Drills to Develop Ankle Stability

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Game-changing quicks result from solid, stable ankles.

"Developing ankle stability is of great importance for improving balance, speed, agility, quickness and change of direction," says Sean Cochran, former strength and conditioning coach for the San Diego Padres and current strength coach to Phil Mickelson. "Ankle stability is a basic need for all athletes, because it's the first joint used in the body's balance system and begins the process of every major movement."

Cochran recommends a 3-step progression to produce ankle stability:
1) Start by completing a set of a single-leg drills;
2) Repeat the same single-leg drill standing on an unstable surface like a Bosu, balance board, dyna disc or half foam roller;
3) Progress to more aggressive movements like hopping from foot to foot.

Try the following drills to develop necessary ankle strength and stability.

Stability Clock Reach: Level 1

• Place cones at 9, 12 and 3 o'clock
• Stand on left leg
• Bend at ankle and knee to touch cone at 9 o'clock with right hand
• Return to starting position and repeat movement for 12 and 3 o'clock
• Repeat sequence 10-15 times on left leg
• Repeat entire sequence standing on right leg and touching cones with left hand
• Repeat sequence 10-15 times on right leg

Stability Clock Reach: Level 2

• Same as Level 1 but perform while standing on unstable surface
• Perform 2 sets of 10-15 reps for each leg

Lateral Hop and Hold: Level 3

• Stand on left leg
• Hop to right as high and far as possible
• Land on right leg and hold position 3-5 seconds
• Hop to left as high and far as possible
• Land on left leg and hold position 3-5 seconds
• Perform 2 sets of 10-15 hops in each direction


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: STRENGTH TRAINING | STABILITY AND BALANCE | COACH | STRENGTH COACH | DRILL | STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING | FOAM ROLLER | CONES | BALANCE BOARD