Ankle weights are weighted products that you strap around your ankles to help add resistance when performing aerobic activities or leg exercises.
Wearing ankle weights during your workout or throughout the day can help you to build strength and endurance in your lower body.
1. Yes4All Ankle Weight Set
Yes4All ankle weight offers options between 2 and 10 pounds per pair with even weight distribution throughout each weight. Constructed with smooth neoprene material, this ankle weight offers reduced chafing and skin irritation.
It includes a secure D-ring and a large Velcro band to provide a more secure and tailored fit. For these reasons, it’s our #1 pick.
2. Healthy Mode Life Ankle Weights Set
Worn by Victoria Secret angels, these ankle weights offer maximum padding to avoid skin irritation during even intense exercise.
Healthy Mode Life provides ankle weights up to 8lbs, ensuring even the most intense fitness athletes have a challenge.
3. All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights
All Pro ankle weights allow for 0.5lb increments, which makes improving strength easy for all levels. Additional padding around the ankle and heel prevents discomfort and irritation of the skin.
These ankle weights go up to 5lbs, making them ideal for beginners.
4. TNT Pro Series Ankle Weights
This 6-pound maximum ankle weight set is one of the most durable options on the market given its adjustable metal strap and impressive closure system.
TNT Pro Series uses lightweight fabric material and iron pellets in order to improve comfort and breathability with use.
5. Sportneer Ankle Weights
Sportneer ankle weights come with removable sand pockets that allow you to adjust the weight to your needs. With easy to adjust velcro straps and a maximum length of nearly 15 inches, this set provides can be tailored to fit ankles of all sizes.
Its reinforced stitching for added durability will guarantee a long life.
6. Boveker Ankle Weights
Boveker provides some of the most breathable ankle weights on the market, with its cotton material that absorbs excess moisture during exercise.
With seven product options available, ranging from 1 to 10 pounds per set, there’s a pair for every level of fitness.
7. BalanceFrom GoFit Fully Adjustable Ankle Weights
This ankle weight set is constructed of a neoprene exterior included for enhanced durability while the interior is developed of breathable and comfortable material.
BalanceFrom GoFit ankle weights max out at 10 pounds, and offer weight increments of 1.5-pounds.
8. Prodigen Adjustable Ankle Weights Set
Prodigen ankle weights are great for beginners, providing up to 3.5 pounds of resistance per ankle. Each weight comes with five removable bags that allow you to adjust the weight to your current strength and exercise routine.
It’s also engineered with sturdy straps to hold the weight place; preventing sliding and skin irritation during intense training sessions.
9. Day 1 Fitness Ankle Weights
Day 1 Fitness provides ankle weights that are great for experienced users, maxing out at 10 pounds per weight. The secure velcro straps prevent unnecessary slipping and excess sweating during intense training sessions.
10. NewGen Invisible Ankle Weights
NewGen Invisible Ankle Weights are most unique product on this list, encompassing the entire lower leg which allows you to wear your ankle weights beneath your pants throughout the day.
Each pair is capable of weighing up to 20 pounds and comes with removable metal bars to allow you to adjust the weight.
How We Ranked
NewGen made our list for providing a different type of ankle weight, that’s able to hide under your pants and blend in. It uses metal bars, which can be uncomfortable and provide uneven weight distribution, which is why it ranked last. Prodigen provided beginner ankle weights that fit well. They only go up to 3.5lbs though making them pretty useless for more fit individuals.
BlanceFrom ankle weights offered comfortable, breathable material to minimize skin irritation during the workout. Unfortunately, it’s 1.5lb increments are not ideal for a lot of populations, who need smaller jumps in weight, so they aren’t overwhelmed. Sportneer found its way to the middle of the pack, offering a high quality and comfortable product that fit all size of ankles thanks to its 15inches of velcro. TNT offered an amazing ankle weight product but fell short because it used iron pellets, over the more comfortable sandbags.
All Pro took 3rd place for providing an ankle weight that goes up in 0.5 increments. It maxes out at 5lbs, making it suitable for intermediate athletes at best. Healthy Mode Life is the ankle weight choice of Victoria Secret angels for its durability, quality, and comfort. While a great product, it was a little bit overpriced for its simplicity.
Our top pick, Yes4All ankle weights, provides even weight distribution with its sandbags that go up to 10lbs per ankle weight – challenging even the fittest individuals. Its neoprene material prevents excess sweat build-up while minimizing chafing. It also comes with secrets velcro straps to minimize slipping. At a reasonable price, it’s no surprise that Yes4All ankle weights took our top spot.
