Ankle weights are a popular training tool sold to the general population as a way to improve fitness while performing daily duties. The bulk of ankle weights are little sandbags wrapped with a Velcro band around your ankles. Weights range from 1–3 pounds (0.5–1.5 kg) and can be used in regular activities or as part of an exercise routine.
Overall, ankle weights can benefit general fitness and can be used safely by healthy individuals. However, they are not a complete fitness solution and should be utilized as a part of a plan that also includes weight training and aerobic exercise.
Here are some ideas for how to use ankle weights in your training routine:
- Select a combined ankle weight between 1% and 2% of your body weight.
- Wear the weights around your ankles at least 3 times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes per session.
- Consider adding ankle weights when doing slower walks for enhanced movement quality.
- Only wear ankle weights for limited periods to avoid overuse injuries and imbalances.
- Don’t exceed 3% of your body weight in ankle weights.
- Incrementally increase the weight to avoid overuse injuries.
Straight Leg Raises
- Lay down with your legs and back flat against floor.
- Keep your arms on your sides.
- Now keep your legs straight and raise your left leg with feet up until pointing straight in the air.
- Slowly lower back down to the floor.
- Then repeat with the other leg.
Squat with Leg Lift
- Attach 1 weight to each ankle.
- Stand upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your legs and drop your bottom down. Your legs should form a 90-degree angle.
- Drive your weight up through your heels and push your body upright again.
- As you rise up, lift 1 leg up and out to the side (toward the sky). Bring it back down.
- Sink back down into the squat, come back up, and then lift the other leg up and outward.
- Perform 5 sets of 10 repetitions (5 on each leg during each set). At the end of the last set, your legs should feel tight, especially on the outside of your glutes.
- Start by standing upright with 1 weight attached to each ankle.
- Take a large step forward with your front leg, then bend both legs and sink down toward the ground so that your back knee grazes the ground.
- Drive your weight down through your heel to push your body back upward. Make sure to keep your torso upright throughout the entire movement.
- Perform the same move with your left leg.
- Perform 4 sets of 20 repetitions, 10 on each leg per set.
- Lie down on the floor on your side. Rest your head on your arm. ..
- Keep your feet together and lift your top leg up so that your knees are separated. Keep your hips steady.
- Slowly lower your leg back down.
- Repeat 10 times, or as instructed.
- Switch sides if instructed.
For further information on this topic, check out Which quadriceps exercises can be performed with a chair.