Ankle Strengthening

Hello!

I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago. The injury brought to light the importance of ankle strength when it comes to Spartan Races. During the typical Spartan Race, the uneven terrain and running pace put quite a toll on my ankles. In addition, the intense training adds to the wear and tear. Since my injury, I have incorporated ankle strengthening routines into my training. The routine has made my ankles stronger than ever before.

Routine

Two times a week I go through a balance training routine. The balance training, strengthens my ankles and also improves my proprioception. The proprioception improvement assists when running on uneven terrain. Below is the balance routine:

  1. Using a Bosu Ball, I stand on the board side with both feet. I make circles with the ball ten times both clockwise and counterclockwise.
  2. Using a Bosu Ball, I stand on the board side with one feet. I keep my balance for one minute, 3 times on each foot. To further enhance the exercise I close my eyes.
  3. Between the single foot balance exercise I perform 20 calf raisers and 20 dorsiflexions of the foot.

It may seem like a short routine, but it does wonders for my ankles.

Running

A major component that can assist with strengthening your ankles while running are the shoes you wear. In a previous post, here, I reviewed the New Balance Minimus, which can greatly strengthen ankles. Specifically it is the vibram technology that contributes to this. Shoes with the vibram technology and a minimal structure put more stress on the surrounding structures of the feet. There is not as much support compared to a regular running shoe. For example, I used the Nike Free RN Distance for a few months straight and then used a more minimal shoe. The following day my feet and lower legs were much more sore.

I would recommend using a minimal shoe a couple times a week for less intense runs. You can build up to using them in more intense runs, but definitely take it slow.

Final Thoughts!

Overall I did not make many changes in my workout routine, but they have made a major difference. I hope the balance routine and the shoe recommendation helps with your performance!!

Mitch

*This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.


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Large 70 Pound Sandbag DIY

Hello!

It seems that Spartan Race is making the larger sandbag, as shown above, a staple in most races.  Like I did in my previous sandbag DIY post, here, I wanted to recreate the bag as much as possible. I ended up with a 70 lbs sandbag that resembles a similar shape as the one used in the Spartan Races.

Materials

I went to my local Home Depot to pick up some of my materials for this project. The total cost only came to about $30!!! And that includes another sandbag I made, that is 55 lbs.   However, I did use the garbage bags, zip ties and gorilla tape I had left over from the previous sandbag and bucket project. So, excluding the cost of those materials it came to about $15!!! Here are the materials I used:

The Process

Compared to the previous sandbag I made, I was unable to just fit 70 lbs of sand into the woven sandbag. So, I essentially combined two to create a lengthier sandbag that could hold more sand. Here are the steps:

Step 1

First put one of the woven sandbags into the other. Next, put a garbage bag in the double woven sandbag. Following, put another garbage inside the other garbage bag. Repeat this process one time to have two separate sandbags, as shown here.

Step 2

Using the bucket and scale weigh the desired amount of sand you want in each bag. However make sure to weigh the bucket before hand and account for it when weighing the sand. The bucket used this time was 1 lb. For each sandbag I wanted 35 lbs to come to the total of 70 lbs. Since I used a smaller bucket I had to fill the bucket a couple of times.

Step 3

Once you weigh the sand and account for the weight of the bucket, dump it into the sandbag.

Step 4

Next twist the inner most garbage and make sure get as much air out. Then duct tape the top and middle of the twist. Cut off any excess bag. In the photo I put a zip tie on the bottom, but I would not recommend this because it may cut the garbage bag open.

Step 5

This is where it gets different. With the sandbags laid on its side put one sandbag in the other. Try to push it in as much as possible. Following, twist one sandbag once, to form a twist on the sandbag that is wrapped around the other. I did this because it seemed to stable the sandbag .

Step 6

Duct tape the sandbags together. Make sure to seal the sand bag all the way around.

Step 7

With one of the empty woven sandbags, slit the sides so that it can fold open.

Step 8

Using the opened woven sandbag, roll it onto the middle of the filled sandbags. I did this to provide some more support to the middle of the sandbag and where the attachment was created. Next, tape down the ends of the opened sandbag.

 Step 9

Zip tie all the corners of the constructed sandbag. Following, duct tape over the zip ties. I was unable to do this with my previous sandbags and the new 55 lbs one I made because there is too much sand in them. So there is not enough excess bag to zip tie.

Step 10

It may be a little over excessive, but duct tape the whole sandbag. The gorilla tape adds a great protective barrier. My other sandbags have had no issues so far. Plus it makes it look pretty cool!

Final Thoughts

So, there is the new and larger sandbag. For the 55 lbs sandbag you can find instructs on my previous post here. It came to 55 lbs because that was the extra sand I had left over from my 70 pounder. I think 35 lbs worked great because it left room for the two sandbags to be combined. Any more sand could hinder the ability of them to be combined.

I have used the 70 pounder already and it has worked great. It folds in the middle, but that is easy on my neck when I have it on both my shoulders. Also, I included a photo of my dog, Dwayne, next to the sandbags. He is about 40 lbs to possibly give you a better comparison haha!! I hope you find these instructions helpful!!

Mitch

*This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.

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