Just out today is a great article on Livestrong for which I was the expert: 12 Easy Anytime Moves to Strengthen the Feet and Ankles. I'm especially proud of the pillow walking. I was asked to modify my rock walking recommendation so that people could do the entire program at home. THE PILLOW WALKING IS COOL, RIGHT? TELL ME THAT IT'S NOT LAME!
The article is very user-friendly and full of stuff to do but I'd like to make a few adjustments (to stuff that is out of my hands in the post-writing editorial process, as all I get to do is create the moves).
During the gastroc calf stretch, the front knee should not be bent. Both legs should be straight like this:
It's ok if the front knee bends a little with the back knee (see the soleus stretch in the article) but to a lesser degree than what is pictured.
The “Wheelies” are not an exercise created by me; I forwarded the writer a the link to Yoga Tune Up®'s Jill Miller’s video demo. I'd like to give Jill a shout out here! You should do some Wheelies right now, in your living room.
Here's a general tutorial on "standing on a single leg" exercises for both the article as well as anything else you do one-legged:
When I recommend standing on one foot for the purpose of ankle strengthening, it is standing on one leg with two fully extended knees that I am recommending. You can do the one in this article (with the front knee bent) as long as you are actually listing with the standing leg. But it is even more effective if you keep both legs straight. WHY IT MATTERS (aka Isn't All Single-Leg Standing the Same? No.) has to do with a complex action of the hip muscles through which the hinge action of the ankle complex in maintained.
We love to bend our knees and flex our hip when we stand on one leg because bending our knees and flexing the hip (as found in sitting) is the most-frequent position we put ourselves in. We keep defaulting back what is comfortable (knee flexion/hip flexion) when we do everything (like walk, exercise, stand on one leg...). It is the sitting and the chronic knee-hip flexion that comes with that tends to lead us to weak lateral hips in the first place -- a weakness that knocks the ankle (and knee) off its axis in three different planes.
Play with standing on one leg with and without bending your knee to get one foot up. Now apply the straight-leg single leg balance to the exercises in the article. Double the fun.
So, anyway, I just wanted to share a cool article with you. And P.S. I hope you enjoyed the 5 takes of the listing video. I think it's HILARIOUS when you guys comment that you're shocked at my kids being stressed or me being frazzled. Please do not confuse my love for geometry with a love for perfection. Those are two entirely different things. We live in well-aligned, well-loved, joyful disarray here most of the time. You and I are entirely the same, which is the symmetry I'm most appreciative of.