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How Heavy Should Ankle Weights Be? The Answer Might Shock You
Are you interested in ankle weights but you’re wondering how heavy should ankle weights be?
You have seen people wear them and you have wondered their true purpose.
You have heard of people using them for athletic reasons, but you are still unsure of what they could possibly be doing.
You think they look funny, but at times you catch yourself pondering if they may have a positive impact on your life.
They are ankle weights …and you are interested in them, but have no idea where to start, which ones to purchase nor do you understand why you want to buy them or how heavy should ankle weights be.
However, you are doing your research and have stumbled upon this article.
You, my friend, are in luck!
I will be introducing you to what ankle weights do, the size and type you will need, how heavy should ankle weights be, and the benefits of them as well.
Introduction To Ankle Weights
First of all, let me explain what ankle weights can do for you.
For a lot of people ankle weights can be similar to the benefits of wearing a weighted vest
Most people who own ankle weights, outside of the gym, will wear them as part of their daily routine.
In theory, this application of the weights can in fact build your leg muscles through more resistance while walking, but that is not necessarily the safest thing to do.
If you think about it, too much body weight alone, while walking or running or jogging, will put a large amount of stress on your joints – ankle weights can unfortunately produce a similar effect.
With that warning out of the way, ankle weights can be used to your own liking and if using them during cardio is what you plan, just remember to be safe and do not overstress your joints or try to push through unnecessary pain.
Outside of the continuous daily wear and cardio, you can use the ankle weights for more vital and targeted exercises, which is where I believe they truly show their worth.
Best Ankle Weight Exercises To Do
Core exercises can be done through the use of ankle weights by implementing low weight (1 to 2 pound) ankle straps in the beginning and working your way up over time.
Some great exercises would be:
- Crunches with your legs lifted
- Bicycle kicks,
- Planks with leg raises
The added weight will burn your system quicker than without weight and if these exercises are done safely with control, you will experience a lot of results – hopefully with shorter workouts.
The great thing about ankle weights during core exercises is that you strap them on and forget about them.
Your muscles and stamina will build over time and once the weights get higher and higher, you will feel more and more of a burn within your core.
Next, there are leg and glute exercises, and that is where ankle weights seem to flourish as a tool and the amount of weight you can use begins to skyrocket.
Some leg exercises you can are things such as:
- Weighted leg raises on a leg raise machine
- Leg extensions
- Ankle weighted squats and lunges
- Even dips to feel more resistance during the workout
Usually, you would wear a weight plate dip belt, but ankle weights can produce a similar outcome with less inhibiting of your movement.
To be honest, the brief list above is only scratching the surface of great exercises you can do with ankle weights. Check out this article here and this one as well for some great lists of different exercises you can do using ankle weights.
In my opinion, these are the best exercises to do with ankle weights to build muscle and can be done with the heaviest ankle weights on the market (ranging from 5 to 10 pounds on each ankle).
To further this method, you can hold a dumbbell in each hand during your squats or lunges.
These forms of added weight are some of the safest ways to turn bodyweight exercises into exceptionally formidable feats.
Benefits Of Different Heaviness For Ankle Weights
Now we’re going to get into answering your question of how heavy should ankle weights be.
Starting at a lower weight range is very important when it comes to ankle weights
Because going from nothing to everything would be too much for you to handle.
If you begin with a few pounds and work your way up to five and eventually eight and more, you will have continually progressed and if you purchase different ankle weights or adjustable ankle weights then you can interchange them with various exercises.
If you plan to walk, run, jog or use cardio machines with ankle weights, I highly recommend staying under five pounds
The nice thing about adjustable weights is that there are some versions out there that you can raise in increments of one pound at a time.
This means that even within one day of working out, you can increase your weighted intervals and perform at higher levels back to back.
In a sense, you will almost be doing “pyramid sets” where the more weight you add to the ankle straps, the less reps you will do, but the more intense it will become.
If you decide not to purchase an adjustable set, you can always buy ankle weights that come standard and are filled with material like sand or other options like liquids that can be added to the ankle braces.
All of these things are important to consider when you’re answering the question of how heavy should ankle weights be.
If you’re just looking to add extra weight to your body you might be better off wearing a weighted vest
Conclusion For How Heavy Should Ankle Weights Be
It does not matter if you start off with light ankle weights or jump right into using heavier ankle weights, as long as you can exercise confidently and safely, then you will be headed in the right direction.
I had a coworker in the warehouse I was working in who wore three-pound ankle weights on each leg everyday during his shift.
He would run from his car to the warehouse before work and back to his car after work. In his mind, wearing the ankle weights would get him used to the feeling and allow him to run faster.
In the end, he began to feel pain and could no longer continue wearing them to work.
Though they were not excessively heavy, the way he was using them was detrimental to his body.
However, I constantly see a woman at my local gym that wears what appear to be at least 5-pound ankle weights and uses them to do floor exercises, leg workouts and squats in the cardio room.
Whenever I see her, she is wearing them for her controlled exercises and removes them for using cardio machines. Basically, when used correctly, any weight is good for your workouts.
My recommendation is to always work within your limits and never exceed what you are comfortable with no matter the situation
You can still gain benefits from ankle weights at low weight and high reps, or if you do heavy weight do not be afraid to use lower rep ranges on exercises.
Play it safe and if you can, find an adjustable set of ankle weights so you can experience a full gamut of resistance for your body.
Everyone will have different results from their ankle weights and everyone will have separate goals.
So, do further research to understand which types of ankle weights are best for your intentions, but as far as how heavy they should be – that will constantly change based on your personal preference and overall strength capabilities.
I hope this article was helpful in answering your question of how heavy should ankle weights be.
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