In a world full of booty bands and the latest and greatest ab rollers, it’s hard to know where to start with exercise gear.
Sometimes, sticking with the basics is best. One of the most time-efficient ways to tone is low-impact resistance training, and weighted wearables like ankle weights can help intensify the activity. They work well with a variety of cardiovascular and strength-based movements.
So you’re thinking of upping your workout resistance or making your home daily chores less yawn and more brawn?
Today I’ll share the best ankle weights for glutes, toned legs, a slim waist, or whatever your training goal is. My personal favorite ankle weights – the All Pro Adjustable.
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We have the five best ankle weights:
- All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights
- Nordic Lifting Ankle and Wrist Weights
- VALEO Ankle Weights
- CAP Barbell Adjustable Ankle Weights
- miR Adjustable Ankle Weights
Why Use Ankle Weights?
Ankle weights effectively increase the number of calories you burn because your muscles have to work harder. As a result, you’ll tone your legs faster than working out without additional weight.
Plus, once you tone and build muscle mass, your basal metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories when you’re resting) increases.
Ankle weights also offer an easy way to expedite rehabilitation after certain injuries. Physiotherapists sometimes recommend them for increasing joint stability. Of course, any exercises during rehab must be cleared by your medical practitioner or a certified physiotherapist.
The Downsides to Ankle Weights
Ankle weights can cause injury if used incorrectly. Often, people use them in addition to walking or aerobics but be a bit careful as it’s possible this can cause muscle imbalance if the quadriceps are overworked.
Injury is most common in higher impact movements, such as running or jumping, as the weights increase the load on your joints. If you have a pre-existing, lower body joint problem, ankle weights might not be for you. Check with your doctor if you’re not sure.
How to Use Ankle Weights
As the name suggests, simply strap your weights onto your ankles and you’re ready to go. If you’re using adjustable ankle weights, you can tweak the intensity by adding or removing weight.
A good rule of thumb is less weight for cardiovascular movements and more for resistance-based movements.
Common ways to use ankle weights for glutes include fire hydrants, donkey kicks, or clamshells.
Here’s a fire hydrant…
Core exercises with ankle weights can include leg raises, Russian twists, bicycles, scissor kicks, reverse crunches, or oblique mountain climbers.
Here’s a Russian twist – I love it with a medicine ball – you can really feel it in the obliques (side abs) and with ankle weights, it’s even more intense.
You can use your ankle weights for certain cardiovascular exercises too, just in case burpees weren’t difficult enough without added resistance. Burpees are so hard!
Are your exercises getting too easy? Add a little extra weight and progress your workouts.
Recommended Ankle Weight Exercises
These are some of my favorite exercises to complete with ankle weights. Of course, there’s plenty of options and you might come up with some of your own too. It appears that the favored workout using ankle weights or indeed the kitchen sink is on the glutes. Who knows the right answer anymore to “does my bum look big in this?” 🙂
Standing Leg Abduction
While standing, lift one leg horizontally as high as you can until you feel your glute medius engage or you cannot lift any higher. Hold for one second, then lower back down. Repeat 15 times on each leg for three sets.
Here’s a video with more ankle weight exercise ideas. It’s Pilates based but concentrates on the legs and core.
90-Degree Leg Raises
Lay on your back and support your lower back with your hands flat underneath your lumbar region. Raise your legs to 90 degrees or perpendicular to your body then lower them back down to the floor at 180 degrees. Repeat this 15 times for three sets.
Lay on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you. Lift your torso, legs, and arms as high as you can while keeping your glutes, core, legs, and arms engaged. Hold for one second, then lower down. Repeat this 15 times for three sets.
The Top Five Best Ankle Weights
Now that we’ve looked at what ankle weights are for and if they can benefit you, here’s my guide to the best ankle weights available.
All Pro Adjustable Ankle Weights – Best All Round
These loud and proud weights have a cushioned design with padding around the ankle joint and major tendons. For maximum comfort and maneuverability, always opt for good padding.
These are my favorites because the weight can be adjusted in small, half-pound increments up to 5 lbs for the lowest weight option. It’s perfect for progressing your workouts over time. There is also a 20 lb and 40 lb option – that is the total weight for the 2 ankles. They are going to seriously slow you down. more suitable I would say for the serious strength builders.
