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How can I strengthen my ankles for snow skiing?

Karen L. Gorton, PhD, MS, RN
Emergency Room Nursing

When you are snow skiing, your ankles are in a rigid boot that will provide support. Strengthening of the core (back and abdomen) and your legs will be beneficial for skiing. 

Things to work on when you are in a safe environment are:

  • Balance - work on standing on one foot at a time while not looking at your feet. Have something to hang onto in case you start to tip or fall.
  • As you progress with your balance, work on standing on one foot with your eyes closed. Be sure to have something to hang onto in case of tipping or falling. You do not want to injure yourself. 
  • Leg strength - work with increasing your quadriceps and hamstring strength.
  • Cardiovascular - you will need to increase your ability to exercise for longer periods of time, so starting out with some light treadmill activity can be helpful
  • Core - check with a certified fitness expert for appropriate exercises for you and your back. 

Prior to starting any exercise/training program, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider and seek out your resources. 

To improve ankle strength and prevent injury, it is important to improve proprioception, or the feed back you get, from the ankle joint and train with strength and stabilization exercises paired together in a superset. When doing this type of strength training, use the following acute variables: 2-4 supersets of 8-12 repetitions at a medium tempo for the strength exercise and a slow tempo for the stabilization exercise. Use light weights and only rest for 30 seconds between supersets. An example workout to strengthen ankles consists of calf raises on a machine supersetted with single-leg squats and seated calf raises supersetted with single-leg step-ups to balance. You can make the strength exercises more difficult by adding more weight, or increasing the load. You can make the stabilization exercises more difficult by standing on a half foam roll, using an airex pad, or standing on a dyna disc. By doing these exercises you can improve ankle joint stability and increase the muscle, tendon, and ligament strength of the ankle joint.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.