When you're on a budget, but want the extra resistance that leg weights provide — improvise! Leg weights make your workout more challenging, especially if you're doing floor exercises, like side leg lifts.
The leg weights you buy in stores or online range from 1 to 20 pounds. With a little craftiness, you can make them yourself.
Start with light weights and build up slowly, especially when you add weights to your ankles. Also, use caution if you have knee, hip or ankle problems. Skip such weights altogether when running or jumping; adding weights to these exercises is more likely to lead to injury.
Reusable Leg Weights
Dried beans make the perfect option for homemade leg weights. They're heavy, but mold to your body.
Start by weighing out 1 to 1/2 pounds of dried beans on a food scale. This amount of beans will fit best into a tube sock. Weigh out another equal portion for the second weight.
Tie a knot about one-fourth of the way up a long tube sock. Pour the beans into the sock. Tie a second knot in the sock above the beans. The second knot should be placed about one-fourth the way down from the top of the sock.
The beans are now secured in the center of your sock, and the ends of the sock are empty — so you can tie them around your ankle. If you can't tie it easily, attach stick-on hook-and-loop fastener strips, such as Velcro, to the sock to fasten it.
Disposable Leg Weights
Homemade mini sand bags are another way to add weight to your legs. The plastic bags are convenient and non porous, but they will likely tear after a few uses.
To make the weights, fill two sealable plastic bags with sand. Weigh the bags on a food scale and adjust until they are of equal weight.
Hold the bag on your ankle. Wrap a first-aid bandage around it to secure it in place. Ensure that the sand bag will stay in place, but take care not to wrap too tightly because this can cause your foot to go numb. Secure the end of the bandage with first-aid tape, Sweet recommends.
Avoid extremely vigorous exercise with the disposable leg weights. Ensure your leg weights are fastened securely before you begin to exercise.
Exercises With Homemade Ankle Weights
Homemade ankle weights provide a convenient way to strengthen your legs at home. Try seated exercises such as lifting your knee up toward the ceiling and leg extension, or straightening your knees. Progress to marching in a standing position.
Lying on your back, lift your leg straight up toward the ceiling. Work the opposite muscle group by doing the same movement while lying on your stomach.
Increase your calorie burn while walking by wearing your leg weights. Use caution — adding these weights will further challenge your balance and require your leg muscles to work harder. Strengthen your abs by lifting both knees toward your chest at the same time.