5 Benefits of Ankle Weights & How to add Them to Your Workout Routine
Amp up the intensity of your workouts with ankle weights!
So, if you've been following me via my Instagram for a while, you know that I LOVE my ankle weights and incorporating them into my #workouts. Before I get into the benefits of ankle weights and how to integrate them into your workout routine, I want to begin by saying that I personally don't recommend using them for full-out #cardio workouts, like running on the treadmill or outside. That's dangerous and can throw you off balance, cause you to develop bad habits that negatively affect your running form, or worst of all—cause injury to your ankles, joints, or even hips and back.
Back in the day, power-walking with ankle weights was the thing to do, and that's totally fine if you have strong bones and joints and your body can handle it, but if not, don't push yourself into the risk of injury. And always listen to your body.
Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's get down to the BENEFITS of ankle weights and how to throw them into your strength and/or circuit training routines.
Benefit number one: THEY INCREASE YOUR CALORIC BURN.
Think about it...you're adding extra weight, which forces your muscles in your legs, glutes, and core to work harder and use more energy than they would without the extra resistance. Hence, higher caloric burn.
Benefit number two: THEY CHALLENGE YOU.
Both physically and mentally.
If your workout routine has become like second nature to you and maybe a little too easy lately, take on a new challenge. Add the ankle weights. The extra resistance causes not only your muscles to work harder, but your mind, too. By making the workout itself tougher, you're also strengthening your mind by pushing yourself harder. Making progress in the gym is great, and making progress with your mental toughness...even better.
Benefit number three: THEY KEEP IT INTERESTING.
What's one of the most common reasons people quit the gym or give up on #exercise? Boredom.
Ever get bored doing the same thing, the same workout routine, the same exercises over and over again? Switch it up and strap on some ankle weights a few times a week! Like anything else, you don't want to go crazy and use them in every single workout, as that can lead to injury, but 2-3 times a week can make such a difference! Tone, tone, tone!
I typically use them 2-3 times per week. Never more than 3.
Benefit number four: VARIOUS WEIGHT OPTIONS & STEADY PROGRESS.
If it's your first time using ankle weights, I would advise you to start light. There's lots of weight options, and I'd recommend beginning with a set of 1-2lbs on each ankle. Might sounds like nothing, but try it out for yourself and you'll see!
Then, eventually, when you feel like you're ready to crank up the weight a notch, go for the 5lb pair. Just don't push it too fast too soon and listen to your body!
Benefit number five: INEXPENSIVE.
Gym equipment can be stupid expensive. Luckily, you can find ankle weights for less than $20. Totally worth the small fee.
The #benefits of ankle weights are pretty awesome. You can even do the same exact strength or circuit training workout you've been doing, but adding the extra resistance will increase the intensity and take it to the next level.
Like all things in life, small changes can make big impacts.
It's basic math and physics, guys...as you apply more force, you need to use
more energy, which in turn causes your body to burn more calories.
You're welcome. ;)
Let's take it a little further & talk about the HOW.
I use ankle weights for my strength training routine on days of lower-body focus.
So, on leg/booty days, I always have my ankle weights with me.
They're amazing for adding intensity to moves like any variation of lunges, bridges, fire hydrants, donkey kicks, etc.
And ALSO, a little hot tip for ya...adding mini pulses as an extra burnout for glute focused moves can take your toning game to the next level.
Mini pulses are teeny, tiny movements that you hold after the last rep of your exercise that you will DESPISE during, but LOVE yourself for after.
*Examples of mini pulses are in the video below...the 1st and 2nd exercises (donkey & corner kicks)*, as a reference.
I also use ankle weights for any of my core-focused workouts or pilates.
The added resistance the ankle weights give you is great for torchin' up the core a bit more for exercises such as bicycles, any leg raises/circles, plank variations, etc.
Another way I incorporate these little wonder weights into my routine is in my circuit training or HIIT workouts.
On these days, I focus less on strength training/lifting weights and put the focus more on cardio and core stability.
When I say cardio, I don't mean running or jogging, but more core-focused, higher intensity exercises. And by that, I'm referring to plank jacks, knee tucks, mountain climbers, even burpees. Some may recommend against it, since it can cause possible injury to your joints, knees, ankles, etc., especially if you have weaker bones.
But, if you're feeling up to it, and have no restrictions, why not give it a try!
See what works for YOU. And if you find that it's not causing any harm to your body, then there ya have it...a solid way to amp up your workout!
I hope this helps & inspires you to challenge yourself in a new way & add a little zest to your normal routine!
Let me know if you use ankle weights and how/what for, or if you give it a try for the first time.
Drop your questions in the comments or into my DM's!