Ankle weights can improve knee joint positioning. As you get older and begin to develop conditions like arthritis, it can be much more challenging to position your knees properly as you move. In a 2016 study, researchers focused on how the use of ankle weights can improve knee proprioception in elderly individuals. By the conclusion of the study, scientists determined that wearing appropriately weighted ankle weights could help to improve knee joint positioning in older populations.
With adequate levels of proprioception in the knees, the elderly are much less likely to lose their balance and develop muscle and joint conditions as a result of walking improperly. This can be pivotal when it comes to injury prevention and maintained mobility (1).
Ankle weights might help to improve cardiovascular endurance. In 1989, scientists analyzed how wearing ankle and wrist weights could affect cardiovascular performance. While wearing ankle weights, participants had their blood lactate and perceived exertion observed by researchers while they exercised on a treadmill. Study participants with ankle weights exerted much more energy and effort subconcosuly than when ankle weights were not worn. As such, these products can help to boost caloric expenditure and improve cardiovascular endurance (2).
Ankle weights could help you burn more calories. In a 1990 study, scientists centered their attention around seven female runners. As a part of this experiment, the female runners strapped on a pair of ankle weights and ran on the treadmill, while scientists evaluated key points of data.
Though the study participants with ankle weights ultimately ran slower, they did appear to exert more energy and burn a greater number of calories throughout the entire process. Researchers concluded that ankle weights might help support weight loss by burning more calories (3).
Ankle weights are most effective in sedentary populations. In 1975, eight men were recruited to participate in a study looking to determine the correlation between wearing ankle weights and various health markers, more sedentary populations. Scientists analyzed the effects on the heart rate and VO2 responses in study participants after cycling and walking while wearing ankle weights. After a 9-week intervention period, researchers found that using ankle weights as a part of a walking and cycling routine in sedentary individuals, provided a greater chance of reducing heart rate levels and improving endurance overall (4).
Ankle weights can be used to rehabilitate injured or weak legs. In a 1995 study focusing on children with spastic cerebral palsy, researchers experimented with new methods of building the strength of the quadriceps muscle to improve gait in children. Despite the weaker hamstrings and quadriceps common in populations with cerebral palsy, the children in this study experienced an increased strength in their quadriceps muscle and improved gait when walking and moving around (5).
Ankle weights can positively improve falls. Falls can be exceptionally dangerous as you age due to weaker bones and muscles – which makes avoiding them all that more important. A 2010 study had elderly women wear ankle weights as part of a three month intervention period, during which they followed a consistent walking routine. The ultimate goal of the study was to determine whether ankle weights can help improve balance and reduce the risk of falling in older individuals.
After three months, researchers concluded that the weight walking regimen was an effective method for improving fitness while also reducing the likelihood of experiencing a traumatic fall (6).
Ankle weights can help to build strength in older populations. In a 1999 study, scientists gathered 22 elderly individuals with difficulty sitting, standing, and walking. With the assistance of physical therapists, these individuals were exposed to ankle weight training in their own homes three times per week.
After 12 weeks of progressive overload, study participants demonstrated greater strength in their legs, improved efficiency when walking, and less time required to go from a standing to a sitting position, and vice versa. Researchers concluded that ankle weights are a great exercise alternative for frail and elderly individuals and help build strength in older populations (7).
Ankle weights can help strengthen breathing muscles. Ankle weights can be used in weighted breathing exercises, which helps to strengthen breathing muscles. This is especially important for people who suffer from asthma. A 2013 review found that weighted breathing can stop asthma attacks and even eliminate symptoms for life. they can also help patients suffering from asthma get off their medications (8).
Ankle weights can help move blood flow up the body. Ankle weights can help activate the leg muscle more, improving total body blood flow. This is especially important for persons that may suffer from Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome causes blood to pool in the lower half of the body, leading to a sharp increase in heart rate (sometimes up to 30 beats per minute more). Ankle weights help activate the legs, moving blood around the body, which can reduce Postural orthostatic tachycardia symptoms.
Ankle weights can lower exercise confidence. Despite the fact that there appears to be potential when it comes to wearing ankle weights and boosting power and strength in the lower body, these products also seem to influence the perception of distance in those who wear them. In a 2009 study, researchers were attempting to discover the connection between jumping performance and perceived abilities. In particular, scientists placed additional emphasis on how ankle weights can impact perceived athletic abilities.
