When it comes to speed training, most people immediately think of the major lower-body muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings. And although those muscles are extremely important to developing speed and explosiveness, other important areas—such as the feet and ankles—often get lost in the fray. That's a problem, because your feet and ankles actually play a crucial role in your speed and overall athleticism.
Your feet strike the ground to propel you while you're running, and flexing your ankle to push off your toes is a major component of countless athletic movements. Having strong, flexible feet and ankles won't just make you faster and more explosive—it'll leave you less susceptible to speed-sucking injuries like sprained ankles.
Ankle Hops are a plyometric exercise that work on ankle and foot strength by forcing you to explosively jump via ankle flexion. Initially, it might feel awkward to jump while keeping your legs straight and your arms by your side, but stick with it for a few sets and you'll get the hang of it.
How to Perform Ankle Hops
- Set up 6-8 mini hurdles in a straight line, roughly a foot apart.
- Stand up tall and place your hands by your sides or behind your head.
- Keep your feet together and rise up on your toes while bending your knees as little as possible.
- Use your ankles to jump over each hurdle, keeping your heels off the ground.
- Spend as little time on the ground as possible.
- After the final hurdle, sprint for 5 yards.
Sets: 4 times through the line
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