Side Step Farmers Walk

Key notes

  • Type of Exercise: Balance and co-ordination
  • Muscles Used: Focuses on ankle stability
  • Good for: Rehabilitating lateral ankle sprains and building confidence to move
  • When to use during rehab: Middle stages

Equipment options

If you’re doing this exercise in clinic you’ll need a couple of weights (either dumbells or plates would be best). If the patient is doing this at home they can put a moderately heavy backpack on instead.


  1. Start by having your patient hold two heavy weights (one in each hand).
  2. Next, have them go up onto their tiptoes and take a step to the side with one of their legs.
  3. Have them bring the other leg across and continue this movement so that they are side-stepping across the length of the room.
  4. Once they’ve done this, have them do the same movements again, only this time going in the opposite direction.
  5. This exercise will encourage ankle stability and motor control around the ankle and is particularly useful to patients who have suffered lateral ankle sprains.
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