The study concluded that wearing ankle weights led study participants to believe that they were incapable of completing a designated jump because they felt the ankle weights would prevent them from being successful (9).
Ankle weights might negatively impact your gait and ability to walk properly. Depending on how often you use them and the method of use, ankle weights have the potential to negatively impact your gait and ability to walk properly.
In a 1993 study, 10 participants were observed while walking and wearing ankle weights. Over the course of one-minute intervals, scientists placed a stern focus on the levels of oxygen consumption and velocities of the study’s participants. Researchers concluded that wearing ankle weights significantly caused a decrease in velocity and less oxygen consumption over the recorded period of time. In plain english, ankle weights didn’t too much in the way of improving walking abilities and speed (10).
Ankle weights can be uncomfortable and hurt performance. Ankle weights are meant to be worn to improve strength and endurance in the lower body, but uncomfortable products can lead to reduced performance. In a 1988 study, researchers wanted to focus on the physiological effects of wearing ankle weights during aerobic exercise. Eight study participants engaged in a 30-minute treadmill exercise in which their heart rates and VO2 capabilities were recorded.
Though there was a slight increase in caloric expenditure, there were no significant effects that could lead to weight loss or match the claims made by many ankle weight manufacturers. Scientists also determined that the discomfort of ankle weights could hinder performance (11).
Ankle weights may not improve strength. In a 1996 study, 12 study participants experiencing postpolio were recruited for the study to determine whether ankle weights can help improve with muscular strength and performance. Throughout the study, participants engaged in a 12-week program focused on improving the strength of the quadriceps muscle.
After 12 weeks, study participants appeared to increase the amount of weight used in their ankle weights. However, there seemed to be no positive influence on muscular strength itself by the end of the study.
Though there are some positive effects associated with ankle weights, they aren’t that effective in increasing strength levels in young and healthy populations (12).
Ankle weights can be used as often as you like, but there are a few guidelines you should follow to avoid injury and overuse. If you’ve never used ankle weights in the past or if you’re recovering from an injury, you should lean towards buying ankle weights that weigh about one pound. Even better, purchase a set that has an adjustable weight. This will allow you to increase the weight as your skill improves.
The actual weight that you use will depend on the strength of your lower body muscles and joints. It would be best to experiment with different weights to see what works best for you and your fitness goals.
Always make sure that the ankle weights are properly secured around your ankles and aren’t rubbing against your skin, as this can cause irritation.
You can also switch it up a bit and use your ankle weights around your wrists instead. Most products advertise themselves as multi-use, and these exercises can help you to build strength in your triceps, biceps, wrists, and shoulders.
What is a good weight for ankle weights? Many ankle weights start at one pound per weight, but some options weigh up to 20 pounds. Your best bet would be to experiment with the weights and tailor it to your workout. If you’re using them to walk for an extended period of time, you might want to limit your ankle weights to a maximum of 5 pounds.
What do ankle weights do while walking? When you walk with additional weight around your ankles, you’re increasing the amount of energy needed to perform the task. This can help to reduce your resting heart rate, improve your cardiovascular endurance, and burn additional calories along the way. You’ll also help strengthen and tone the lower leg muscles.
Do ankle weights slim your legs? Ankle weights won’t necessarily slim your legs as much as they’ll tone the muscles and build strength. Exercising your legs more frequently won’t target fat loss in that area, though using ankle weights definitely can help to enhance muscle size and appearance. If you consistently use your ankle weights enough to burn a ton of calories, it’s possible that you might slim your legs.
Will wearing ankle weights build muscle? Just like any resistance training technique, wearing ankle weights can help to improve muscle definition and size.
What is inside ankle weights? Most ankle weights, especially adjustable ones, include small weighted sandbags. These bags are easily removable and provide a more comfortable fit when performing vigorous exercises.
Other ankle weight sets are a bit more traditional and contain actual metal bars to add weight. These are not as popular since they tend to be uncomfortable.
How do you perform weighted lunges with ankle weights? First, attach the ankle weights to each ankle. Next, take a step forward, bending both legs and sinking towards the ground. Drive your front heel into the ground, as you press back up, keeping your abs tight through the entire process, so you don’t lose your balance. Repeat using your other leg in front.
Do ankle weights help ramp up calorie burn? Yes, ankle weights can help enhance calorie burn by providing more resistance and forcing the body to work harder during an exercise session.
