Should I Use Ankle Weights During Workouts

Should I Use Ankle Weights During Workouts

If you want to up the ante on your strength training routine, then adding ankle weights may be worth a try. These are weights you wrap around your ankles and use while you do body weight training, walking or jogging. Be careful when using ankle weights though since overuse or the incorrect use could lead to injury.

Benefits of Ankle Weights

Whether you are just walking with ankle weights or using them in your strength training workouts, ankle weights offer quite a few benefits.

1. It helps you walk correctly.

Using ankle weights has been found to improve the way a person walks. Studies have found that repeated long-term use of ankle weights (1-2% of a person’s body weight) resulted in improved step length, cadence, walking velocity and stride, and lessened the riss of injury.

2. It reduces body fat.

Incorporating ankle weights to your exercise routine may increase muscle mass and reduce body fat just like any resistance training. One study found that wearing ankle weights for 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week resulted in decreased waist circumference, lower body fat percentage, and higher skeletal muscle percentage.

3. It improves knee joint positioning.

Joint positioning is the ability to perceive predetermined joint positions. This ability declines with age due to muscle atrophy and osteoarthritis, resulting in injury, poor stability and lack of balance. Using ankle weights has been found improve knee joint position.

4. It may help prevent osteoporosis.

Strength training has been proven to improve bone health. Adding ankle weights while walking, jogging or doing other cardio exercises can boost muscle mass and protect the bones, helping to prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis during old age.

5. It improves balance.

Balance is necessary to help us perform daily activities; unfortunately, this becomes a challenge when we age. A study conducted in 2014 found that ankle weights have a positive effect on people with poor balance. The researchers conducted a study on stroke patients who were undergoing rehab and made to wear ankle weights while walking on treadmills. It was found that balance significantly improved for the group that wore the weights.

The Right Way of Using Ankle Weights

The first thing you need to know is that you should choose ankle weights that weigh anywhere between 1 – 2% of your body weight. So, if you weigh 150 lbs, choose one that is between 1.5 – 2 lbs.

Once you have your ankle weights and you plan on using these on your walks or jogs, gradually ease into them. For example, if you’re going for a 30-minute brisk walking in your neighborhood, then you can wear the weights for 15 minutes and you can increase the duration as your legs and ankles get stronger. You can also add more weight over time.

Ankle Weights Workout

Try these workouts that use ankle weights:

1. Knee to Elbow

This exercise focuses on your oblique muscles.

  • Stand with legs hip-distance apart.
  • Lift your right arm above your head as you lift your weight to your right leg.
  • Move your left knee towards the right side of your body and lower your elbow to touch the knee.
  • Do the same steps on the other leg.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

2. Single Leg Crossover

  • This exercise focuses on your obliques, triceps, inner and outer thigh and glutes.
  • Begin this exercise on all fours.
  • Extend your left leg behind you.
  • Move your left foot to the left side of your body and then onto the right side.
  • Repeat the same steps on your right leg.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

3. Straight Leg Raise

  • This exercise focuses on your quads.
  • Start by lying on your back with your left knee bent.
  • Squeeze the thigh muscles of your right leg and flex your right foot.
  • With control, lift your right leg until it is parallel with your left thigh.
  • Lower your leg slowly and then repeat the same steps with your left leg (right knee bent).
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

Generally speaking, the risk of injury when using ankle weights is low but you still need to be careful that you don’t overuse them and you wear the appropriate weights. Increase the weight slowly and if you notice any pain in your ankles, leg or hips, decrease the weight or stop using them for a few days and see if symptoms improve.

Using ankle weights training to improve your legs and butt:

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