Ankle Weight Exercises

Ankle weights make great exercise tools for individuals of all ages. Not only are they easy to carry around, but they also provide an accessible way to perform strength training exercises anywhere.

Ankle weights can be used in many ways. For light training and injury rehabilitation, using them provides a small amount of resistance.

You can find ankle weights at your local sporting goods or fitness store for an affordable price.

Ankle Weights for Injuries

Ankle weights can help you nurse injuries back to life. They are often used in physical rehabilitation facilities to help people regain strength lost from an accident or sports injury.

Strength training exercises performed with ankle weights are especially helpful for individuals over age 60, for those recovering from an injury or surgery, and for disease and pain management.

The Full-Body Approach

Most people struggle to make time to complete a workout. And heavy pieces of full-body exercise equipment take up a lot of space in your home or workplace. Using ankle weights provides a solution to both of these problems.

Keep in mind that ankle weights are usually light (5 to 10 pounds), so don’t expect to gain muscle from an ankle weight workout.

Individuals with knee or hip issues should avoid using ankle weights around the ankles. Ankle weights should also only be used for strength training exercises, not during cardio like walking or running. Wearing them during cardio movement can strain your ankle joints or leg muscles, putting you at risk for injury.

Try out these exercises for an ankle weight workout.

1. Squat with Leg Lift

Equipment needed: ankle weights
Muscles worked: abs, glutes, hips, calves, shins, and thighs

  1. Attach 1 weight to each ankle.
  2. Stand upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bend your legs and drop your bottom down. Your legs should form a 90-degree angle.
  4. Drive your weight up through your heels and push your body upright again.
  5. As you rise up, lift 1 leg up and out to the side (toward the sky). Bring it back down.
  6. Sink back down into the squat, come back up, and then lift the other leg up and outward.
  7. Perform 5 sets of 10 repetitions (5 on each leg during each set). At the end of the last set, your legs should feel tight, especially on the outside of your glutes.

2. Supermans

Equipment needed: ankle weights
Muscles worked: back, hips, glutes, and shoulders

Expert Tip:
You can make this an upper body challenge by attaching the ankle weights to your wrists instead of your ankles.
  1. Attach 1 weight to each ankle.
  2. Lie flat on your stomach with your arms and legs extended out in front and behind you, respectively.
  3. Elevate your arms and legs off of the ground so that your chest and quads are airborne. Hold for 15 seconds.
  4. Perform 5 sets, holding 15 seconds for each set.

3. Weighted Arm Circles

Equipment needed: ankle weights
Muscles worked: biceps, triceps, and deltoids

  1. Stand upright with ankle weights attached to your wrists. Maintain a strong posture by keeping your chest out, shoulders back, and core tight.
  2. Bring your arms out to each side. They should be parallel to your collarbone. Resist the urge to relax your torso and let your foundation become wobbly.
  3. Start by rotating your arms in circular motions. Go forward for 10 rotations, then backward for 10 rotations.
  4. Repeat.

4. Weighted Lunges

Equipment needed: ankle weights
Muscles worked: quadriceps, glutes, abs, and hips

  1. Start by standing upright with 1 weight attached to each ankle.
  2. Take a large step forward with your front leg, then bend both legs and sink down toward the ground so that your back knee grazes the ground.
  3. Drive your weight down through your heel to push your body back upward. Make sure to keep your torso upright throughout the entire movement.
  4. Perform the same move with your left leg.
  5. Perform 4 sets of 20 repetitions, 10 on each leg per set.

The Takeaway

You can target all major muscle groups (head to toe) using only ankle weights. They provide you the ability to workout in a confined area like next to your work desk or in your living room. Always see your doctor before starting a new fitness regimen. Stop exercising if you experience any pain.

Jessica Salyer