Is it healthy to wear ankle weights? In normal persons, ankle weights are completely safe to use, helping you build lower body strength and endurance while performing your normal day-to-day activities.
Excessive usage can lead to muscle strains and joint issues – although it’s unlikely if the weights are only a couple of pounds.
Do ankle weights help with sprinting? Ankle weights can help improve power during sprint training by providing more resistance. Too much weight, though, can cause strains and injuries, especially during highly explosive training like sprinting.
Why shouldn’t you wear ankle weights all day? Wearing ankle weights consistently like this can cause an overuse of your muscles, which can lead to injuries and joint issues. It’s essential to give your body adequate rest when performing resistance training, even if the light is extremely light.
Will ankle weights help with weight loss? Ankle weights can help with weight loss by helping to burn more calories. However, the actual increase isn’t all that significant, and this wouldn’t be an effective method of trying to lose weight. You should add other aerobic activities into your daily routine to help maximize weight loss with the use of ankle weights.
Can ankle weights improve your vertical jump? If you’re using ankle weights to practice your vertical jump, you might notice an improvement in height and power.
Is it safe to run with ankle weights? Ankle weights are safe to use while running when used in moderation. LIghter ankle weights are ideal here as running already takes a lot of effort and energy. Heavy weights can cause trips, falls, and muscle strains – especially on longer runs. If at any point you notice pain or discomfort in your legs, you should stop and remove the ankle weights.
How do you perform weights arm circles with ankle weights? Performing arm circles with ankle weights is fairly straightforward and first requires you to attach the ankle weights to your wrist. Bring your arms out to each side, keeping your torso tight so that you don’t slouch. Rotate your arms clockwise for a few repetitons, then counter-clockwise as well.
Can ankle weights strengthen your breathing muscles? Yes, ankle weights can strengthen your breathing muscles if you follow a proper resistance training program for your breathing muscles.
Are ankle weights bad for your joints? Ankle weights can be harmful to your joints if used in excess. When you exercise, microtears occur in your muscles and joints. With appropriate recovery time, your muscles and joints repair themselves and make you stronger than you were before (this is how your muscles grow). By using heavy ankle weights or light weights more often, you limit your body’s ability to recover properly, which can lead to a whole host of issues down the line.
Do ankle weights improve gait? Ankle weights have been proven to improve gait in children with spastic cerebral palsy. Furthermore, they can help increase the strength of their leg muscles.
How many calories do ankle weights burn? According to Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, comibning 1-3 pound weights with aerobic execercise can incrase caroic expenditure by up to 1%. Combining small weights and aerobic exercise has also been shown to increase heart rate by three to five beats per minute and oxygen consumption (13).
Do ankle weights build strength in the elderly? Ankle weights can help build strength in the elderly by providing light resistance training without straining the muscles too much. In young populations, ankle weights have shown to have no effect on strength levels, unless the individual in question does not engage in regular physical activity.
How do ankle weights influence the perception of distance? Ankle weights can affect the perception of distance by robbing you of confidence. This is because the weight makes you think you can’t jump as far as you actually can. This can dramatically affect performance, reducing any sort of strength gain benefits ankle weights would provide in the first place.
Are ankle weights comfortable? The major reason many people find ankle weights to be uncomfortable is that they tend to slide with movement, irritating the surrounding skin. As such, it’s essential to use ankle weights that are made with sandbags and comfortable material to avoid excess irritation. Ankle weights made with metal plates as weights can be extremely uncomfortable, as they can dig into the skin. The most important thing you should do to enhance comfort while wearing ankle weights is making sure that they’re strapped securely around your ankles and don’t move too much while exercising.
Do ankle weights increase your height? Unfortunately, there is no science showing that ankle weights can increase your height.
How do you perform a squat with a leg lift when an ankle weight is attached? First, start by attaching the weight to each ankle. Next, stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart, and then bend your legs, dropping your bum to the ground. As you rise up, driving your feels to the floor, life one leg sideways towards the sky. Repeat the squat and leg lift with your other leg, and you have completed one repetition.
Can exercising with weights build strength? Yes, exercising with weights, such as ankle weights, wrist weights, and weighted vests have been shown to increase strength. A 2012 study demonstrated that the combination of wight and aerobic exercise was more effective at increasing lean muscle than just aerobic exercise alone in obese individuals (14).
Another 2012 study showed that men wearing a weighted vest during aerobic training improved speed and agility (15).
