All You Need for This 20-Minute Upper-Body Workout Is a Pair of Ankle Weights

LIVESTRONG.com may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
You can use your ankle weights for an excellent upper-body workout.
Image Credit: GettyImages/mirzamlk

Glute kickbacks, fire hydrants and lunges are just a few of the common lower-body ankle-weight exercises that may be in your workout repertoire. And while ankle weights are a great way to train your bottom half, they don't necessarily have to go around your ankles.

With a little creativity, you can use your ankle weights to give your arms, back, chest and core an excellent workout. Mix up your next upper-body workout with these ankle-weight moves, courtesy of K. Aleisha Fetters, CSCS, author of Fitness Hacks for Over 50.

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

1. Rear Delt Raise With Pause

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, an ankle weight around each wrist.
  2. Shoot your hips back and hinge forward until your torso is almost parallel to the ground.
  3. Let your arms hang down toward the ground.
  4. Keeping your back flat, extend your arms out to your sides, leading with your elbows slightly bent.
  5. Pause here for a 2-second count.
  6. Then, slowly lower the weights with control back down to the starting position.

Reps: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, resting for 30 seconds in between

2. Y Raise Shoulder Circles

  1. Stand with your feet just inside hip-width apart with an ankle weight around each wrist.
  2. Raise your arms diagonally in front of you (in a V shape in front of your chest) until they're parallel with the floor.
  3. Form here, trace small circles in front of you in a clockwise direction.
  4. Keep your arms raised the entire time with shoulders engaged and away from the ears.
  5. Once you finish all the reps in this direction, circle in the opposite direction.

Reps: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, resting for 30 seconds in between

3. Alternating Overhead Punch

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, ankle weights around your wrists.
  2. Bring your hands out in front of your shoulders like a boxing guard position, elbows pointing to the floor.
  3. Pivot your feet to the right and punch your left arm overhead.
  4. Bring your arms back to the guard position and pivot back to the start.
  5. Then, repeat on the opposite side, pivoting to the left and punching with your right.

Reps: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, resting for 30 seconds in between

Tip

This exercise will strengthen the shoulders and triceps while targeting the core and obliques, Fetters says. Throughout the exercise, focus on keeping your torso engaged to avoid dipping into your lower back.

4. Arms Extended Biceps Curl

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, ankle weights around your wrist.
  2. Extend your arms straight in front of your shoulders, palms facing up. This is the starting position.
  3. Keeping your elbows locked, curl your right hand to your ear.
  4. Extend your right hand to the start.
  5. Curl your left arm to ear, then extend again.
  6. Keep alternating right, left, right left.

Reps: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps each side, resting for 30 seconds in between

"Even with light ankle weights, this biceps curl variation is incredibly challenging to the biceps, and also works the front part of the shoulder," Fetters says.

Show Comments