19 Feb How To Promote Ankle Strength!
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I have done Balanchine training for 6 years, and this is my first year doing Classical ballet training. What a difference it is! Something I noticed is that from my Balanchine training and rigorous pilates exercises every day, my ankles have gained enormous strength! The classical technique requires such strong ankles because it really focuses on the way we move through our pointe shoes, so I thought I would give some advice and exercises on gaining ankle strength!
First things first… Thera-Band is a must! I know you’ve probably heard it since you started pre-pointe, but it’s true. It really works every muscle in the foot. One of my teachers here showed me an exercise to do that helps stretch and strengthen the ankle and calf with only a Thera-Band and tennis ball. I made a video of the exercise and other Thera-Band exercises right here. Do this every day and notice the difference in the way your feet articulate! Comment on your results below.
Second, relevès are like medicine, sometimes it’s nasty, but it’s totally going to help. Another one of my teachers gives my whole class an exercise that is killer. We do it on flat and on pointe, but we have all noticed a difference in our strength. Something that’s nice about it is that it also strengthens the inner legs muscles which are imperative in ballet training. I made another video with this link, showing the flat version and pointe version. Another good exercise with relevès is doing them in parallel with a tennis ball in between your ankles. It promotes proper alignment of your feet and trains the correct muscles. I suggest 20-30 a day.
Lastly, jumps! I hope to touch more on jumps in later blog posts because they are my favorite part of doing ballet. It takes SO MUCH ankle strength to lift your entire body off the floor! I know it’s not all your ankles working, that wouldn’t be correct, but doing jumps in 1st position sideways to the mirror so you can see the way your feet lift off, could be extremely helpful in your training.
I hope this was helpful! Comment here or on my Instagram with your results of these exercises!