If you want to tone your lower body and abs, ankle weights provide the resistance you need to increase your fitness results. Ankle weights are inexpensive, easy to use and available at many big box and fitness stores. Ankle weights can increase the strain on joints, bones and muscles, so avoid running and other high-impact exercises while wearing ankle weights.
You can perform many different leg lifts while wearing ankle weights. Lifting your legs while sitting on a bench, exercise ball, step or chair reduces the risk of jarring your spine or spraining your ankle. Performing leg lifts while you lie on the floor or from a hands-and-knees position protects your spine and ankles. Extend your leg up or to the side from a seated or supine position and back or to the side from a prone position. Rotating the leg in circles also works in these positions. The slower you lift and lower your leg, the more effective the resistance. Slow exercises also reduce your risk of injury. Stop the exercise if you experience significant pain, and consult your doctor.
More Land Exercise
You can perform bicycles, reverse crunches and V-ups with ankle weights. You can also do pull-ups with ankle weights. Avoid running, jumping rope, calisthenics or riding a bicycle with ankle weights to prevent injuries such as pulled or torn muscles, strains and sprains. Ankle weights are not recommended for any exercise that jars your spine or joints.
Water exercise is low-impact, making it a safer option when wearing ankle weights. You can purchase ankle weights made specifically for water exercise or you can fabricate your own weights by looping a pool noodle around each ankle. Consider water walking, leg lifts, flutter kicks and mermaid kicks for your lower body water exercise. Avoid using the ankle weights in deeper water without a flotation device.
Ankle weights for use on land are available in weights of 1.5, 2.5, 3.75 and 5 pounds. If you are just beginning with ankle weights, start with the smallest weight and work up. Remember to keep your movement fluid and slow to avoid injury. MayoClinic.com advises you to avoid snapping your knee or locking it into place. If you are overweight or if you are female, ankle weights may increase your risk for injury. Consider using ankle weights in the water to reduce this risk.
- FitDay: What Are the Benefits of Working Out With Ankle Weights
- MayoClinic.com: Slide Show: Weight Training Exercises
- HealthGuidance.org: Cardio Exercises Using Ankle Weights
- Age-Defying Fitness; Marilyn Moffat and Carole B. Lewis
- Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images