In any strength training that you’re performing, challenging yourself does a larger part of the good that you derive from it. If you are working out at home, adding weights to your exercises can help you get the maximum benefits. This is where all the concepts behind resistance bands, wrist weights, weighted vests, and ankle weights stem from. To Talk about Ankle weights, they are basically the dumbbells for your feet. Most fitness advisors and trainers do suggest using ankle weights for improving the strength of your lower body.

But are ankle weights good for you?  And to which extent do leg weights work?

Don’t worry- By the end of this article, you’d have absolute clarity on how to use ankle weights and ankle weight’s benefits. We have put together this comprehensive guide to explain what are ankle weights for and what do ankle weights do? 

What are Ankle Weights for? And do they Work?

You may occasionally come across people walking with ankle weights. The weights are typically made of a wide neoprene strap that wraps around the ankle and attaches with Velcro. These are some of the least popular equipment that is used in training muscles but are highly beneficial in providing the user with improved training performance and athletic endurance if used in the right way! 

How do they do that? Well, ankle weights provide an added resistance to isolated leg movements. They might cause injuries if used in the wrong way but otherwise, that may magically enhance your form and stability during the workout sessions. It improves your understanding of the impact of resistance on your body and motivates you to re-learn the right technique to hit the legs and hips muscles in case you are going in the wrong direction. If you need better engagement in your lower body exercises, go for wearable ankle weights. The effect is fairly simple: the weight exerts a greater load on the targeted muscle groups which requires those muscles to work harder in order to generate movements. Your targeted body part faces two challenges: gravitational and added load- which encourages an increase in strength. 

Walking with Ankle Weights – Is It A Good Idea? 

Most trainers may suggest that it’s not a fair idea to wear ankle weights while you’re walking or performing an aerobics workout, let’s say running, jogging or dancing, etc. That’s sole because ankle weights add resistance to your regular leg movements, forcing you to use your quadriceps, the muscles in the front portion of your thighs, instead of the hamstrings that are present to the backs of your thighs. That may lead to a muscle imbalance. Moreover, there’s a risk of injuring your ankle joint, tendon, ligament, knees, hips, and back. If you’re intending to run with weights, try keeping it close to your upper body by using weighted vests or a backpack.

If you firmly ensure that the weight is tied directly on your ankles, and the straps are tight enough, totally removing any chances of slips and tosses, it can add to an advantage. The added weight forces the body to burn more calories to cover the same distance as compared to just the bodyweight. Walking with ankle weights may help in burning more calories and thereby bringing down the fat percentage over the long haul. 

What Are Ankle Weights Specifically Good for? 

Ankle weights are a piece of excellent equipment to train your lower body and core. When ankles weights are securely fitted to your ankles, it can provide a better tendency and weighted resistance to make each of your training more effective without the messy need to hold the dumbbells or barbells via your lower limbs. 

  • Ankle weights can help enhance your muscular endurance and stamina.
  • Will wearing ankle weights tone legs? Indeed, Miraculously! Adding weighted resistance can tone legs faster than doing more reps. But yes don’t compromise with that rep target now!
  • Want to burn more calories in a progressive burn? Ankle weights can also help you burn astoundingly more calories
  • Ankle weights can increase the overall strength of your glutes and hamstrings and calves. 
  • Added to compound movements, ankle weights can help target and train your core muscles in the abs.
    Ankle weights add variety to improve the versatility of your workout sessions. 

Best Exercises to try with Ankle Weights 

1. Dip Station Leg Raises 

About the exercise

This breaks away from the monotonous ab workouts and challenges the core muscles. It looks like you’re holding the station bars and lifting your legs using the power of your upper body and core. 

Targeted muscle groups

Rectus abdominis — the six-pack muscle — as well as the hip flexors

To use ankle weights or not?

Not necessary. However, this can increase the resistance should you find it important 

The correct technique 

  • Step 1: Adjust the dip bar wider than your shoulders. You should ask a trainer at your gym for help if you’re unsure of how to do this.
  • Step 2: Stand between the bars. Boost yourself up so your shoulders are over your hands and arms are straight. Most dip bars have a little ledge to help acquire a better position.
  • Step 3: Let your legs hang straight down and push your arms down into the bars. This helps keep your shoulders down, which you’ll need to do throughout the exercise.
  • Step 4: Bend your knees as you lift your thighs. Once your thighs reach hip height, curl your knees up higher and bring them toward your chest. If you don’t lift your thighs above the level of your hips, you’re only working your hip flexors. To strengthen your abs, you have to go higher.
  • Step 5: Return your legs so they hang straight down below the bars. Lower your legs with control. Don’t be tempted to drop them quickly so your legs swing into the next repetition.
  • Step 6: Check your shoulders to make sure they’re still down. If they’re getting closer to your ears, push further into the bars with your hands.

2. Flutter Kicks 

About the exercise

As the name suggests, you lie down on your back and raise your legs into a lower slope and kick the air moving one foot after the other. It looks as if you’re paddling the air. 

Targeted muscle groups 

Lower abs, hip flexors, Glutes, Quads, Oblique (side abs), hamstring, and lower back

To use ankle weights or not?

Ankle weights can help you get better results with the workout. It hits the hamstrings and glutes more effectively. 

The correct technique 

  • Step 1: Lie on your back on the floor. (Place a yoga mat if you want)
  • Step 2: Make a fist and keep them in between your glutes and lower back for a slight lift
  • Step 3: Raise your legs about 5 inches off the ground and keep them straight.
  • Step 4: While keeping your legs straight, raise a leg higher while lowering the other.
  • Step 5: For general practice, keep three movements count as one flutter or rep.

