Friday, December 28, 2012

Ankle Weights: Yay or Nay?

Over the years, the consensus on additional weights when exercising has been that it is great. However, I am of the opinion that not every type of weight is great in every circumstance.

I'm pretty sure not everyone reading this uses ankle weights in their workouts. Maybe you've seen it used, heard of it, but don't quite get it yet. Or maybe you are trying to get comfortable with exercise without adding the additional complications. Maybe you are super familiar with dumbbells and barbells, but not really ankle and wrist weights.

What are ankle weights? They are simply add-on weights that you strap on to your ankles so you are lifting more than your body weight when you do regular exercises.

Why all the fuss then? What is the big problem? They are weights, right? So they should be great? It depends on how you use them. People use them for both cardiovascular and strength training.

Cardio: You may have seen folks running with straps on their ankles and wondered what those were. The positive benefit of running with ankle weights is that you are also working your legs and core by mixing both cardio and strength training. However, if your body is not strong enough to lift the weights, the negative impact is that you could be putting unnecessary pressure on your joints. Pressure that they are not used to. So my advice would be to stay away from ankle weights when doing cardio.

Strength training: if you are looking to tone your legs, do cardio regularly, but use the ankle weights to push your body more at strength training exercises. The same way you would lift dumbbells to tone your upper body, ankle weights would help exert more pressure on your muscles.

My advice? If you are a professional athlete or have worked out vigorously and are sure your body can take it, you can add ankle weights to your cardio workouts. But I would prefer if you were careful and used them just for strength training :)

My favorite brand is the Women's Health ankle weights. They come in various sizes. However, I also like the Bell Fit brand, if you are looking for options.

Cheers Eights and Weights!

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