Best Ankle Weights Reviewed
While not as common to use as a cheap barbell set, ankle weights can be a good exercise aid as they can make even the simplest aerobic workouts seem more intense. Worn on the lower legs, adding them to a jogging or biking session can help you feel the burn even faster than before, allowing you to shed more calories, fat and pounds off in a single session. Ankle weights may allow you to get the workout you have always wanted.
You should keep a few things in mind before opting to use ankle weights in your workout, though. They can be potentially dangerous despite their rather simple mechanism of use, so people who use ankle weights must exercise a little caution when using them. They can be only about as dangerous as that Olympic barbell you may have at your gym, or that Roman chair you like to use if you are already trained to use ankle weights, though.
What Are Ankle Weights?
Ankle weights are relatively self-explanatory; they are small, weighted pouches which are wrapped around the ankles, and are designed to make activities like jogging much more intense. Ankle weights can be filled with any kind of material to make them heavier such as lead pellets, metal bars, or even clumps of sand.
Typically, ankle weights are secured to the ankle by means of a Velcro strap. Other manufacturers may use plastic buckles or fasteners in order for the user to disengage the ankle weights from the legs easier. The kind of mechanism which secures an ankle weight to the leg may vary depending on the model you choose.
The extra resistance that ankle weights provide when performing even the most basic of exercises can make them a good training aid, especially if you are in a hurry to lose weight or bulk up. Runners and other kinds of athletes can use them to significantly increase the difficulty of their fitness regimens in order to gain results for competitions faster.
Pros and Cons of Ankle Weights
Ankle weights can have the following benefits on health when used properly, they can also have a few disadvantages and health risks to them when used improperly, much like other forms of home gym equipment:
- As ankle weights add resistance to your normal aerobic regimen, they can add an element of resistance training to your warmup period, much like a rowing machine can.
- As a result of this added resistance, the person who exercises with a set of ankle weights will be able to build leg strength faster.
- Ankle weights also fasten directly on your ankles, so you do not need to fumble around while carrying them. They can be just as portable as you make of them.
- They are also diverse in nature; you can integrate them in more exercises than just your everyday jogging routine.
- The added weight can cause tension in the ankles, legs, and the lower areas of the body in general. If you feel painful after exercising with a set of ankle weights after a while, then take a rest.
- Overexertion with a set of ankle weights can also lead to exhaustion; passing out or blacking out while jogging in the middle of the city can be potentially dangerous.
- Injuries may also be exacerbated with the use of ankle weights, such as torn ligaments, sprains, cramps, joint dislocations and even serious muscle strain.
Ankle weights may not be recommended for people who are recuperating from injuries on the legs because of these reasons.
Alternatives to Ankle Weights
The risks involved with ankle weights can be fairly minimal, if not completely negligible should you already have previous experience in the gym. However, if you do concern yourself with even the slightest chance of injury, or if you are recovering from an injury in the legs, then you may be seeking alternatives to using ankle weights.
Here are a few alternatives that may allow you to get a complete exercise regimen, only without the use of ankle weights:
- Ankle weights can make your workout sessions shorter, yet more intense. Should your schedule allow for such, you may simply schedule longer aerobic workout sessions to reap the same rewards that a set of ankle weights can do for you in a shorter time span.
- If you would like to increase the rate at which you perform aerobic exercises, then you can try doing an exercise at faster, more intense intervals.
- Try to think of other ways to exercise the lower body if you do not prefer to use ankle weights. A Roman chair might be good for this purpose, as it can be used for a wide variety of exercises which work out the lower body and legs.
- You can also perform a variety of exercises with a set of free weights like a set of cheap dumbbells. There are many dumbbell exercises that also exercise the legs and lower body.
Ankle weights can only be as useful and as safe as you make of them. While they do present minimal health risks to even the most dumbfounded of gym goers, they can be potentially valuable exercise tools both in the gym, at home, and outdoors. If you feel that the risks are negligible enough to ignore, then don’t discount what a set of ankle weights can do for you.