3. Reverse Crunches 

About the exercise

In contrast to crunches that require you to move your upper body, the reverse crunches demand your lower body movements.

Targeted muscle groups:

Obliques, functional abs, and abdominal muscles 

To use ankle weights or not?

Definitely, they can increase the resistance and engage the core better. 

The correct technique 

  • Step 1: Start lying down with your arms by your sides. 
  • Step 2: Raise your legs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90° angle. 
  • Step 3: Breathe out and contract your abs to bring your knees up towards your chest. Keep the entire movement slow and controlled by focusing on your core. 
  • Step 4: Don’t arch your lower back and raise your hips off the floor. You may straighten the legs to the air with your ankle weights on to hit the muscles at work.
  • Step 5: Hold for a beat in this position, then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position without arching the lower back

4. Windshield Wipers 

About the exercise

These are ultra-focused ab workouts. Since your lower body is the weight your train with, adding ankle weights would be great

Targeted muscle groups

The core, arms, pectoral muscles, hip flexors, and obliques.

To use ankle weights or not?

Using ankle weights makes the exercise more core-focused. 

The correct technique 

  1. Hanging 
  • Step 1: Hang from a bar overhead, pulling down with your lats—think about “shortening your armpits—so you’re engaging your shoulders and not just hanging out of your arm sockets.
  • Step 2: Squeeze your abs to bring your toes up toward the bar in a pike position.
  • Step 3: Slowly, with control from your obliques, move your legs side-to-side, holding them together like they’re one windshield wiper. Don’t twist your hips—or lose your hold entirely.
  1. On floor
  • Step 1: Lie faceup on the mat with arms straight out so the body forms a “T” 
  • Step 2: extend your legs straight up toward the ceiling. 
  • Step 3: Keep your abs braced and lower your legs to the right as far as you can without lifting your shoulders off the floor. 
  • Step 4: Swing legs to the left and lower as far as possible without lifting shoulders.

5. Lying Lateral Leg Raises 

About the exercise

Lateral leg raises, also known as hip abduction, have real strengthening benefits. This single exercise utilizes more than one muscle groups and offers multiple functional advantages

Targeted muscle groups

Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, and Tensor Fascia Lata.

To use ankle weights or not?

Ankle weights can make your exercise better and more effective. It can add resistance to the legs and build the muscles of your leg and hips. 

The correct technique 

  • Step 1: Lie on one side
  • Step 2: Place the lower arm on the floor and the upper hand in front of your body for support.
  • Step 3: Engaging your abs, bring your bottom leg slightly in front of your top leg, letting the inside of your top footrest on the ground. 
  • Step 4: Then lift the upper leg up to the ceiling. This is one rep 

6. Standing Glute Extensions 

About the exercise

Most informed instructors mention that the glutes play a big role in hip abduction, extension, and rotation. They assist with jumping, running, and heavy lifting. Even when we’re talking about visual appeal, glutes are unbeatable.

Targeted muscle groups

Gluteus Maximus and core muscles 

To use ankle weights or not?

Adding ankle weight might not seem important. Ankle weight may affect your hold on the machine’s cable strings. Otherwise, it is a great way to improve the resistance. 

The correct technique 

  • Step 1: Begin by first attaching an ankle strap to the bottom of the cable machine.
  • Step 2: Place your working leg in front and non-working leg back.
  • Step 3: Grab a comfortable place on the machine to stabilize your body.
  • Step 4: Keep an upright posture and make sure your leg stays straight at all times.
  • Step 5: Slowly swing your working leg back until your foot is just beneath the level of your glutes in a controlled manner while squeezing your glutes.
  • Step 6: Then slowly return the leg to the starting position but keep it off the ground so you can swing freely.

7. Donkey kicks 

About the exercise

A simple but effective workout that can give your hips a lush pump and strength as well as stability.

Targeted muscle groups

Gluteus maximus and hip flexors

To use ankle weights or not?

Using ankle weights can engage the entire leg in the training while increasing the effect on the glutes.

The correct technique 

  • Step 1: Start on all fours
  • Step 2: Place your shoulders in alignment with the wrists and knees right under the hips. 
  • Step 3: Make sure your back is flat and your spine is relaxed. Without arching your spine, engage your lower abdominals. 
  • Step 4: Keeping the 90-degree bend in your right knee, slowly lift your leg straight back and up toward the ceiling. 
  • Step 5: Press heel up toward the ceiling as knee points straight down with core engaged. 
  • Step 6: Lower back to hip height.

Related: A Complete Guide to Building Bigger Thighs and Hips

Frequently asked questions 

1. Is the use of ankle weights when running or walking fine?

Definitely, ensure that the bands are well tied to the ankle without any risk of slipping or dropping down else it may end up hurting your vital ligaments.

2. How to make ankle weights?

You may fill a pair of socks with sand to add weight and tie it around. However, going for well-designed commercial bands could be safer.

3. How to wear ankle weights?

Hey, that’s pretty simple! Just wrap the weights around your ankles in a close-fitting. Secure the weight with the tie that is provided by the manufacturer.

4. Will wearing ankle weights tone legs?

Yes, it will. Read the benefits of ankle weights described in the elaboration above to learn more.

5. Are ankle weights bad for you?

It can be- if used improperly. Always make sure not to bear more weights that you can manage to push yourself through. Also, use a well-fitting ankle weight. 

Verdict | Ankle Weights: Good Or Bad?

No one answer may directly categorize walking with ankle weights into good or bad. It is more layered so bear with us for a clear understanding. 

Having said that- remember- right technique is the key.

If you get the technique right, ankle weights can give you amazing results in your strength training. 

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