|A Pointe in the Right Direction Designed by Meshea Cook|
...how can I strengthen my ankles for pointe work? Are there any exercises I can do at home?
Answer: There sure are! And you don't even have to do them in your pointe shoes.
(And by the way, I caution all new pointe students when they are wearing their shoes at home. Be very, very careful! Until you know the proper way to rise up and come back down from pointe, don't! Get a few lessons under your belt first and then do a few eleves and releves at home, but nothing more or you run the risk of injury.
Okay, rant over.)
1. In bare feet or socks, stand in parallel at a barre, chair or counter and rise up and down (eleve) on both feet 16 times. Be sure to keep your toes flat on the floor and don't knuckle them.
2. Repeat the above on one leg, keeping the other leg in parallel coupe and not allowing the knee to swing in and turn in. 16x, repeat both sides.
3. Do both 1&2 in parallel with releve (demi-plie and press straight up, then lower back down to bent knees.) Again, 16x.
4. Do 1, 2, & 3 all turned out in 1st position.
5. Add a Theraband to your ankles, tying it loosely above the ankle bone, rise up on both legs in parallel and then while en releve, stretch one leg out against the band and back in (sort of like a parallel degage). Do this 16 times on each side. Repeat it in a turned out first position. If your calves hurt, you can do these flat.
6. Sitting on the floor, stretch your legs in parallel in front of you, wrap a towel or Theraband around the sole of your foot and lift it slightly off the ground. Point and flex your foot against the towel/band, increasing the resistance as you feel necessary. Try to keep your back straight so you also work your core. Repeat 16x with both feet.
These are some basic exercises you can do without your shoes. Once you feel more confident, you can repeat 1-4 with your pointe shoes on.