9 Awesome Ankle Weight Exercises

By Emily Aldridge | 2021 Update

A few more pounds that perfectly snug around your ankles can boost your workout results to a whole new level.

This is true!

Ankle weights stay in the limelight and for all the right reasons. Celebrities wouldn’t hesitate flaunting walking around in them on a casual day out while fitness trainers would ensure they are always carrying their ankle weights wherever they go.

What else?

Trainers also agree that this simple fitness accessory can help anyone with a crazy-good workout by offering constant results with both a workout routine and a healthy lifestyle.

So how can you put ankle weights to the best use for improved health and fitness?

Keep reading to find out.  

How Wearing Ankle Weights Nurse Back Injuries

The best part about this great fitness device is that it can be used by people of all ages. They are handy and can be used anywhere as a convenient tool for strength training workouts. There are many different ways in which ankle weights can be used. For light exercise and injury therapy, ankle weights add the perfect resistance for better results.

The use of ankle weights proves to be beneficial in healing injuries. Therefore, individuals who suffer from strength loss due to sports injuries or accidents often use ankle weights to nurse back injuries. For the same reason, ankle weights are also commonly used in physical restoration centers.

Strength training has also shown useful benefits for people over the age of 60, who are trying to recover from any kind of pain-management, sickness, or injuries.

The Full-Body Focus

Many people are unable to fulfill their workout commitment. Most people struggle with going to the gym, while others can’t manage a routine at home. Another factor that could keep you from working out is the lack of space. If you are into low-key strength training, you may need gym equipment.

And while you can manage some, placing different gym equipment can take up a lot of space in the room. Ankle weights are one of the best tools for resistance training as they are pretty small and handy. They do not occupy much space and can be carried anywhere.

Ankle weights are also light in weight. Each ankle weight would weigh between 1 and 10 pounds. These are for adding little resistance only to improve workout results. Ankle weights are not suitable if you want to use them for gaining muscles.  

People with hip or knee problems should avoid the use of ankle weights or seek prior permission from a medical professional before using. While some people also use them for cardio, it is highly recommended that you take all the important precautions before doing so. Using ankle weights during running or cardio can put a lot of pressure on the muscles and joints and can cause injury.

Best Exercises with Ankle Weights

These are the best ankle weight exercises. quipment you need:


  1. Put on your weights and lie with your stomach flat on the ground.
  2. Extend your arms in front of you and your legs behind you, respectively.
  3. To get into the perfect superman posture, elevate your legs and arms off of the ground at the same time, leaving your quads and chest airborne.
  4. Hold the posture for 15 seconds.
  5. Repeat 5 times, holding each set for 15 seconds.

Squat with Leg Lift

  1. Put on your weights and stand upright and stand with your feet one shoulder-width apart.
  2. Get into the squat position by bending your legs and bottom. Create a 90-degree angle with your legs to get the position right.
  3. Lift up your body by driving the weight through the heels.
  4. To use the ankle weight, lift your leg up and towards the sky as you raise your body back up again. Bring it back as you are back in the squat position.
  5. Repeat with the other leg and complete 5 sets of 10 reps for the best results.

Donkey Kicks

  1. Put on your ankle weights and get on the mat on all fours.
  2. Your hands should be right under your shoulders while the knees under your hips.
  3. Maintaining the 90-degree angle, lift your right knee and flex your foot. Lift until the knee is in level with your hip.
  4. Pause for 3 seconds and lower the knee back without touching it on the ground. Continue for 10 reps.
  5. Switch leg and repeat.

Prone Leg Lifts

  1. Put on your weights and lie flat with your stomach on the ground. Place your thighs and arms perpendicular to the floor and extended towards the hips and shoulders.
  2. Throughout the exercise, keep your neck, spine, hipe, and head aligned parallel to the ground.
  3. Stretch and lift one knee, extending it outward until it is nearly parallel to the ground.
  4. Fold back and return to your original position.
  5. Continue with the other leg and follow for 5 reps for each leg.

Side Leg Lifts

  1. Put on your weights and stand behind a chair and hold on to it for balance.
  2. Keep your feet slightly open.
  3. Lift your leg out to the side as you exhale. Hold the position for 1-2 seconds.
  4. Lower your leg to the original position as you inhale slowly.
  5. Repeat with the other leg and do several sets for the best results.  

Weighted Arm Circles

  1. Attach the ankle weights to your wrist for this exercise.
  2. Stand straight with your core tight, chest out, and shoulders maintained in a perfect position.
  3. Stretch your arms on each side, keeping them parallel to the collarbone. Maintain a strong foundation by keeping your core tight.
  4. Start with slow arm rotations in circular motions in the forward directions. Repeat 10 times,
  5. Continue in the same position but in the backward direction for another 10 reps.
  6. Do a few sets of 10 reps each.

Weighted Lunges

  1. Put on your ankle weights and stand upright in a straight position.
  2. Get into the lunge position by taking one big step forward with your right leg. Bend both the kneed and sink down without touching the ground.
  3. Your right leg should maintain a 90-degree angle in the front so the left knee grazes the floor.
  4. Push yourself back up and get into the original position.
  5. Make sure you keep your posture upright and torso tight throughout the exercise.
  6. Switch the leg and continue. Perform 10 reps on each leg for a few sets.

Bicycle Crunches

  1. Once you’ve put on your ankle weights, lie on the floor with your back on the ground. Tighten your abs as you press your lower back closer to the floor.
  2. Place your hands behind your head and fold in your knees closer to your chest. Simultaneously, lift your shoulder off the ground without putting pressure on the neck.
  3. Now bring your left knee closer to your right elbow by straightening your right leg at a 45-degree angle while turning your shoulders to the left.
  4. Rotate enough to turn your rib cages in the direction and not just your elbows.
  5. Continue with the other side to complete one rep.
  6. Do a few sets of each rep for the best results.

