Your ankles need some love before your workout just like other muscles in your body. Dynamic stretching is stretching through movement, which is ideal to use as part of your workout warm-up. It's different from static stretching, where you hold the stretch position without moving for 20 to 30 seconds. Dynamic stretching gets your muscles warm and ready to work out. Getting your ankles limber can help reduce the chance of injury as you exercise.
Unlike some other joints such as your knees, your ankles move in a full range of motion, not just forward and backward. This means you should warm up all sides of your ankles with dynamic stretching. Lifting one leg at a time, rotate your feet in as wide of a circle as you can to engage the entire ankle area. Go one direction for 30 seconds, then reverse the direction for 30 seconds more.
Pointing Your Toes
Flash back to your ballet class as a kid, when you were warming up your feet for dancing. Sit down with your legs straight in front of you and point your toes, then flex your feet so your toes point back toward your body. Do this for one minute. You can also do this move standing up, warming up one ankle at a time.
Bouncing on your toes adds an element of resistance -- your body weight -- to the dynamic stretch. Hold onto something to help you balance, such as a wall or a sturdy chair, then lift up on your toes and bounce your heels down toward the floor without touching the floor. If you want to concentrate the movement, lift one foot off the floor and bounce on one foot at a time. Do at least 20 bounces on each foot.
Get deep into that Achilles tendon area by doing heel lifts off a step. Let your heels hang down off the back of a step, then lift up onto your heels. When you lower back down, you'll feel the stretch through your calf, ankle and the bottom of your foot. You can do these lifts standing on both feet or on one foot at a time. Shoot for 15 to 20 repetitions.