10 Best Ankle Resistance Band Exercises

Like the wrists, your ankles make a lot of delicate movements. Unlike the wrists, however, the ankles do that while bearing all the weight of your body. As such, they’re highly prone to injuries such as spraining or even breaking.

On your way to recovery, you can attain the flexibility and strength of the ankles faster with resistance band exercises. Among the very best include ankle alphabet, feet crunches, band stretch, standing band stretch, heel raise with band, elastic band push, elastic band pull, ankle out, ankle in, and ankle rotations.

Before undertaking any of these exercises, ensure your doctor has approved of them. This is because if they’re done too early on in your recovery process, you’ll damage the ankle rather than help it heal.

After the doctor’s clearance to work out the ankles either with or without resistance bands, you can try out the following exercises. Again, practice care and stop as soon as you feel any major discomfort.

1. Ankle Alphabet

The ankle alphabet exercise is focused on increasing your ankle’s range of motion. As it’s name states, it’s basically drawing the letters of the alphabet with your foot. It’s chosen because the toes would have to go into all the possible directions to trace the letters.

To make it even better, you can attach a resistance band on the foot such that it takes a little more effort for the toe to move and draw the letters of the alphabet.

It’s done as follows:

  • Sit upright with your exercise ankle propped up such that the foot is parallel to the ground.
  • Loop the band under this foot and maintain some tension in it throughout the exercise.
  • Trace all the letters of the alphabet from A to Z with the big toe while maintaining the tension in the band.

You should repeat this exercise up to 3 times for the best results.

2. Feet Crunches

Standard crunches are used to build and strengthen the core. In a similar manner, feet crunches are used to build and strengthen the ankle muscles. Typically, this exercise is performed using a towel or other soft item. However, we’ll use a resistance band for our case to attain the same or even better results.

The steps are as follows:

  • Sit upright in your chair with your feet forming 90 degrees at the knees.
  • Loop the resistance band around your toes or at least the upper section of the foot then maintain some tension in the band.
  • While pulling against the band and maintaining the position of the rest of the foot, crunch up your toes and hold for 5 seconds before releasing and repeating the same.

Do this for up to 10 times.

3. Band Stretch

This exercise is best suited to the early stages of recovery in which your ankles aren’t strong enough to take on more difficult exercises yet. This is because it exerts very minimal pressure on the ankle as the band is looped right in the ankle. The aim is to strengthen and stretch the Achilles’ tendon of your foot.

It’s done as follows:

  • Sit on the floor with the leg to be exercised stretched forward and the toes pointing straight upwards.
  • Wrap a band around the ball of your foot and hold the band’s ends in line with the leg.
  • Pull on the band hard or until you feel the tension in the ankle then count to 30 seconds before releasing.

You don’t need to move the foot in this case as the pressure exerted by the band is enough to train the ankle into supporting your weight. Repeat the exercise 3 to 5 times.

4. Standing Calf Stretch

The standing calf stretch exercise is almost similar to the band stretch described above save for the position of working the ankle. This exercise is more advanced compared to the one above as it entails combining the weight of the body and the tension of the band to find a perfect balance for the ankle. It’s done as follows:

  • Stand while facing either a window or other place to hold unto. This is for safety purposes to restrain the weight exerted on the ankle.
  • Step back with the injured ankle such that the good foot is in front of the injured one.
  • Loop one end of the band under the ball of your injured foot then the other end above the knee of the good foot.
  • Slowly start bending the knee of the foot in front while keeping the back foot firmly rooted to the ground. This way, the ankle will be stretched as you move forward. The band helps in compressing the ankle as it’s stretched. When you reach the limit of bending one knee, hold for 30 seconds then return to the starting point and do it again.

Ideally, you should do the exercise 10 times for each rep.

5. Heel Raise with Band

When in a standing position, raising your body upwards is the work of the ankles and associated muscles and tendons. For an injured foot, doing ankle raises restores the strength of the Achilles’ tendon and the ankle muscles. Adding a band makes it harder to raise your body upwards hence a great exercise for the ankle.

The procedure is as follows:

  • Stand upright preferably close to a wall or their support area without necessarily touching it. Your feet should be hip width apart for this exercise.
  • Loop a band below both feet at the front parts and hold the ends in both hands while maintaining some tension in the band.
  • Slowly raise your heels (and your body) up while supporting your body on your front feet alone.

Perform 10 to 15 heel raises before breaking a doing another set. When your ankles are heeled enough, you can try supporting your body on one foot alone.

6. Elastic Band Push

The elastic band push is an ankle-strengthening exercise meant to prepare the ankles for bearing the weight of the body or for exercise. It’s a simple workout done with a resistance band when seated as follows:

  • Sit on the floor then stretch the leg to be exercised forward. Support it so that the heel is a little off the ground.
  • Wrap a band around the toe area of the foot then hold the ends in both of your hands. Ensure there’s some tension in the band at the starting position of exercise.
  • Push the toe forwards and hold for 10 seconds then return it to facing directly upwards.

Repeat the exercise 10 times for the best benefits.

7. Elastic Band Pull

Like the elastic band push above, this exercise will make your ankle stronger while also increasing your range of motion. The difference is that the foot in this exercise is pulled towards you rather than away from you as in the above exercise.

It’s done with the following steps:

  • Sit with your exercise leg stretched out before you. You’ll need to add a support between the foot and the knee to gain some elevation off the ground.
  • Anchor the band at a point away from you but directly in front of the foot. Loop the other end of the band around your front foot.
  • Without moving the rest of the foot, move the toes towards you as much as possible, hold for 10 seconds then restore it to the upright position.

Perform the exercise 10 times.

8. Ankle In

A lot of the exercises on this list have been about moving the angle mainly to gain strength and mobility. For the ankle in exercise, you’ll be moving the whole foot while exerting the pressure on the ankle as explained in the states below:

  • Anchor the band at the ankle level then tie the other end on your front foot. Ensure the band is on the outside of that foot.
  • Slowly move the whole leg away from the anchor but inwards of your body. The aim is for the ankle to resist the outward pull of the resistance band and gain strength on the inside.

Perform 15 reps for this workout then move on to the next exercise below.

9. Ankle Out

While the ankle in exercise entailed moving the foot towards the other foot, this one entails moving it away from the center of your body and the anchor. The rest of the exercise remains the same.

  • Anchor the band at the ankle level then the other end on the front part of your foot. You may be seated or standing up straight.
  • Move the foot away from the center of the body and away from the anchor point. The leg should move as much as possible then returned to the starting point.

Perform 15 reps of this exercise as well.

10. Ankle Rotations

Ankle rotations are all-round exercises that focus on gaining mobility for the whole ankle. As such, you take the ankle through various angles. The addition of a resistance band makes the task tougher leading to better results.

The steps are as follows:

  • Sit on the floor with your leg supported to remove the heel from the ground.
  • Loop the band on the front foot then hold the ends in your hands.
  • Move the toes through a full circle clockwise then anti-clockwise.
  • Anchor the band at the ankle level then hook the other end around your toes.
  • Move the toes through a full circle clockwise then anti-clockwise.

Repeat 10 times when the band is in your hands and when it’s anchored away.


Best Resistance Bands for Ankle Exercises

Some of the best resistance bands for ankle workouts include:

1. Tribe Resistance Bands Set

2. REEHUT Single Resistance Band

3. Lim Resistance Bands Exercise Loops

4. FOMI 7 Ring Stretch and Resistance Exercise Band

5. Koncle 11 pcs Resistance Band Set

As your ankle heels, you can increase the resistance with most of these bands to attain better results.

Further Reading