The trouble with relying on your body weight for resistance is that, at some point, your strength will have increased to a point where body weight alone is no longer enough to continue providing a challenge. That's when progress comes to a standstill. Strapping on a pair of ankle weights can get you off that plateau and back to getting results. When choosing ankle weights, consider the four aspects the best-rated ones feature.
Progresses With You
You'll plateau again if you buy a pair of 1-pound ankle weights with no options to increase the weight as your strength increases. The best ankle weights are ones that allow you to adjust the weight as your fitness progresses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Galt Technology. This is typically accomplished by sliding weighted bars into pockets sewn onto the outside of the ankle weights. Some bars are cylindrical shaped, but the flat surfaces of rectangular bars are more comfortable and provide a better fit.
Lined for Comfort
If your ankle weights aren't comfortable, you'll be less likely to wear them, making them useless. The interiors of the best ankle weights are lined in terrycloth or other moisture-wicking material. This serves two purposes: the soft material won't irritate the skin on your ankles, and the natural absorbency will draw moisture away from your skin as you sweat.
Flexible Fit, Stays Put
The best ankle weights are flexible when it comes to fit, allowing them to be one-size-fits-all. Instead of clasps, buckles or snaps, they typically have straps made of nylon hook-and-loop material that secure them in place to accommodate almost any ankle size. Being able to strap your ankle weights on snugly with the hook-and-loop closure also helps ensure that the weights will stay put during your workout rather than slipping and sliding around your ankle.
Built to Last
Ankle weights that are durable won't have to be replaced every few months because they wear out. The best ones have flexible material on the exterior that resists tearing, such as neoprene. The weight pockets are typically made of the same long-wearing material, too, to withstand the wear and tear of removing and inserting weights. The research and rating website Bestcovery.com points out that vinyl is another long-lasting material, rating vinyl ankle weights in the top five. Although you may not find vinyl quite as flexible as neoprene, it's still pliant enough to provide a comfortable fit, plus it's stronger and more durable than neoprene.