Everything old is new again, and it’s time to welcome ankle weights back into your training arsenal. Once a ’90s relic, ankle weights have started adorning the ankles of celebrities from Kate Hudson to Hailey Bieber and fitness influencers alike.
What makes them so popular? “Ankle weights, when used properly, add resistance and variance to standard movements,” says Lindsay Wandzilak, a NASM-certified trainer. “The weights place a greater load and resistance on the muscles being targeted.” In an era when you can’t necessarily get to a weight room, adding ankle weights to moves you’d typically do with just your body weight can make you more likely to see gains.
Your best bet is to add ankle weights to lower body moves, like squat walks, leg lifts, fire hydrants, donkey kicks, and kickbacks, says Wandzilak. “I recommend women stick to 2-pound weights and men to 5-pound weight per ankle,” she adds. “If the weight is too heavy, you risk jeopardizing form and causing injury.”
One thing to avoid: wearing ankle weights during cardio. “You have more control during strength moves versus running or walking with weights on,” says Wandzilak — that extra load can throw off your gait and add extra stress to your joints when you’re moving fast and not accustomed to it.
Looking to add just a little weight to your routine? These are the 10 best ankle weights you can get your hands on right now.
Gaiam Ankle Weights
Gaiam always delivers on affordable at-home workout equipment, and these ankle weights are no exception. At 2.5 pounds each, they add enough of a challenge to strength training and mat moves without over-stressing your limbs.
Sportneer Adjustable Ankle Weights
Within the neoprene exteriors of these ankle weights are 10 little pockets that each hold one 1-pound sand-filled weight. Depending on what exercise you’re doing, you can adjust each ankle weight to hold 1 all the way to 5 pounds of resistance. The straps themselves are nearly 15 inches long, making them truly one-size-fits-all.
The Cuff Adjustable Ankle and Wrist Weight Set
Choose from Cuff’s 20 different ankle weights ranging from 0.25 pounds up to 25 pounds — or just get the seven-weight set so you have a slew of options handy. The weights are made from easy-to-clean vinyl, which also ensures even the heaviest ones will last through the most strenuous workouts.