You may have noticed that ankle weights are a typical tool at any gym and many trainers use them in their workout routines lately. But are they safe? a physiotherapist explains everything you need to know about ankle weights
What are ankle weights?
As its name says, they are weights that you slip onto your ankles to do exercise. They are used to increase strength, musculature, and mass in your glutes, quadriceps, and calves and they are also used to improve endurance. But can you use them for any exercise? No, so here we explain when you should and shouldn't use ankle weights.
According to specialists, you can use ankle weights for most strengthening exercises, especially those that target the hips and legs. But even though they are a great addition to your home gym equipment and can replace dumbbells, they are not good for all types of exercises.
How heavy should ankle weights be?
There are many ankle weights with different weights, so it is advisable to start light with something that you can tolerate. The sports physiotherapist Leada Malek said, "Always start lighter than you think, and make sure the weight feels tolerable throughout the whole set." When in doubt, start with one- to two-pound weights, she recommended, "then gradually increase to what feels comfortably challenging, but not impossible."
But if you feel pain, you should reduce the weight and ask a specialist. In addition, if you have a history of back pain or joint pain, before using them speak to a doctor so as not to worsen your symptoms since you are treating with the biomechanics of a load being added to an extremity.
When you shouldn’t use ankle weights
Dr. Malek recommended avoiding ankle weights with cardio and aerobic workouts, such as running and walking since this can cause a muscle imbalance: “the repetitive nature of the movements and the load of the weight favoring some muscles and not others, causing a muscle imbalance,” she said.