6 Proven Benefits of Ankle Weights (No. 4 is the best)
Many swear by the benefits of ankle weights. In fact, they have been used by fitness enthusiasts for generations.
The use of weighted clothing for fitness has a very long history. Many would attest to their effectiveness, while others dismiss it as a gimmick that can only cause injuries.
Perhaps the most common form of weighted clothing available on the market is ankle weights. According to many sports scientists, there are real benefits with using these weights for improving strength and performance.
In addition, there are other creative ways to use these weights as a means for improving overall physical fitness. The following are just some of the benefits of using ankle weights as part of your exercise routine.
Why you should use ankle weights?
1. Increased resistance
Adding more resistance is one way to improve the gains you can get from exercise. One of the easiest ways to add resistance is to add more weight, and this is where ankle weights can come into the equation.
If you are looking to strengthen and tone your leg muscles, then adding weights is one of the best ways to do it. You can use them during your workouts, or just place them in your feet during your daily walks.
When you get used to this increased resistance, you’ll be surprised by how much it will improve your overall performance. Among the performance benefits you can experience include increased speed, enhanced jumping ability, and improved endurance.
2. Added variety
The thing about the human body is that it constantly adapts to everything, and that includes your workouts.
Your body adapting to your workout routine is not exactly a great thing, because it causes your gains to be reduced. As such, it is important that you constantly add something to your training to keep your body challenged.
One way to do it is by using weighted clothing such as ankle weights. Doing your usual exercises such as leg raises and machine exercises with ankle weights on adds much-needed resistance and variation to your workout, keeping your body challenged and your gains at the maximum.
One of the biggest benefits of using ankle weights is its sheer versatility. There are simply too many ways you can use them.
These weights can be used for just about any kind of exercise, adding resistance to some of your favorite lower body workouts. From calf raises to plyometric workouts, you can use ankle weights to your advantage in a variety of ways.
Because of its versatility, it is wise to get at least a pair of ankle weights, as you can use it for virtually any kind of lower body exercise. As a bonus, these weights are usually affordable and available in many stores, so getting one should not be all that difficult.
4. Sculpts your lower body
We already know how the use of ankle weights can significantly improve lower body strength. But did you know that using these weights can also help in improving the shape of your lower body muscles?
One great benefit of using ankle weights is that it helps strengthen your leg and thigh muscles without necessarily adding muscle mass. It is also great for burning off fat stored in the lower body.
If you want to have those sculpted legs, you cannot go wrong with working out using ankle weights.
5. Increased work rate
It has been proven in research that using ankle weights actually increases your work rate during workouts.
A research once uncovered that using a pair of 3-pound ankle weights has the ability to increase your oxygen intake and heart rate by 5 to 10 percent compared to doing those same workouts without weights.
These increased rates means your body is consuming more calories per second, meaning you should be losing more weight if you use these weights consistently. It should also ultimately improve your cardiovascular health, which helps in increasing endurance and preventing cardiovascular disease.
6. Also works out non-leg muscles
There are many creative ways that you can use ankle weights. In fact, you can even use them to work out other parts of your body.
For example, you can use ankle weights to develop your breathing muscles. You can do this by placing the weights on your chest. This would help strengthen your respiratory muscles such as the diaphragm and intercostals.
Ankle weights can also be used for strengthening the core. For example, you can use ankle weights to add more resistance to lower abdominal exercises such as bicycle crunches and abdominal lifts.
Some even use these weights to add more resistance in cross-training exercises such as cycling and swimming. Adding ankle weights is a deceptively good way to increase your work rate.
7. The risks of using ankle weights
One of the reasons why the popularity of ankle weights has not taken off is because of the misconception that these products cause injury. There are specific scenarios when using them basically negates the benefits you can gain from it.
One such scenario is if you are suffering from an injury in any part of your lower body. Injuries in the feet, legs, knees, and even the hips can be worsened by continued use of ankle weight.
One reason that explains how injuries may develop from using ankle weights is compensation. When you are injured and/or carrying excess weight (as in the case of wearing weights), your body compensates, resulting to faulty body mechanics.
Improper compensation due to weight can cause an injury. This is a much bigger problem for people who are either overweight or weak.
As such, it is recommended that you consult your doctor (preferably an orthopedic specialist) before trying on ankle weights. This is especially so if you are coming off an injury or a surgical procedure.
While there is a slight risk of injury in using ankle weights, proper use of it can be highly beneficial in a lot of ways.
Backed by evidence, the benefits of ankle weights are numerous. As long as it is used the right way, these products should raise your conditioning to the next level.