Ankle weights help build muscle. People wear them to add strength training to their workouts. They’re a great way to tone your legs without making you look like a bodybuilder. (Feel better now?)
In a Hurry? Check out our recommendation for best ankle weights: All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights
And guess what? You can even use them for ab workouts. Wahoo!
Ready to get your Jane Fonda on? Strap on some ankle weights and lets get started!
Here’s our pick for the 5 best ankle weights, in no particular order:
- All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights
- Healthy Model Life Ankle Weights Set
- Nordic Lifting Ankle & Wrist Weights
- Reehut Ankle & Wrist Weights
- Da Vinci Adjustable Ankle & Wrist Weights
But first, the bad news.
These Are (Not) Perfect For Walking!
Sorry to burst your bubble. If you thought throwing ankle weights on before a walk was a good idea, you’d be sadly mistaken.
Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe physical therapist Terry Downey. He’s with Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, an organization affiliated with Harvard University. Ever heard of them?
Downey says it’s not a good idea to use ankle weights while walking. “They force you to use your quadriceps (the muscles in the fronts of the thighs) and not your hamstrings (in the backs of the thighs).”
Wearing ankle weights while walking causes muscle imbalances. Also, weights wrapped around the ankle pull on the joint. This puts you at risk of tendon or ligament injuries.
What Are The Benefits Of Ankle Weights?
Ok. Bad news out of the way. Now for the good news!
What are the benefits of ankle weights? We found a lot, but here are the ones we thought were most important:
- Tone your legs
- Add variation to your workout
- Make your ab workouts more challenging
Tone your legs
You can tone and shape your lower body using ankle weights during leg and glute workouts. The weights put a greater load on your muscles, which then have to work harder to move this load against gravity. This increases your strength.
The American College of Sports Medicine says that many people, especially women, avoid using weights. But the only way to tone and shape up is to work your muscles to fatigue. So if you’re afraid to use barbells, ankle weights are a way to test and see first what weights do to your body.
Bonus: Did you know? Muscles burn more calories than fat. So strengthening your leg muscles helps you reach your weight loss goals.
An exercise you can use your ankle weights with is the leg lift. If you’re looking for more ways to use ankle weights, scroll down for a list of exercises.
Add variation to your workout
If you’ve been using machine and cable workouts for a while, it’s time to switch it up with some ankle weights.
Since ankle weights slip onto each leg, they don’t limit your range of motion. No more having to squeeze into a bulky, one-size-fits-all machine at the gym.
Try ankle weights with your leg exercises in different positions. Do them while standing, seated, lying on your back or stomach, or kneeling on your hands and knees.
Makes your ab workouts more challenging
If you’re just a total beast and your ab workouts aren’t challenging anymore, throw on some ankle weights. They’re good for zeroing in on the lower abdominal section (the stubborn belly fat!)
Just be sure to contract your abdominals muscles (brace your abs as if someone was about to punch you really hard in the stomach).
Maintain a pelvic tilt throughout the exercise. Do the movement in a slow and controlled manner. Moving too quickly with ankle weights on may cause back injuries.
Don’t use ankle weights if you have bad form or back pain during ab workouts without weights. It’ll just make it worse.
List of Exercises Using Ankle Weights
Here’s just a few of the exercises you can do with ankle weights. Throw on your ankle weights and get ready to feel the burn.
Seated Knee Tuck
Squat with leg lifts
Side lying leg lift
Standing Leg Extensions
Standing Leg Curls
Inner Thigh Lifts
What Key Features Should I Look For In Ankle Weights?
It’s important that the ankle weights you choose be as comfortable as possible so you enjoy working out.
Look for material that is durable and breathable. Breathable means the fabric wicks away sweat. The neoprene used in the Nordic Lifting Ankle & Wrist Weights is a good example.
Ankle weights come in varying levels of padding. Make sure there’s enough padding so it wraps comfortably around your skin. But not too much padding because it’ll be bulky and hard to workout in.
Velcro Or Hook And Loop System
Not every set of ankle weights stays on the same. Most ankle weights use either velcro or a hook and loop type system. This feature impacts whether the weight stays wrapped and fixed to your ankle or not.
