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What are some tips for strengthening your ankles for ballet?
The great news about strengthening your ankles is that with a little dedication, you can see improvement. As a dancer, you know the importance of having strong ankles for stability and control in your movements. If you’re looking to improve your ankle strength, here are 11 simple tips you can do to get started.
Updated: February 2023
Tips For Strengthening Your Ankles For Dance
- Use a Thera-band: Thera-bands are an effective tool for strengthening your ankles. You can purchase one online or at a medical supply store. Wrap the band around your foot and perform various ankle exercises to target different muscle groups.
- Try Releves: Releves are an excellent exercise for strengthening the muscles surrounding the ankle. Try doing releves in first, second, and fifth positions or on one foot while holding the other leg in passé.
- Simple Eleves: Rising up to the balls of your feet without plie is a simple exercise that’s great for strengthening your ankles. Start with a straight leg and gradually build up your stamina.
- Incorporate Petite Allegro: Petite allegro is a series of small, quick jumps that can effectively strengthen your feet and ankles. Try incorporating changements, jetes, and assembles into your practice.
- Point and Flex: Pointing and flexing your feet repeatedly (aim for at least 50 repetitions) can target the muscles in your feet and ankles, helping to strengthen them over time. You can also try spelling out the alphabet with your foot to add variety to your ankle-strengthening routine.
- Spell Out the Alphabet with your foot.
- Gradual progression: It’s important to progress slowly and not overdo it when strengthening your ankles. Start with a few repetitions and gradually increase the number as your strength improves.
- Cross-training: Including exercises from other forms of physical activity, such as yoga or Pilates, can help improve ankle stability and reduce the risk of injury.
- Balance training: Improving your balance can also help strengthen your ankles. Try incorporating single-leg exercises or balance board exercises into your routine.
- Proper footwear: Make sure you are wearing properly fitting shoes that provide adequate support for your ankles. Wearing too big or too small shoes can put extra stress on your ankles and increase the risk of injury.
- Rest and recovery: Remember to rest and give your ankles time to recover. Avoid overtraining, and take time off if you feel pain or discomfort.
Check out these additional strengthening and stretching ideas from Pointe Magazine.
To avoid overexertion, keep in mind to stretch before you begin and pay attention to your body. You’ll rapidly see improvements in your ankle stability and strength with regular practice. By adding these suggestions to your training, you may work toward stronger, more stable ankles and lower your chance of injury in class and during performances. Most importantly, be sure to ask your dance teacher for recommendations for what they think will work best for you.