Surprising Benefits Of Exercising With Ankle Weights

It's not often you see someone in the gym wearing ankle weights. And perhaps when you think of this piece of fitness equipment, you immediately revert to the Jane Fonda exercise era, which in truth was far from a bad thing. Fonda was, after all, the queen of fitness — and according to Vogue, her bestselling workouts from the 80's will still give you a significant sweat sesh today.

Ankle weights might just be what your workouts are missing, as they can offer a different kind of added resistance. According to Healthline, a typical ankle weight ranges from 1 to 3 pounds, with a heavy-duty Velcro strap that's used to secure the weight to your ankle. Though you can find heavier ankle weights, you may want to start light and work your way up.

According to SHAPE, adding ankle weights to your fitness routine can increase the intensity of you workout and help strengthen muscles including your core, quads, glutes, and hips. Furthermore, ankle weights are portable, and can also be used for upper body training by simply holding them like a dumbbell, making it easy to add extra resistance to your exercise routine while at home, in the office, or traveling.

Use ankle weights to increase leg and core strength

Certified strength and conditioning specialist Holly Perkins tells SHAPE that using ankle weights allows freedom of movement for certain exercises like donkey kicks that dumbbells cannot, stating, "Ankle weights allow you to move in nearly every direction and rotation imaginable." She goes on to say that this flexibility of movement is especially good for the hips, which are a "ball joint."

According to Tone It Up trainer Tori Simeone, adding ankle weights to your glute and barre routines can help decrease the pressure on your joints while increasing your resistance, challenging your muscles to work harder (via Byrdie). Certified trainer Sydney Benner tells Byrdie that ankles weights are useful for lower-body exercises like single leg pelvic tilts or leg lifts. The weights will add more resistance to these exercises, increasing strength and promoting muscle growth.

Using the ankle weights while doing core exercises can really fire up the abs, according to certified personal trainer Amanda Shannon Verrengia (via SELF). She explains to SELF that "They're great for leg lifts, V-ups, and bicycles, because they force your core to work extra hard to keep your leg(s) elevated."

If your fit routine needs more of a challenge, give the ankle weights a shot, and as you're performing those leg lifts, remember the words of Jane Fonda: "When you think you can't do any more repetitions, do two more" (via Quotefancy).