What Size Ankle Weights Do I Need?

Wearing the proper size ankle weight can help strengthen your muscles and prevent injury. Using weights that are too heavy or with improper exercises can increase your risk for injuring yourself. Sizing them for your frame and weight can help make them more comfortable during your workout routine.

Choosing a proper ankle weight depends upon the exercise, your goals and fitness level. (Image: Robert Kelsey/iStock/Getty Images)

What Are Ankle Weights?

Ankle weights are weights that have been designed to fit around your ankle or wrist. They come in sizes ranging from 1 lb. to 8 lbs. They have various modes of attachment, including belts and Velcro straps. They are adjustable to your frame size, and some ankle weights have the ability to add or remove weight increments. According to Galt Tech, a properly fitting ankle weight fits snugly but not too tight.

When to Use Ankle Weights

You can strengthen your core and legs with ankle weights. All About Abs encourages you to use ankle weights as a method to make your workout more efficient. Instead of working your core and legs for 20 minutes each, add some ankle weights and fatigue your muscles in 10 minutes. Ankle weights help with the progression of your exercise routine by adding extra resistance when exercises become too easy for you. People with lower back problems must exercise care. Adding ankle weights increases the challenge on your lower back.

Core Exercises

The proper ankle weight for you to use with your core muscles varies. If you're just starting to work out with ankle weights, use the smaller 1-lb. to 2-lb. versions first and build up. Some core exercises that provide a good opportunity to add in ankle weights includes the reverse crunch, bicycle crunches and leg raises.

Leg Exercises

Galt Tech suggests using 5 lbs. or more for your leg exercises. It's important to start light and build up the weight as leg strength increases. Some exercises you can complete with ankle weights include single-legs squats, leg extensions from a chair and leg curls while face down on a bench. Ankle weights are great inclusions for exercises designed for the inner and outer thigh.

Cardiovascular Exercise

You may want to find alternatives for increasing the intensity of your cardiovascular workout. The American Council on Exercise warns that ankle weights may alter your walking stride, potentially leading to injury. It's better to increase the intensity or duration of your cardiovascular exercise routine.

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