"STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY"

"STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY"

Monday, 13 September 2010

Tennis Injury Pre/Rehabilitation - Ankle Mobility, Strength and Proprioception

Today I have chosen to post a program with focus on ankle pre and rehabilitation. I have personally experienced the importance of strong ankles from my experience as a football player, but also with the tennis and badminton players I work with. Twisted ankles are a common injury in any sport where sudden change of direction is crucial. If you have twisted your ankle once, I am sure you have noticed that it is easier to twist it again, again and again. However the chance of this reoccurring can be reduced if you go through a good rehabilitation protocol and make sure your muscles and ligaments around your ankles get stronger. Unfortunately there is no easy fix to this except taping your ankle so you can't move properly, but this should only be a short term solution as this will not make your ankles any stronger for the future. For this simple reason I advice athletes to strengthen their ankles to reduce the risk of losing valuable training time because of a “stupid” ankle sprain.

Here are some general guidelines you should read before you get started:
Type: Ankle exercise to improve mobility, strength and proprioception (balance)
Purpose: To improve ankle mobility, strength and proprioception
Suitable for: Any athletes wanting to reduce the risk of ankle sprain
Equipment needed: A foam roller, a step or some stairs, a chair, a resistance band and an exercise mat
Repetitions and sets:
3 sets per exercise
10- 15 repetitions per exercise
120-180 seconds recovery between sets


1. Foam rolling on your calves


· Start by sitting on the floor
· Place your calves on top of the foam roller, start just above your Achilles tendon
· Place your hands behind your back to hold yourself off the floor
· Roll your calves on the foam roller, start above your Achilles tendon (Picture 1) to the back of your knee (Picture 2)
· If you find a tender spot, apply a bit more pressure and roll back and forwards over the tight spot
· To increase the pressure further, cross one leg on top of the other so you only have one calf on the foam roller at the time
· Roll for 45 - 60 seconds on each calf

2. Calf raises


· Start by standing onto a step or onto some stairs
· Position yourself at the end of the step so your heels are hanging over the edge of the step (Picture 1)
· Grab hold of something firm next to you to keep the balance
· Use your toes to push yourself up so your heels lift above the step
· Lower yourself down so your heels are below the step, push yourself up and repeat (Picture 2)
· All the movement should be through your ankle joint

3. Ankle mobility against a wall
· Start by position yourself in front of a wall

· Place one foot in front of the other about 20 – 30 cm from the wall
· Place both hand onto the wall about chest height for support
· With the front leg, touch the knee against the wall by bending your knee
· Then straighten your leg back to the starting position
· Make sure your heel don’t lift off the floor throughout the movement- if you need to lift your heel off the floor place your foot slightly closer to the wall
· Your toes should point forward throughout the exercise
· Do 8-10 repetitions straight ahead, then 8-10 repetitions to each side (your foot should still face forwards, only the knee angle changes)


4. Balance on one leg
· Start by standing on the floor with your feet hip width apart (ideally this should be done in socks or barefoot)
· Place your hands on your waist for support
· Lift one leg of the floor so you are now standing on just one leg (Picture 1)· Have a slight bend in the knee on the leg you are standing on
· Hold your balance for 30-40 seconds
· When you are done with one leg, change over to the other leg and repeat
· To make this slightly harder, hold your arms to the side and move your head from side to side whilst holding your balance (Picture 2)· You can start closing your eyes when this exercise feels easy

5. Hop and hold
·
Position yourself somewhere you have enough floor space in front of you
· Imagine you have a square with 4 smaller squares in front of you (each square around ½ metre long)
· Lift one leg of the floor so you are now standing on one leg
· Have a slight bend in the knee on the leg you are standing on (Picture 1)
· Jump on one leg into the first square in front of you, you should bend in your knee to secure a smooth landing
· Hold this landing position for 2-3 seconds, then jump sideways into the square next to you
· You then jump backwards into the square behind you, then sideways into the square you started in
· Repeat 3 rounds with each leg (this is one set). Do this 3 sets
· Make sure you keep your chest out to avoid your upper body dropping too far forwards and try to make the landings as quiet as possible
· You can hold your hands in front of you to counterbalance


6. Ankle plantar flexion with resistance band
·
Start by sitting onto a chair with a resistance band in your hands
· Grab the resistance band with one end in each hand
· Place the resistance band around the balls of your right foot and pull the band in towards you to create tension (Picture 1)
· Start with your ankle to 90° (toes pointing towards the ceiling)
· Now push the toes down against the resistance band till your toes are pointing forwards (Picture 2)
Then lift your ankles up to the starting position
· Do 10-15 repetitions on one leg, then change leg and repeat

7. Ankle dorsi flexion with resistance band
·
Start by attaching the two ends of the resistance band around something firm around ankle height (a table etc)
· Start by sitting onto a chair with in front of where you attached the band
· Place one foot on the inside of the band so the band is tight over the front of your foot (Picture 1)
· Sit yourself back further to create more tension in the band if necessary
· Pull your foot back towards you against the resistance band by moving your ankle toward you to 90° (Picture 2)
· Then return to the starting position
· Do 10-15 repetitions on one leg, then change and repeat with the other leg


8. Ankle inversion with resistance band
· Start by sitting yourself onto a chair and hold the resistance band out to the side next to the leg you are working
· Place your foot inside the band so the band is around the inside of your foot (around mid foot)
· The leg you are working should be bent from the knee and the sole of your foot should face down prior to starting
· Turn your foot inwards by moving your ankle against the resistance band (try to only move the ankle) (Picture 1)
· Then return to the starting position
· Do 10-15 repetitions on one leg, then change and repeat on the other leg


9. Ankle eversion with resistance band
·
Start by sitting yourself onto a chair and hold the resistance band out to the side furthest away from the leg you are working
· Place your foot inside the band so the band is around the inside of your foot (around mid foot)
· Place your outside foot inside the band so the band is around the outside of your foot (around mid foot)
· The leg you are working should be bent from your knee and the sole of your foot should face down prior to starting
·Turn your foot outwards by moving your ankle against the resistance band (this is only a small movement) (Picture 1)
· Then return to the starting position
· Do 10-15 repetitions on one leg, then change and repeat on the other leg

This is simple exercises you can do without needing much equipment or time. You can do it in front of the TV, whilst cooking your tea or whenever it suits you best. Either way you choose to do it, I am sure your ankles will get stronger!

Good luck!
Monica

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