test progressed, they observed that they used their ankles less and less and used their knees and hips more . The trend was more pronounced in the group of athletes who ran under 47:30 than in the fastest, who were those who managed to complete the course in 37:30.

After analyzing the results, the scientists concluded that long-distance runners could improve their performance by strengthening the flexor digitorum longus muscle junction with the ankle . What does that mean? That the stronger your ankles, the faster you will run.

We suggest you practice these four exercises to strengthen your ankles so you can run more and avoid possible injuries.

  1. Toe Flexibility Exercises: This exercise is simple but effective for improving toe flexibility and strength. Sit in a chair and place a small object, such as a rolled towel, on the floor in front of you. Use your toes to grab the object and bring it towards you. Repeat this catch-and-release movement several times, alternating between feet.

  2. Calf Raise: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly raise your heels while standing on the balls of your feet. Hold the position for a few seconds and then lower your heels until they touch the ground. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise to strengthen your calf and ankle muscles.

  3. One-legged balance : This exercise is excellent for improving balance and ankle stability. Stand up and lift one leg up, bending the knee to 90 degrees. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch legs. As you get more comfortable, you can increase the difficulty by closing your eyes or making small movements with your arms while maintaining your balance.

  4. Tiptoe Walking: This exercise is performed by walking on the balls of your feet. Keep your body upright and your abdomen contracted as you walk forward, using only the balls of your feet. Take 10 to 15 steps forward, then repeat in the opposite direction. This exercise works the calf muscles and strengthens the ankles.

  5. Ankle Rotation: Sit on a chair and lift one foot off the ground. Slowly rotate your ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions in each direction, then switch feet. This exercise helps strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the ankle and improves its mobility.

Toe flexibility, heel raises, one-legged balance, toe walking, and ankle rotation are simple but effective exercises that can be done at home, in the gym, or even during a break at the gym. job. Best of all , they do not require special equipment and can be adapted to different levels of fitness.

So don't underestimate the importance of strengthening your feet and ankles! Incorporate these exercises into your training routine and you will be on the right track to improve your sports performance and enjoy an active and healthy life. Start working on your feet and ankles today and experience the benefits to your overall well-being!

July 04, 2023 — Ruben Muñoz Hernandez