What Are Ankle Weights?
There is a huge range of ankle weights available on the market these days. These weight sets are instantly recognisable, they usually consist of an nylon envelope that passes around the ankle and fastens using a Velcro strip. The nylon sheaf is usually pocketed for weight to be inserted into the ankle band.
These weight sets are usually available in increments from 5lb through to 20lb, a 20lb set usually consisting of two ankle bracelets with a set of weights totalling 10lb on each bracelet. The weights themselves tend to consist of bagged sand or slithers of iron. You can get the ankle weight sets in a variety of colors to suit taste.
How NOT To Use Ankle Weights
You will find a lot of commentators or manufacturers desperate to sell their product advising that these weights are great for walking or running and can help burn extra calories or build leg strength. A quick word to the wise, don’t bother. If you want to burn more calories find a hill to walk up without weights or increase your pace. If you want to build length strength find a more traditional exercise in the gym.
The truth is these weight sets can be damaging and dangerous if you employ them during high intensity cardio or high impact sports. The main dangers using these weights when walking, running or even jumping is that they put extra stress on joints, the lower back and ligaments. Extra weight on the end of your limbs can stress the mechanics of your body. Your walking or running gait can be altered causing wear on joints that would not normally happen. Extra weight on the extremity of your legs can lead to extra stress transfers up to your lower back. In extreme cases changes to your weight distribution whilst running or walking can lead to a loss of coordination when you attempt the activity without the weights.
How To Exercise Using Ankle Weights Safely
Having said all of the above it is possible to derive benefit from using ankle weights if you use them in the correct manner. Ankle weights are good when used in exercises that are carried out at a stationary or slow pace, specifically strength training activities.
Using ankle weights during pull ups, leg raises, leg curls, leg extensions or other leg and hip flexor training activities can improve muscular strength. Exercises that typically target the core muscles are often a good situation in which to use ankle weights. In these regimes ankle weights won’t overstress joints but will add a small additional amount of weight to make your strength training workouts more effective.
Are Ankle Weights Bad For You?
The main point to take away is that used correctly, ankle weights can be an effective part of your workout. Ankle weights can help you develop strength and improve tone if used as part of a stationary low impact activity. Used incorrectly in high energy or faster paced workouts and you run the risk of long-term damage for very little extra gain.