The Best Exercises to Prevent Knee and Ankle Injuries


Improving ankle and knee stability is important for all runners, but even more so if you're planning on going on a trail run, where the terrain is uneven. Do the moves below, courtesy of New York City running coach and instructor Jes Woods, two times a week. They'll increase your ankle and knee stability and make you more agile for your next off-road run.

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Start with a stair jump

Stand behind a tall stair or bench, feet shoulder-width apart ("A" in the image below). Squat, then jump up onto the stair (B). Step back down. Do 5 reps, then rest; repeat once. (Too challenging? Start with basic body-weight squats.)

Next, do a 3-D lunge

Stand with feet together. Lunge forward with right foot, arms down (A). Stand, lifting right knee and arms (B). Lunge to the right (C); return to "B." Your nonmoving foot can pivot slightly. Then rotate body to lunge diagonally to the right (D); return to "B." This is 1 rep. Do 5 reps, then repeat on opposite side.

Finally, do a line hop

Place a string or rope on the floor and stand to the right of it (A). Lift left foot and, keeping weight on right foot, hop across the string (B) and back. Repeat 10 times, then perform move on opposite side.

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