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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Feet and Ankles Strengthening Techniques  

An excerpt from http://www.dance.net/read.html?postid=2211620&page=1

1.Pick up pens / other small objects with your toes. This works internally.
Or Roll a golf ball / similar sized ball along the floor using your foot. Also works on the muscles internally.

2.Do releves (raise on toes and release down) over and over. Try to keep a rhythm, EG: Do these for one fast song on both feet, and one slow song on both feet. Doing both quick and slow rises.
You can do these releves in first position (as show in the animation), second and fifth. Also do some slow releves in parallel first and second (parallel: where you dont turn your feet out)

Remember to keep your releves slow and controlled, being careful, and not rolling too far forward or backwards on your toes when you rise up. Your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet, the weight centered down the ball of each foot.


3.Spring from one foot to the other on the balls of your feet. This makes the ankle muscles stronger because they have to support your body weight.

4.Bounce up & down on one leg. Repeat on the other leg.

5.Motion your ankles making the letters of the alphabet (The best exercise as you can do it anywhere)

6.Point and flex your feet on repetition.
Start with your foot upright, then keeping your leg straight, push your toes (without scrunching them) down onto the floor. The aim is to get your toes to touch the floor with your foot fully pointed, or even better, to get the top of the ball of your foot to touch the floor. This really helps with your arches, and also allows you to practice pointing your foot to its fullest.
Big tip: To maximise this stretch, as with any stretch, when you have reached as far as you can pointe with your feet, hold it for about 30 seconds or however long in comfortable, wiggle your toes and bend your knees to relax your muscles, then start again. Start off with one foot at a time so you can fully concentrate on one foot, instead of trying to control and push both feet to the limit.


7. The hardest exercise:

In the animation below the exercise is done with just one foot. This is extremely difficult and should not be attempted until you can do it with both feet.

If your balance isnt 100% start with both feet on the edge of a step or a raised surface. You can hold onto something for support at first, but try to built up your balance and strength so you dont need the support for balance. Put the balls of your feet on the edge of the raised platform, then lower your heel as far down as it can go, then slowly rise up into demi pointe, pushing up as far as you can go, then lower back down, again controlling the speed at which you lower.

Big tip: Again, the slower the better. Once you are comfotable with doing this exercise with both feet on the step, try lifting one foot into passe, then try the exercise again, (as shown in the animation). At first you'll probably need a support to hold onto, but with time you should be able to do this exercise on one foot without the support.

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