Weight that move around the ankles during workouts can get annoying quick. Do some further research on this feature before making a decision.
Fixed Or Adjustable Weight
Ankle weights come in different loads from 2 to 20 lbs. and everything between.
Not sure what weight you’ll need? Try ankle weights that are adjustable like the All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights. These type of ankle weights let you add and subtract weight.
Fixed weights come customized in particular loads only. We recommend looking for adjustable weights so you don’t have to keep buying new ones when you get stronger.
The 5 Best Ankle Weights
Made with contour-foam and cushioned flaps that secure the iron bar weights, All Pro’s adjustable ankle weights is made for people who want to progress in their strength training without having to worry about the weight getting loose.
- Weighted iron bars can be removed so you can adjust the difficulty of your workout
- Weight stays firmly wrapped so you can workout without stopping to adjust
- Velcro material is durable and long lasting so they don’t wear out over time
- Works great as wrist weights so you can tone your arms
- May get uncomfortable over time for people with with big ankles
- Some users may find padding between weights and ankles too thin
- Single straps may not be secure enough for rigorous activity like plyometrics
The Health Model Life’s product really shines in how they designed the weight.The weight is made to evenly distribute around the leg so you don’t feel any uneven pressure during activity. Ankle weights come in pink lettering and come in 1, 2, 5, 8-lb options.
- Velcro design makes it easy to put on
- Good quality
- Weights designed to evenly distribute around the leg for superior comfort
- Great value for price
- Only comes in pink
- Designed primarily for slim ankles
- Some users found velcro straps uncomfortable
Made with quality neoprene and reinforced stitching, Nordic Lifting’s ankle and wrist weights offer twice the functionality.Beginners and pros can intensify their workouts for both legs and arms. Built to last, Nordic Lifting designed these weights to fit every exercise routine. It also comes with a 1 year guarantee backed by their excellent customer support team.
- Easily adjustable velcro for quick adjustments that don’t disrupt your workout flow
- Filled with sand that allows adjustability
- Great value for price
- Excellent customer service known to proactively seek and resolve customer issues
- Cushioning might not wrap around entire leg, causing the velcro straps to scrape against the skin
- Non-breathable fabric doesn’t wick away sweat
- Only comes in gray
Reehut’s ankle and wrist weights come in a variety of colors.Each specific color is set to a specific weight. The cotton is mercerized or processed for extra strength so they last longer. Mercerized cotton is also less likely to gather sweat.
- Durable and stable so they don’t interfere with your workout
- Great value for price
- Comes in varying weights and colors to adjust to your fitness level
- Weights aren’t adjustable
- Some users report newly bought products had odors that went away over time
- Colors are assigned to specific weights only
When Da Vinci designed these weights, they had comfort and usability in mind.
They totally nailed it.From our extensive research, many people gave positive feedback on the weights comfort, design, and use. Just be sure to only use them as ankle weights. Users said they’re not so great as wrist weights.
- Good quality material
- Design makes them very comfortable and secure as ankle weights
- Well designed velcro straps make it easy for you to put them on and take off
- Wide variety of colors and weights
- Some customers report the weights slide around a lot when worn on the wrists
- Velcro straps may dig into the skin for some body types
- Colors are assigned specific weights so you have limited choices
Best Overall: All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights
An important feature that can make or break an ankle weight is the ability to adjust the resistance.
Unlike other products, the All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights allow the user to adjust the weights through the slots.
This feature made the All Pro product shine above the rest.
Other products like the Nordic Lifting Ankle & Wrist Weights use sand for load. This is a problem because if the material wears out, the sand leaks out. In fact many reviewers with weight sand products reported this issue. But All Pro uses durable iron bars so you won’t ever have to worry about that.
The weight of some of the products have been reported to move around a lot during exercise. As long as you are not doing any exercises where your legs move all over the place, the iron bars don’t move around.
They’ve also been reportedly used as wrist weights. This is a nice surprise since that’s not even their primary function. Actually as wrist weights, they’re even better than the Da Vinci’s that do function as wrist weights.