Can you wear ankle weights wile cycling? While it is possible to wear ankle weights during cycling, it’s not recommended as it can lead to falls and injuries.
Can ankle weights help build your glutes? Ankle weights can help build all muscles of the lower body, including the glutes. This might occur while walking or running normally, but exercises like donkey kicks and leg raises will yield more positive results. Exercises that require your legs to move backward, engage, and flex the glutes, which is what leads to muscle building.
Will ankle weights strengthen ankles? Though they’re strapped around your ankles, ankle weights are more likely to strengthen your hips and leg muscles instead of your ankles. The reason being is that ankle weights don’t necessarily challenge the ankles, which require a lot of side to side movement to strengthen. Unless you are engaging in a lot of explosive plyometric jump training that involves a lot of quick directional changes, ankles weights are unlikely to help develop and strengthen the ankles.
Can ankle weights improve fast-twitch muscle fibers? Running or walking with ankle weights isn’t the best way to improve fast-twitch type II muscle fibers since these fibers need explosive training to grow. Instead, running or walking with ankle weights may help improve slow-twitch muscle fibers.
Do ankle weights improve your heart rate? Ankle weights can help strengthen your heart by providing more of a challenge – helping it grow stronger and more fit.
Are ankle weights expensive? In general, ankle weights are fairly cheap.
Do ankle weights help with balance? Ankle weights can help with balance, especially in older adults, by improving knee joint positioning and strengthening the leg muscles. This can help drastically reduce falls and bone breaks. A 3-month study done on elderly women confirmed that walking with ankle weights helps to improve fitness and reduce the likelihood of falls (16).
Can ankle weights improve cardiovascular endurance? Yes, when combined with a proper exercise program, ankle weights can help improve cardiovascular endurance.
Do ankle weights work better for active or sedentary populations? Ankle weights work better in sedentary populations, helping to reduce heart rate levels and improve endurance. The reason is that active individuals normally use resistance during training, and ankle weights are just normal resistance to them.
Can ankle weights worsen your ability to walk? Ankle weights may not reduce your ability to walk effectively, but it may also not improve it at all. One study involving 10 participants showed that ankle weights didn’t help improve walking speed or abilities (17).
Can ankle weights hamper performance? Ankle weights may decrease performance if they are too heavy or uncomfortable. They may also decrease performance by affecting an athlete’s psychology.
Are ankle weights effective in the pool? Yes, ankle weights are effective for water workouts and help to improve exercises in the pool. They also help keep you grounded in place, which makes the whole workout a little bit easier.
How do you perform weighted breathing exercises with ankle weights? To perform a weighted breathing exercise, place the ankle weight on your abdomen as you are lying on your back. Now breathe deeply, lifting the weight as you inhale.
Can ankle weights help with asthma? Yes, ankle weights can help with asthma by strengthening the breathing muscles.
How do you perform supermans with ankle weights? Performing the superman exercise with ankle weights is fairly simple, and you start by attaching the weight to your ankles. On your stomach, extend your legs and arms out. Next, elevate your arms and legs off the ground, holding them as long as possible.
Can you target the entire body using ankle weights? Ankle weights are versatile enough to target the entire body in a single workout.
Should you use ankle weights during a brisk walk? No, ankle weights should not be used during a brisk walk, as they can cause muscle strains, joints issues and falls.
Can ankle weights make pre-existing injuries worse? Yes, ankle weights can make pre-existing injuries worse, by aggravating the injury. It can also place extra force on the recovering muscles and joints, further irritating the injury and prolonging recovery time.
Can ankle weights reduce postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome? Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or POTS is a health problem marked by a sudden increase in heart rate by 30 beats or more per minute when you stand up, causing blood to pool in the lower half of the body. Ankle weights can cause blood pooled around ankles to move up to your legs, reducing the symptoms of POTS in the process.
Can ankle weights cause excess joint loading? In persons that are chronically overweight or obese, ankle weights may cause excessive joint loading, which can lead to a lot of other issues. Ankle weights can also alter your gait, causing more imbalances, especially in obese individuals.
Whether you’re rehabilitating an injury or simply taking the first step in introducing fitness into your routine, ankle weights can be an incredibly useful tool. By strapping ankle weights on, you can help to build lower body strength and burn a few extra calories.
There are no major side effects to worry about, as long as you purchase a high-quality product.
For Fitbug’s #1 ankle weight recommendation, click here.