How To Elevate Your Workout With Ankle Weights

Getting in a workout each day is important, and for those of us who enjoy pushing ourselves differently each exercise session, it can be challenging to keep things fresh. Whether it's adding a balance ball for abductor work or strength bands for greater tricep resistance, avid gym participants are creative when it comes to getting their sweat on. There are so many accessories out there that it can be overwhelming to choose the best addition to our exercise routines. However, there may be a workout tool that you haven't thought about including in your regimen. If you are looking to make small adjustments to your training to increase the intensity, adding wearable ankle weights is a great option (via Your House Fitness).

Ankle weights were once thought of as a great way to perfect your 1980s Halloween costume only, but the right pair can actually provide specific benefits to those who use them. These tiny, neoprene, Velcro weights may be exactly what you need to complete your comprehensive workout. Ankle weights typically add 1 to 3 pounds to your body weight, making them a sneaky way to amplify your exercise benefits (via Healthine). 

The benefits of ankle weights

Although they are small and seemingly easy to lift, ankle weights benefit us by adding extra weight without a lot of bulky equipment. According to Shape, ankle weights can be used by all fitness levels. Harvard Medical School goes on to say that these weights are specifically beneficial for exercises that focus on the hip and leg muscles. A great way to add more resistance to your leg lifts or leg extensions is to add ankle weights. You should feel the difference during and after each strength move. 

P.volve agrees that ankle weights are excellent tools to target lower body muscles. If you are after lean and toned legs and glutes, these weights will activate those muscles that are normally ignored. The website details several at-home exercises that are enhanced by ankle weights, including "around the clock." In this workout, you plant one leg while you lift the other and bring your knee level with your hips, the move your raised leg in a circular motion. Repeat on the opposite side with your other leg. The "standing leg extension" detailed by Shape is another way to isolate your leg muscles. Stand with your legs hip width apart and extending one leg behind you, lifting it up in pulsing motions. By completing these simple moves, you should start to notice the increased strength in your legs providing countless benefits throughout your body.

Using ankle weights safely

Although ankle weights can greatly improve strength in your core and your legs, experts warn to be careful of how often you are using them. Your House Fitness warns that, while they are an incredible tool for fitness, you should beware of overusing your muscles with them. Our joints, muscles, and tendons need rest in order to repair and grow stronger. If you use ankle weights, rotate them with other strength tools. In addition, ankle weights are appropriate for leg lifts and leg thrusts, but avoid using them as you walk around or jog. Workout Digest goes on to say that wearing ankle weights for aerobic exercises can actually injure you and change the way you walk.

Ankle weights, if used appropriately, can amplify your strength results in your legs, glutes, and abs. For specific exercises, they really are an incredible tool to add to your workout routine. Get weights that are appropriate for your strength level and start benefitting from the extra challenge these Velcro tools provide.