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The most effective workouts are all about variety. How can you continue to throw different exercises, angles and training methods at your body to constantly challenge it, ensuring it never gets too comfortable? Incorporating different fitness tools is a great place to start. And if lower body strength and working out at home are both priorities for you, we recommend snagging a pair of the best ankle weights.
Small and easily stored, these handy little training tools securely wrap around your ankles and weigh between 1 and 10 pounds. The best ankle weights are sold in sets of two, although some ankle weights come with adjustable pouches that allow for more versatility. Many ankle weights can also double as wrist weights, depending on their design. Ankle weights are a useful add-on for many workout routines, whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced athlete.
An alternative to other heavy-duty strength training tools like barbells and dumbbells, ankle weights often appear in workout routines for building glute and hip strength. But they also can aid in a more clinical sense as well, like improving walking gait and balance in older adults. And because they’re so light and easy to transport or stow, ankle weights are perfect for home workouts that don’t require a ton of equipment.
When shopping for ankle weights, some factors to consider are comfort, weight and what kind of activity is being completed. There are many differently weighted options out there that can be chosen according to your fitness level.
We’ve listed seven of the best ankle weights available right now, as well as five of the best ankle weight exercises to help you target different muscle groups. If you’re looking to make your home workouts more intense, it’s time to invest in a pair of ankle weights.
The Best Ankle Weights
1. REEHUT Durable Ankle Weights
These ankle weights are made of breathable mercerized cotton with an interior that absorbs sweat. A sturdy velcro strap ensures that your weights won/t be uncomfortably bouncing around throughout your activity. Although the velcro has a powerful hold, these weights are easy to take on and off, and one reviewer even wears them under socks for convenient daily use.
2. The Cuff Original Adjustable Ankle Weight
These trendy color-coded ankle weights from The Cuff don’t just look good — they get the job done, too. Unlike many nylon or neoprene accessories, these weights won’t absorb sweat and are easy to clean thanks to a vinyl exterior that is double stitched for extra resilience. The options on these sets make your workout completely customizable, and this brand is one of the only to offer sets with a rack for hanging.
3. Sportneer Ankle Weights
BEST ADJUSTABLE PICK
Sportneer offers the best ankle weights with adjustable heaviness. This popular option is universally sized and easy to extend or shorten. A sturdy exterior promises long-lasting quality, but a soft and breathable feel ensures that your skin is happy through the most rigorous workouts. The adjustable aspect offers tons of variety, such as usage on arms or wrists, and users can gradually increase weight without needing to purchase multiple pairs. This model is weighted with flexible sand inserts.
4. Bala Bandles Wearable Ankle Weights
This bougie ankle weight option from Bala Bangles is one of the more aesthetically-pleasing options on this list, and that’s what you’re really paying for. In terms of weight, all weight is going to be similar in how they feel. These come in a range of fun colors and a chunky design that looks great. They’re just two pounds each, so not a ton of weight which is perfect for those just starting out or those who only want to amp up the intensity slightly. They can be worn on wrists or ankles and are one size fits all.
5. Gaiam Ankle Weights
BEST FOR YOGA/ PILATES
Yoga and pilates are some of the most common workouts for the addition of ankle weights, and these are made of doing just that. This 5 lb set includes two 2.5 lb weights that are designed for a comfortable fit that’ll stick with you throughout your training session. They have high-quality velcro closures that’ll keep the weight from shifting and sliding too much in motion — a useful feature during workouts where you go upside down a lot. The reinforced stitching make these ideal for repeated use as they won’t wear out over time.
6. Nordic Lifting Ankle Weights
MOST COMFORTABLE PICK
If comfort and decadence are what you’re looking for, these pillowy weights are without a doubt the choice to make. The velcro closure pad is larger than most, and a subtle reflective trim is a sleek integration of an important safety feature. These weights also come with a complimentary carry bag for easy portability. Anyone troubled by thin or plasticky materials will quickly love this thick alternative, which is used by both professional athletes and those new to fitness.
7. Day 1 Fitness Ankle/Wrist Weights
BEST BUDGET PICK
These ankle/wrist weights from Day 1 Fitness come with a modest price tag and superior quality. They’re designed to be comfortable, ergonomic and are designed for building strength with weight progression options between 0.5 lbs and 10 lbs. They have extra fabric to help avoid chafing and the adjustable straps have a setting that will fit most people. The straps are also reinforced so they won’t give out mid-workout, and the whole weight is made with breathable fabric that’ll absorb sweat and prevent slipping.
The Best Ankle Weight Exercises
1. Superman Exercise
Superman holds are deceptively tough and great for engaging your core and lower back. Though they’re traditionally performed with only your body weight, a set of ankle weights (or two, if you want to strap them onto your ankles and wrists), will add an extra challenge. To perform the superman exercise, lie on your stomach with your arms extended above your head. Lift your arms and legs off the ground as far as you can. You should feel your lower back and glutes engage to support the movement. Hold for 30 seconds, then rest before repeating.
2. Flutter Kicks
Ankle weights lend themselves particularly well to pretty much every ab exercise. Our personal favorite ankle weight ab exercise, though, is the humble flutter kick. They’re tough enough on their own, but it’s pretty tough to add any kind of weight during flutter kicks. Dumbbells are too heavy and won’t stay in place. Resistance bands could work, but finding something to anchor them to is tricky. Ankle weights are perfect for flutter kicks, because your ankles are driving the exercise.
Lie flat on your back with your palms facing the ground under your butt, creating a platform for your body to rest on. Now, when you position your body in a straight line, your legs will hover above the ground. With your legs extended, alternate lifting each leg up and down in a back-and-forth kicking motion. You should really feel your lower abs doing the work here.
3. Glute Kickbacks
On a quest for a better butt? Well, ankle weights are a favorite among those building strength in their glutes. Those types of exercises tend to enlist steady, targeted movements you can do on your living room floor. The glute kickback is a particularly convenient exercise made even more effective with the help of some ankle weights. To perform, begin on your hands and knees. Keeping your knee bent, push your leg upwards with the sole of your foot moving toward the ceiling. Your glutes should drive that pushing motion. Repeat on both legs for reps.
OK, so burpees are already absolutely brutal. A few sets of 10 reps will have you gasping for air and your body feeling the burn. But if a bodyweight burpee somehow isn’t enough of a challenge for you, try performing it with ankle weights on your wrists and legs. Since burpees rely on all four of your limbs, the added weight will make a huge difference. Begin by standing in a neutral, athletic position. Lower your arms to the ground, then kick your legs back so you enter a high plank. Drop your body to the ground, push up, then spring your legs forward so you can stand up and jump toward the sky. It’s a multi-faceted exercise that should be performed quickly to reap the benefits. Check out the video below for a visual demonstration.
5. Ankle Weight Workout
If you want to create a bigger circuit of ankle weight exercises, check out this awesome video from YouTuber Dale Findley. He makes incredibly effective use of a couple of pairs of ankle weights, performing exercises that target the entire body, while paying particular attention to the abs and legs. He also incorporates some cardio exercises that can help you burn calories and fat. Seriously, if you need the perfect ankle weight exercises starter pack, look no further.