Fitness experts typically recommend bodyweight exercises as an ideal way to get fit with minimal equipment. When you train in this manner, you can lose fat, gain muscle and significantly improve your overall level of fitness. Also, you can train at home without being forced to wait for equipment in your local gym.
Once certain bodyweight exercises get too easy, you can add weight in the form of a vest, shirt or another type of resistance. In this article, we look at the best ankle weights on the market and let you know what to keep an eye out for.
Comparison: Best Ankle Weights
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What Are Ankle Weights?
Ankle weights have been a popular form of added weight resistance for decades. Despite advances in health and fitness equipment technology, a simple pair of ankle weights is still among the best things a home fitness enthusiast can purchase. You attach them to your ankles, and their weight ranges from 1-40 pounds.
There are ankle weights available in a variety of colours and shapes, and they normally consist of sand or another type of material encased in leather, neoprene or nylon flaps. You strap them around the leg and fasten them with a strap which is typically Velcro-based.
Most people use them to add resistance to their weight training although their most common use is for running. If you can perform sprints at a good level with 10 pounds attached to your ankles, imagine how fast you’ll be with no weight! They are also excellent for boosting your vertical leap. Without further ado, let’s look at the 3 best ankle weights on the market.
Top 3 Ankle Weights
1 – All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights
These ankle weights from All Pro are probably the best you can buy as they are extremely durable, versatile and comfortable. However, they are not the best option if you’re an advanced athlete looking to improve leg strength because the heaviest weight they hold is 5 pounds per ankle. Nonetheless, they are exceptionally good for those looking to improve their running.
There are 10 slots in the pouch, and each one holds ½ pound. As a result, it is easy to increase the weight in small increments; ideal for beginners. The accompanying weights are solid iron, but your comfort is guaranteed by the padding on the ankle and heel; it also does a fantastic job of protecting your Achilles tendon. The Velcro strap is 9 inches long so these weights should fit individuals with thick ankles.
We also love the stylish design of the ankle weights; the blue and black colour scheme helps this product stand apart from cheaper designs. Although you can wear the All Pro Adjustable Ankle weights for running, they are more effective when used for resistance exercises. Overall, these All Pro weights outperform pretty much every other rival on the market; the iron weights are much better than the sand or powder used in other models because you don’t have to worry about leaking. The weights fit snugly, and the strap is very secure even during intense exercise.
2 – Ankle Weights Set by Healthy Model Life
About the only negative thing, we can say about these ankle weights from Healthy Model Life is that they don’t enable you to adjust the weight. Nonetheless, we believe this product is among the best around in terms of comfort, value for money and performance. Each ankle weight is 5 pounds, and the set is designed specifically for women.
The neoprene cuffs fit beautifully around the ankle, and you can adjust the size by using the Velcro strap. Also, you don’t have to worry about the weights slipping as you exercise thanks to the ‘sure stay grip’ feature.
There is an element of versatility because the weights can also be used on your wrists. Healthy Model Life offers a full lifetime replacement or refund guarantee so if you don’t like what you get, send it back! Overall, these ankle weights are reasonably good value for money, but the level of comfort they offer is almost unmatched by any other set of ankle weights.
3 – Nordic Lifting – Ankle/Wrist Weights
Once again, we have chosen a set of ankle weights that don’t allow you to adjust the resistance. However, when the product in question is as well designed as these weights from Nordic Lifting, it hardly matters. Each weight carries 5 pounds of resistance and can be worn around the wrist or ankle.
These ankle weights are beautifully crafted with a stylish grey and black colour scheme; the sleeves even have a reflective trim which comes in handy if you like to train outdoors at night or very early in the morning. The neoprene material is of the highest quality; as is the reinforced stitching. As a result, you can rely on these weights to stand the test of time.
The special ergonomic design and adjustable Velcro strap mean you’ll enjoy the perfect fit and never have to worry about the ankle weights slipping off. We believe this product from Nordic Lifting offers the best value for money around as it is far better than any comparably priced rival and is a match for products that are twice the price. The package also includes a carry bag and an Instruction manual, and it comes with a 12 months’ Manufacturer’s warranty for defects.
How To Choose a Pair of Ankle Weights
If you’re going to have something strapped to your ankle for an extended period, make sure it’s comfortable! Even the best ankle weight brands sometimes fail to take comfort into account. If the weight isn’t sufficiently padded, it will dig into your skin and make training a nightmare. Look for ankle weights with material that absorbs sweat and is breathable even during tough sessions.
