How to use a theraband

Therabands, exercise bands, resistance bands. No matter what you call them, they are essential for building strength in any area of the body - feet, legs, arms, back, you name it! Therabands are as useful for building up foot and ankle strength for pointe work, as they are for simply warming up to maintain strong, healthy feet. In this post, we'll focus on how to use a Theraband for strengthening purposes. Here are step by step instructions for you! Remember to always check in with your dance teacher to make sure you are using proper form!



Pointe and Flex

The most classic of all resistance band exercises for feet, and very effective!      

  1. Start by wrapping the band around the ball of your foot, making sure it covers your toes, with a flexed foot. Hold the end of the band with both hands, adjusting the resistance as needed.
  2. Slowly articulate your foot so the ball of your foot is resisting the band, with toes still remaining up.
  3. WITHOUT CRUNCHING THE TOES, finish pointing your toes slowly against the resistance of the band. A good way to not crunch the toes is to think of keeping your toe joints completely straight, or imagine space between the joints and knuckles of your toes to really REACH away from yourself. (Doming is one of the best ways to strengthen tiny intrinsic muscles of the foot.)
  4. Now, reverse this whole sequence slowly until your foot is flexed again.
  5. "Rinse and repeat!" Start out with a set of 10, and repeat as needed.


Toe Curl

This exercise can also be done with a towel.

  1. Lay the band out on the floor as flat as you can.
  2. Use the curling motion of your toes to grasp and release the band and move it closer and closer to you. (For this exercise there is no resistance provided by your hands.)
  3. Repeat as much as needed. A good way to do this one is to start with your foot on one end of the band, and work your way across the whole thing. It may take a little bit of patience, but this will help to strengthen those intrinsic arch muscles.
  4. TIP: You can also repeatedly pick up small objects with your toes as a variation on this exercise. It's good for your strength and you might even make your friends and family laugh! 



Eversion ("Winging")

Along with inversion (below), these exercises help to maintain ankle stability and control, especially while en pointe.

  1. Wrap the band around your toes, on an angle so you are holding it towards the outside of your calf (see picture). Hold the end of the band with both hands, adjusting the resistance as needed.
  2. Keep your foot at the exact same level, and move the foot directly to the outside. So if you were working with your left foot, for example, you would move the foot to the left. Do not move your toes at all, focus on shifting the ankle.
  3. Return back to step 1, and repeat on both feet as needed. 1 or 2 sets of 10 is a good place to start.



Inversion ("Sickling")

Along with the above exercise, this also helps to maintain ankle stability and control. Although you would not even think to sickle your foot in ballet class!

  1. Start by wrapping the band on an angle around the outside of your foot, and hold it towards the inside of your calf (the opposite of the above exercise!)
  2. Now instead of winging your foot, do the opposite and sickle your foot. So if you used your left foot to do this, you would invert to the right.
  3. Return back to step 1, and repeat on both feet as needed. 1 or 2 sets of 10 is a good place to start.
  4. TIP: Combine eversion and inversion into one exercise! Note: this exercise is not used to encourage sickling, but to prevent it!


With all these exercises, the only way you will develop strong foot and ankle muscles is by doing these  SLOWLYwith lots of control. Don't worry if your feet shake at all, just try your best and the muscles will develop over time. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. If you do these exercises only one time a week, it will help, but more often is better. These exercises warm up the feet before class, but you could also do them after class.

How do you use your theraband?


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