How to strengthen ankles for ice skating is a concern many skaters have, especially beginners with weak ankles.
Strong ankle muscles are a necessity for professional and amateur skaters. You need them for smooth push and glide motions, performing ice skating tricks like jumps and spins, and enjoying every ice skating session.
However, the problem is, you can’t get through this with weak ankle muscles. But, if you’re wondering how to strengthen your muscles, below is a quick rundown of what to do.
- Skate More to Strengthen Ankle Muscles
- Stretch Ankles and Toe Muscles
- Walk on Heels and Toes
- Proper dieting to Build Healthy Ankle Muscles and Bones
- Practice the Correct Ice Skating Posture
- Draw the Alphabet Exercises
- Standing on one Foot
- Ankle Rolling
- Ankle Squat
- Do the Scooting Exercise
- See a Doctor if Problem Persists
This is only the scratch on the surface. I cover more details in the rest of this blog, so it would be best if you read to the end. So, without much ado, let’s get to it!
How to Strengthen Ankles for Ice Skating
Below are the 11 sure-fire ways to strengthen your ankles for ice skating.
1. Skate More to Strengthen Ankle Muscles
Often, weak ankles are associated with weak ankle muscles, which need strengthening for ice skating activities.
This is especially true for newbies and some intermediate skaters. You, therefore, need to work these muscles by practicing more often to strengthen them.
Ice skating shoes are not like your ordinary street shoes. So, it’ll take time before your feet are used to them.
During this time, your feet will pronate or supinate, affecting your proper use of techniques. However, you don’t need to stress over it because more hours of practice is all you need.
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2. Stretch Ankles and Toe Muscles
Calf muscles are the primary muscles around the ankles and toe area. The muscles are responsible for all the activities happening around the heels, ankles, and footballs.
Therefore, it would be best to stretch these muscles before and after ice skating to help strengthen them and prevent muscle soreness.
One excellent way to stretch the toe muscles is to do the cobra stretch. This stretching technique requires you to lie on your belly with your legs stretching out.
Then, lift your upper body while using your arms as a support to suspend your body in the air.
During this time, your feet are extended out while pressed to the floor to provide additional anchor support.
The Cobra stretch helps to stretch and strengthen the ankles and toe muscles. Below is a short video clip to get you started.
3. Walk on Heels and Toes
Walking on your heels and toes is a great exercise to strengthen your ankles because it works on the ankle muscles and ligaments.
Stand on a flat surface with feet slightly apart like you’d do when walking.
The first round of the exercise can start with walking on your heels then switch to walking on your toes.
First, lift your footballs off the ground to stand on your heels, then walk a few steps for at least 30 seconds. You can prolong it to a minute when you’re more comfortable.
Switch over to walking on your toes by gently raising your heels off the ground. Walk a few steps for at least 30 seconds or more.
Repeat these exercises several times a week to achieve a high degree of ankle strength and health for ice skating.
4. Proper dieting to Build Healthy Ankle Muscles and Bones
Proper dieting goes a long way to help build healthy ankle muscles and bones. You, therefore, want to watch out what you eat when you’re a professional or amateur ice skater.
The proper diet for healthy muscles and bones is balanced and rich in vitamins and minerals.
You should eat the right amount of proteins, carbs, plant-based fats, vegetables, and fruits.
In particular, proteins help build stronger and healthier ankle muscles, while minerals like calcium, iron, and phosphorus help build stronger ankle bones.
5. Practice the Correct Ice Skating Posture
What is the correct ice skating posture, you ask? The correct posture involves staying low and properly bending your knees above the toes.
In addition, your shoulders should be over your hips. If you want, you can either swing your hands while skating or place them on your back.
This posture is crucial to building and maintaining strong ankle muscles because it helps transfer your body weight to the toe ball.
However, in retrospect, only a little weight is exerted on the ankle joint and muscles because too much of it makes the ankles sore and weak.
6. Draw the Alphabet Exercises
Drawing the alphabet exercise is a critical exercise for strengthening ankle muscles and joints.
To do this exercise, you’ll need a workout mat. First, spread the workout mat on a flat surface, then sit on it while your legs are parallel to the ground.
Drawing the alphabet involves using your toes and footballs to draw letters of the alphabet in the air.
You can start by drawing small letters from a-z, then switch to drawing the capital letters of the alphabet from A-Z. Do this 5-10 times to strengthen the ankle muscles.
7. Standing on one Foot
Standing on one foot is another remarkable way to strengthen your ankle and foot muscles.
This exercise helps by exerting just enough weight and pressure on your ankles, strengthening the muscle and d bones.
There are two ways to do the standing on one-foot exercise. First, you can work out on a flat surface by lifting one foot and staying in that position for a minute or so.
The second method is to use a Bosu ball. Stand with one foot on the ground while the other is on the Bosu ball.
Do this for 2-3 minutes, alternating both feet a few times a week. However, if you have the time, there’s no harm in doing it every day.
8. Ankle Rolling
Ankle rolling exercises help strengthen ankle muscles, preparing your feet and ankles for the next ice skating session. Lie down or sit on a workout mat with your legs stretching out.
Choose one direction, either clockwise or anticlockwise, to rotate your feet at the ankle joints.
Do this for a minute or two while switching to the other direction, depending on the one you took first.
9. Ankle Squat
Ankle squats are similar to normal squatting exercises. There are two ways to improve your ankle muscle strength by doing ankle squats.
One, you can do the exercise with your feet flat on the ground.
Alternatively, you can do the squats with raised heels while standing on your footballs. Do the ankle squat regularly for between five and ten minutes, depending on how comfortable you are.
10. Do the Scooting Exercise
The scooting exercise is similar to using a scooter. However, instead of a real scooter, you should have your ice skating shoes on.
Next, you want to push and glide with the other foot while holding the push for a few seconds. Then, repeat his exercise for both feet while the leading foot is in a straight line.
11. See a Doctor if Problem Persists
Lastly, seeing the doctor is the best option, especially when you’ve tried all the recommended ways to strengthen your ankle muscles.
Probably, you have a health condition affecting your ankle bones, ligaments, and joints.
The only way to confirm this is by visiting a physiotherapist for further diagnosis. The good news is, today, you can find many of them online through a quick google search using phrases like physiotherapist near me.
Wrapping Up | How to Strengthen Ankles for Ice Skating
Strengthening your ankle muscles shouldn’t be a brainer. If you stick to the recommendations in this guide, you’ll impressively improve your ankle strength and enjoy ice skating every time.
I hope you found this guide helpful. Keep practicing, and weak muscles will be a thing of the past.