The best ankle weights are always adjustable. You should be able to add or subtract weight depending on the exercise or how you feel on any given day. Most products include attachments which allow you to change the size and weight as you wish. Even if the ankle weights lack extra attachments, they must at least allow you to adjust the fit. Otherwise, you’ll end up with bulky weights that move around awkwardly as you train.
Size & Shape
Don’t be fooled by the weight; some products fit a lot more weight into a smaller package than others. The size of ankle weight you need not only depends on the size of your ankle (especially if the equipment is adjustable), but it also depends on the type of workout clothes you wear and the shoes you have on.
Finding the Right Size
If you are using ankle weights for the first time, choose the smallest size that fits and light weight. The best ankle weight brands offer products as light as one pound. To get value for money, choose an adjustable pair so you can add resistance as you get fitter and stronger. If the weights come with added increments, find out what you can do to make them fit comfortably.
Bear in mind that the size of your ankles is of profound importance when choosing ankle weights even with adjustability in mind. If you have very thin or thick ankles, it could take a while to find the right fit.
Being Sensible With Ankle Weights
Some manufacturers offer ankle weights as heavy as 40 pounds! If you haven’t worn ankle weights before and/or are relatively untrained, choosing an excessively heavy weight is just asking for an injury. Always start off with a pair that is around 1-2 pounds each so you can get the ‘feel’ of them before adding more weight later on. Remember, if the weights fit loosely around your ankles, they will feel much heavier.
You should never ‘cheat’ when using ankle weights as this practice only enhances the potential for injury. Using excessively heavy weight only serves to cause long-term damage to your joints, tendons, and muscles. As the best ankle weights come in various sizes, let’s take a look at the different weights and the type of exercises you should do with them.
These are beginner ankle weights; think of them as your ‘training wheels.’ This weight range is perfect for novices interested in walking or running with added resistance.
Again, these are best for running and walking but are for trainees with a bit more experience.
Although experienced runners can still use ankle weights in this range, everyone else should use them for leg lifts, lunges, squats, leg raises, reverse crunches and a host of other leg and abdominal exercises.
These ankle weights fall into the ‘extremely heavy’ category and should only be used by experienced trainees for bodyweight exercises such as dips, leg raises, and pull-ups or Calisthenics.
What Are Ankle Weights Used For?
Running & Walking
Casual users can get a lot from ankle weights when walking around the house or performing chores. If you fancy stepping it up a bit, use ankle weights for running to make the process more challenging. Ankle weights are ideal if you’re already in decent shape and are looking to score a Personal Record in an upcoming race. Be sensible and use a reasonable weight consummate to your level of strength and fitness and be wary when running on uneven ground.
Vertical Jump Boost
Professional athletes sometimes use ankle weights to improve their vertical leap; it is an especially important feat of athleticism for basketball players. Specific exercises such as weighted jumping in exercise sessions will really add some spring to your leap as you should improve the strength of your calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
Would-be pugilists can use ankle weights to improve their foot speed and endurance. The best boxers are light on their feet and use speed and elusiveness to avoid getting hit. While increasing the weight on your ankles won’t turn you into Floyd Mayweather, the practice should work wonders for your fighting footwork.
Pros of Ankle Weights
Increase Leg Strength & Agility
When you use ankle weights correctly, you will improve the strength of major leg muscles such as your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. When you wear ankle weights for better footwork, you’ll find it much easier to move around when the weights are off.
Quick & Easy
You can add resistance in a matter of seconds as the best ankle weights are easy to wear and use. Simply strap them on and start exercising; although we recommend a thorough warm-up first!
Fat Loss Boost
Wearing ankle weights will force you to work harder so you can expect increased caloric expenditure and perhaps a boost in your metabolism as a bonus.
Ideal for Abdominal Training
Exercises such as hanging leg raises become infinitely more challenging when you add ankle weights to the mix.
Cons of Ankle Weights
Can Cause Injury When Used Incorrectly
Although it is every person’s individual responsibility to use any piece of fitness equipment properly, ankle weights are among the most likely products to cause injury when misused. The area around your ankles is not particularly strong, so if you dive right in and use a heavy weight, your joints, muscles, and tendons will suffer.
Not Suitable For Running after a Certain Point
You should not use ankle weights above 10 pounds when running no matter how fit you are. The greatest benefits of this product occur when you use it for slow, controlled movements. Jogging or hiking with excess weight only leads to strain on the leg and hip joints.
The best ankle weights are a great investment in your health and fitness. Whether you want to tone your legs, add inches to your vertical leap or improve your footwork for sport, this versatile piece of fitness equipment can help. As long as you are sensible in your use of ankle weights, you will find them to be the perfect lo