Ankle Weights: Bane or Boon?

Do ankle weights strengthen or destroy your legs? Well, it really depends. Get the definitive answer here.

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If you’re considering wearing ankle weights while working out, you would probably want to know if ankle weights help train muscles or merely contribute to a higher risk of injury.

We are going to explore the banes and boons of wearing ankle weights so that you can decide what works for you. Read on to find out more!


Ankle weights are popular for a reason: they have their benefits and proper use can lead to proper gains.

Calorie Burner

Because your hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes have to exert more energy when working out with ankle weights, expect an increase in your heart rate during the workout.

According to the American Council on Exercise, “ankle weights ranging from 1 – 3 pounds can increase heart rate by an average of three to five beats per minute and oxygen uptake by 5 – 10% over unweighted conditions.”

Strengthen Leg Muscles

By doing lower body exercises such as leg raises and lunges while wearing ankle weights, you will increase the resistance each time you perform a rep. With the right intensity, you will see faster muscle gains. No more chopsticks for legs!

Strengthen Other Muscles

Can ankle weights be used to strengthen other muscles as well? The answer is yes. For example, wearing ankle weights while you do pull-ups will give additional resistance to each pull-up as well! You can also use ankle weights for abdominal exercises - fABulous, isn't it? (We're not sorry.)


Higher Risk of Injury

Using ankle weights will strain not only your muscles but also your bones and joints as well. As a result, improper use can lead to both short and long-term injuries as advised by experts. We don't want that!

Disproportionate Form

Besides the risk of injury through strains, wearing ankle weights while walking or running may change the mechanics of the way you walk or run. In addition to affecting your running gait, ankle weights can also cause your upper and lower legs to strengthen disproportionately. Definitely not a good look.

Ankle weights are popular for a reason: they have their benefits and proper use can lead to proper gains. 


Our verdict is this: it depends on how you use it. The most important factor is the nature of the exercise you are performing with ankle weights.

We would recommend that you use ankle weights for most stationary exercises such as leg raises, leg lifts, and pull-ups to add resistance and tone those muscles.

However, we would advise against the use of ankle weights for most non-stationary exercises such as walking and running to lower your risk of strain and injury. Swimming would be an exception in this case, as being underwater negates this risk. Although with that being said, experiencing a cramp in the pool while having ankle weights on isn't ideal. Tread lightly. Okay, no more puns. 


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

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