Ankle Weights Benefits and How to Add Them to Your Routine

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Are you looking to elevate your fitness routine to the next level? Consider adding ankle weights! These versatile fitness accessories have gained popularity among women over 30 for their ability to intensify workouts and target specific muscle groups. In this article, we’ll delve into what wearable weights are, whether they really work, their benefits, and how to seamlessly incorporate them into your exercise regimen.

What Are Ankle Weights?

Ankle weights are exactly what they sound like – weights that are strapped around your ankles. Typically made of materials like neoprene or nylon, these adjustable accessories come in various weights, allowing you to customize the resistance level to suit your fitness goals. Originally used in physical therapy and rehabilitation settings, wearable weights have now become a trendy addition to fitness routines, especially among women.

Other wearable weights exist too, like wrists or vest weights and it can be combined to increase the resistance level (ankle and wrist weights, vest and wrist weights, etcetera.)

Young woman wearing leather ankle weights prepares to exercise on fitness

Do Ankle Weights Work?

The burning question: do ankle weights actually deliver results? The answer is a resounding yes – when used correctly. These training devices can effectively increase the intensity of exercises, leading to improved strength, endurance, and muscle tone. However, like any fitness tool, their effectiveness depends on how you incorporate them into your routine.

What Do Ankle Weights Do?

Ankle weights work by adding resistance to your lower body movements, thereby challenging your muscles to work harder. When strapped around your ankles, they increase the load on muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves during exercises like walking, running, or even simple leg lifts. This added resistance forces your muscles to adapt, leading to strength gains over time.

Ankle Weights Benefits

When it comes to the benefits of using them, there are plenty, especially for those who aren’t used to working out and want to step up their routine without making a longer routine as these devices offer an easy way to add a bit of resistance, making your exercises more challenging and fun. Now, let’s dive into the main benefits of incorporating ankle weights into your workouts:

  • Enhanced Muscle Activation: They target specific muscle groups in your lower body, ensuring a more comprehensive workout.
  • Increased Calorie Burn: The added resistance can amp up the calorie burn during cardio exercises, helping you achieve your weight loss goals more effectively.
  • Improved Strength and Endurance: Regular use of wearable weights can lead to increased muscular strength and endurance, making everyday activities feel easier.
  • Enhanced Balance and Stability: By challenging your muscles in new ways, ankle weights can improve your balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
  • Versatility: Ankle weights can be used for a wide range of exercises, from walking and jogging to leg lifts and kickbacks, making them a versatile addition to any workout routine.

What Are Ankle Weights Good for?

Ankle weights are incredibly versatile and offer numerous benefits for various fitness levels and goals. They are particularly beneficial for people who:

  1. Want to add resistance to their lower body workouts without investing in expensive equipment.
  2. Are looking to increase the intensity of their cardio exercises, such as walking or jogging.
  3. Desire to strengthen and tone specific muscle groups in their legs and glutes.
  4. Are recovering from injuries and want to gradually rebuild strength and mobility in their lower body.
  5. Seek to improve their balance, stability, and overall athleticism.

Exercises You Can Make with Ankle Weights

Incorporating ankle weights into your exercise routine opens up a world of possibilities. Here are some effective exercises you can try:

  1. Donkey Kicks: Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping your knee bent at a 90-degree angle, lift one leg towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Lower back down and repeat. Alternate legs. This exercise targets your glutes and hamstrings and becomes more challenging with ankle weights.
  2. Squat with Leg Lift: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and perform a standard squat. As you rise, lift one leg out to the side, keeping it straight. Return to the squat position and repeat, alternating legs. This engages your glutes and outer thighs, and the ankle weights add extra resistance.
  3. High Knees: Jog in place, bringing your knees up towards your chest as high as possible with each step. Try to maintain a fast pace. Ankle weights add resistance, making your muscles work harder and increasing the cardiovascular benefits of this exercise.
  4. Bicycle Crunch: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and legs lifted, knees bent. Perform a bicycle pedaling motion by bringing your opposite elbow to your knee while straightening the other leg. Alternate sides. Ankle weights increase the challenge for your abs and obliques, providing a more intense core workout.
  5. Lunges: Stand with your feet together and take a step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Push back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Alternate legs. Ankle weights add resistance, targeting your quads, glutes, and hamstrings more effectively.
  6. Side Leg Lifts: Lie on your side with your legs stacked. Lift your top leg towards the ceiling, keeping it straight, and lower it back down. Repeat for the desired number of reps and switch sides. This exercise targets your hip abductors and outer thighs, and the ankle weights make it more challenging and effective.

You can start with 1 lb ankle weights or even 2 lb ankle weights, whatever you feel is comfortable and manageable for you) and progressively increase the weight as your strength improves.

Summary

In conclusion, ankle weights can be a valuable tool for enhancing your fitness routine and achieving your health and wellness goals. By providing targeted resistance to your lower body muscles, they can help you build strength, endurance, and stability over time. However, it’s essential to use ankle weights properly and gradually increase the intensity to avoid injury. So, why wait? Strap on those ankle weights and take your workouts to new heights!

Posted in Fitness

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