Will Running With Ankle Weights Affect My Legs?

Pink dumbell, ankle weights and fitness shoes
Running with small weights in hand and on the ankle result in a dynamic workout. (Image: thodonal/iStock/Getty Images)

Using a pair of ankle weights during your run can help you boost the efficacy of the workout, which is especially ideal if you're short on time. This simple exercise accessory can affect your legs -- and your overall body -- in positive and negative ways. The key to using the weights successfully is to keep the weight low and stop using them if you experience pain.

More Muscle Engagement

Wearing a pair of ankle weights during your run makes your muscles work harder, which leads to quicker growth, notes sports medicine professor Anthony Luke in an article in the "Los Angeles Times." Luke reports that the use of ankle weights helps strengthen such muscles as your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. Ankle weights also elevate your heart rate and the calorie burn of your run.

Risk of Increased Pain

Despite their perks, ankle weights can lead to lower-body injuries in certain cases. The added weight can worsen existing pain and cause discomfort in your lower-body muscles and joints. In an interview on ABC News, physical therapist Matt Briggs notes that the added weight can change the mechanics of your exercise. When you alter your mechanics, warns the American Council on Exercise, you increase your risk of injury.

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