Ankle stability is vitally important for doing everyday functions yet very few people actually train their ankles to reduce the risk of injuries. The Bosu Balance Trainer can be a valuable tool because its unstable surface forces your ankles to work the whole time you are standing on it. There are specific exercises you can perform on the Bosu ball to target your ankles.
Lunge with Forward Reach
Lunging on the Bosu Balance Trainer helps increase your ankle’s ability to dorsiflex or raise your toes up, because as you step on the side of the dome, your heel naturally sinks in and lifts your toes. This is a fairly easy exercise because it does not require you to balance on the Bosu ball. Stand behind the Bosu ball and place one foot on the dome so that you are in a split stance. Slowly bend your front knee to lunge down, pressing your heel into the dome and reaching your opposite arm forward as you lunge. Slowly extend your knee to return to the starting position and bring your arms back to your sides. Repeat 8 to ten times on both legs.
Standing Calf Raise
A standing calf raise on a Bosu Balance Trainer is an effective intermediate exercise that trains your ankles as well as your calves. Stand with both feet on the dome of the Bosu ball, approximately shoulder width apart. Slowly press your toes down and raise your heels until you feel tightness in your calves. Pause slightly and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. To make this move easier, hold on to a wall for balance. To make the exercise more challenging, lower your heels but do not let them touch the dome between repetitions.
Side Step with Opposite Reach
The side step with opposite reach can help train your ankles so that you don’t overpronate or roll your foot inward. Stand on top of the Balance ball dome and slowly lift your right foot slightly off the dome so you are balancing on your left foot. Squat down and reach your right leg out to the side of the Bosu ball and tap your foot on the ground. Simultaneously rotate your upper body to the left and reach your right hand toward the left and across your body. Push down with your left big toe as you squat to activate the arch of your foot. Slowly return to the starting position. Perform eight to ten repetitions on both legs.
Step Up and Over
This exercise is an advanced move that requires you to balance on the dome of the Bosu Balance Trainer. Stand on the dome of the Bosu ball and lift your right foot up slightly so you are balancing on your left foot. Press your left toe into the Bosu ball dome to keep your ankle flexed throughout the entire exercise. Extend your right foot back into a rear lunge, with your right foot on the ground and your left foot on the dome. Rotate your upper body to the left and reach your right hand toward the left and across your body as you lunge back. Pause slightly and bring your arm back to your side. Inhale and push off your right leg, so that your right foot goes right over the dome and lands in front of the Bosu ball in a forward lunge position. This time, rotate your upper body to the right and reach your left hand toward the right and across your body as you lunge forward. Continue lunging back and forth for eight to ten repetitions per leg.
Andrea Chrysanthou began writing professionally in 1993. Her work has been published internationally by "The Cyprus Mail," MochaSofa and My Favorite Trainer, among other magazines and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in journalism from Ryerson University. Chrysanthou is a certified fitness instructor and personal-training specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the fitness industry.