They’re very easy to fasten on and take off.
Recommended for any age but older adults find them a positive way of strengthening ankles and improving balance.
Well designed iron cigar-shaped weights act as ballast, better we think than the possible leakage that comes with sand or other fillings.
- 3 weight options
- Removable weights up to five pounds per ankle
- After fastening no movements or twists
- Durable and comfortable
- Velcro adjustable strap has no D-loop
- Hey, it is very 80s – not to everyone’s taste
Nordic Lifting Ankle and Wrist Weights – Best for rehab and Lighter Use
Nordic Lifting’s ankle weights aren’t adjustable but you have the option of purchasing one, two, three or four pounds worth of resistance. They are simple but cute and come with their own case. Suitable for wrists and ankles.
Unlike the All Pros weights, there is nothing to add or remove. Using sand as weight guarantees an element of comfort but they will no doubt not last as long as iron filled ones. Don’t use these in the pool as wet sand will further degrade the integrity of these ankle weights.
They are simple and effective though and with an attractive price point, makes for a savvy purchase.
They are 4.5 inches high and so are compact enough and designed for both wrists and ankles. Nordic’s offering is best for people with slim ankles. They are available as 1, 2, 3 and 5 lb – that’s for each of 2 weights.
- Adjustable strap fits smaller ankles and wrists
- Multiple weight increments available
- Velcro is heavy duty and does not come loose during workouts
- Wallet-friendly option
- Good for rehab
- Weights aren’t removable
- Not suitable for strength-oriented workouts
VALEO Ankle Weights – Great Budget Option
VALEO’s ankle weights range from one to five pounds. The product also uses sand as weight. Apart from the using sand which sits comfortably and conforms to your ankles, the other thing to say is that it’s better for the environment.
Ankle weights with removable weights can be hard to find in larger sizes, but VALEO’s product is designed to fit every body. If you’re a plus-sized user, you won’t have to worry about sending these back because they don’t fit.
Each ankle weight has 5 one pound removable sandbags that can be taken out to set the desired weight. The weight options range from one to five pounds, perfect for beginners and experienced users alike.
- Adjustable weights (1 lb sand bags)
- The sand weights feel more comfortable on ankles
- Longer strap to fit larger ankles
- The metal D-ring can rub and cause irritation
- The velcro stitching has been reported by some users as a fail point
CAP’s Barbell Adjustable ankle weights are another heavy-duty option, but they come at a slightly more wallet-friendly price point than miR’s product. With the option to add up to 10 pounds per ankle, choose these if you’ve outgrown your lighter weights.
When it comes to ankle weights for glutes and lower leg lifts at a decent price, CAP’s offering is a good pick. While the removable weight increments are a little higher than others at two pounds each, this suits people who want to progress faster.
- Option for 10 pounds per ankle
- Ankle weights with removable weights — up to two pounds at a time
- Reasonably priced choice
- Sleek black styling
- Material quality a bit lacking compared to other options
If you need ankle weights for a serious glute workout or additional resistance when lifting, miR’s adjustable weights should be your go-to. These adjustable ankle weights are among the heaviest on the market when fully loaded — get ready to feel the burn with these babies!
The soft neoprene construction means these ankle weights are comfy to wear and, despite the heavier potential weight, tend not to dig in or feel awkward. Although for a smaller fit the long inserts might be uncomfortable.
20 is the combined weight of ankle weights. Each bracelet has 10 pockets with a removable one pound weight inside.
A note: if you’re new to ankle weight training, start off with a small number of weights before moving up.
- Option for ten or five pounds per ankle
- Comfortable neoprene cushioning
- Adjustable with removable weights from 1 lb to 20 lb
- No steel D rings
- Long weight inserts
The Best Ankle Weights
For me, the best ankle weights are the adjustable All Pro. Although they may not be the most modern looking, people rave about their durability and comfortability. Personally, I love their versatility, it’s easy to make them as light or as heavy as needed with small, half-pound adjustments.
Looking for the best ankle weights at a keen price then the CAP Barbell model with it’s weight range and comfort is a good choice.