Volleyball players being side-lined because of an ankle injury is way to common. It is really hard to improve when your ass is glued to the bench because you are nursing a sprained ankle. The ankles get stressed with almost every movement in the game. They take a ton impact through jumping, landing, defensive movements, transition foot work etc.. It is a ticking time-bomb for when you are going to land on someones foot and suffer an ankle sprain or even a more serious injury.
Volleyball players are generally tall, skinny, and very explosive. However they have a fragile infrastructure that supports all these explosive movements which results in a high frequency of injuries. How do we reduce this problem?
Straight up… THE MUSCLES SURROUNDING YOUR ANKLE JOINTS NEED TO GET STRONGER!
So that means we have to do a bunch of calf raises… right? Calf raises do very little when it comes to strengthening the stability muscles of the ankle joint. You need to perform regular stability work for your ankles.
I am giving you two ankle strengthening exercises that if performed regularly will decrease the frequency of ankle injuries. Both of these exercises could be performed before practice or your workouts. They are wicked warm up exercises because they not only help strengthen your ankle joints but they also help activate your Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, and core stability muscles.
The first exercise is BOSU Ball Ankle Stability Holds
Perform BOSU Ball Ankle Stability Holds three days a week and focus on improving the length of time you able able to stand on the BOSU ball without touching your elevated foot to the ground. Once this exercise becomes easy, add a coach tossing you a ball. The coach will toss the ball outside of your body so that you need to reach for the ball while stabilizing on your one foot. Continue playing catch with the coach until you have to drop your elevated foot to the ground. Perform 2 to 3 sets per leg.
The second exercise is Single Leg Deadlifts with your foot elevated. This exercise is much more difficult then it looks.
This exercise is challenging to keep your foot elevated through the entire set. If you are new to the exercise perform 6 reps per leg. If you are able to perform 6 good quality reps without your foot touching the ground start increasing the number of reps that you perform. Each week add a couple extra reps per leg. Perform 3 total sets before your practice or workout.
Add one of these two exercises to the beginning of all your practices and workouts and the frequency of ankle injuries will go down!
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