Glute Kickbacks

  1. With your ankle weights on, kneel down on a yoga mat and extend your arms in front of you. While maintaining a shoulder-width distance between your arms, settle into a kneeling push-up position.
  2. Lift your left leg and bring it in line with your back. Tighten your glutes as you do this and maintain the contraction for a second.
  3. Go back to the original position and repeat with the other leg.
  4. Switch legs to complete the set.

Leg Extensions

  1. If you do not have a leg extension machine, you can simply put on your ankle weights and do this exercise successfully.
  2. Sit on the edge of a chair – comfortable enough to avoid falling down – and keep your knees bent.
  3. Hold the chair from the sides as you extend your legs in front to the maximum. Breath out as you do it.
  4. Lower your legs back to the position as you inhale.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  1. Put your ankle weights on and stand tall with your legs opened wide apart.
  2. Now get into the squat position with your knees bent at a 90-degrees angle with your right hand touching the floor.
  3. Jump and rotate180-degrees to complete the rep.
  4. Continue with the other hand for a full set.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of sets.

Knee Ins and Outs

  1. Sit on a yoga mat with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands on your sides for extra support.
  2. Lean back in the same position and keep your legs outstretched. Now bent and bring your knees inwards towards your stomach in a crunch position.
  3. Stretch your legs back to the original position or a V-shape position.
  4. Repeat 8-10 times to complete the set.

Ankle Weight Benefits That Will Transform the Way You Look

There’s a whole list of benefits that you can achieve with the best ankle weights. In addition to strengthening your legs, exercising with ankle weights can also help increase the effectiveness of your workout and help with fat burn. Adding a simple tool like ankle weights can add the perfect amount of resistance you need to enhance the difficulty level of your exercise. Ultimately, doing so helps improve your fitness results.  

If you are yet to try ankle weights, you have every reason to do so now. And if you’re still not convinced, here are some interesting benefits that could literally transform the way you look.

1. Tone Your Legs

Since you wear the additional weight on your ankles, naturally it’s your legs that get the maximum benefits out of it. Work up your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and other leg muscles by adding a few extra pounds for resistance.

The added weight can really challenge you and put the right amount of strain on your muscles for more benefits. However, it is recommended to be highly cautious with ankle weights when using them for cycling, running, and other cardiovascular activities to avoid injuries.

As little as it may seem, the added weight can require quite a bit of force to wear and carry it around, and that’s the key to toning your legs into the perfect shape.

2. Cardiovascular Benefits of Swimming with Ankle Weights

You heard it right!

You can actually swim with the ankle weights on. If that’s your favorite cardiovascular exercise, you can do it with a pair of ankle weights for better results. Swimming with the added weight also helps with toning your muscles and making every move count.

3. Max Resistance

Ankle weights cannot be compared with the gym equipment designed for resistance or weight training. However, it can offer quite the resistance that could help you improve your fitness results and tone your muscles. It can be compared with something like working out with sandbags or dumbbells.

The key to making the most out of ankle weights is to pick the right exercises and increase your overall stretch. Even if you do a simple walk in them, they would benefit you more – thanks to the nature of resistance training.

4. Amazing Versatility

A great benefit of having your own pair of ankle weights is the amazing versatility. You can wear them around your ankles for a variety of exercises or while you’re at work, or out for a casual walk, and even while you’re doing chores around the house.

You can wear them for proper weight training exercises or other exercises like swimming, cycling, jogging, etc. And when all these options don’t seem enough, you can even put them around your wrists and do some arm and shoulder exercises for a full-body benefit.

You can wear ankle weights literally at any hour during the day to get some extra calories burning without breaking a sweat in the gym.

5. Excellent for Weight Loss

Burn extra calories by adding some resistance to your fitness program. The extra weight on your ankles increases the number of calories you burn by engaging the muscles for more work than it is used to. The best part is that you do not have to add a lot of weight for resistance. The few extra pounds go a long way to increase both fat burn and calorie burn for better weight loss results.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What you shouldn’t do with your ankle weights on?

Avoid jogging, cycling, running, or doing any vigorous cardio exercise with ankle weights if you are a beginner. Since there’s a risk of injury, make sure you take all the preventative measures before you start running with the extra weight on your ankles.

What’s the purpose of wearing weights on your ankles?

The point is to help you add resistance to your routine and strengthen muscles such as hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. Exercising with ankle weights can also help you tone your thighs and calves.  

What’s the ideal weight for ankle weights?

It’s best to keep your ankle weights between 3 and 5 pounds to walk and even lighter for running and jogging. You can increase the weight as you become more comfortable with ankle weights. Adjust the weight between 5 and 10 pounds (per leg) for different exercises. Do not continue with extra weight if it’s placing stress on your pelvis or lower back.

Are ankle weights bad for the knees?

Ankle weights may not be suitable for individuals with knee or hip problems. Since it’s more relevant to strength training exercises, it is more suitable for people who are already used to working out with weights to avoid the strain on the knees. You can, however, start with 0.5-1lb weight as a newbie and gradually add more weight to avoid injuries.

Can I wear ankle weights all day long?

While wearing ankle weights comes with a lot of amazing benefits like increased endurance, muscle strengthening, added cardio, and better weight loss results, it is best if you keep them integrated with workouts for more effective results. Wearing them for long hours can increase the risk of injury.  


While ankle weights are designed for the ankles, you can definitely target all the major muscle groups if you opt for the right exercises with the weights on. You can choose any or all of the best exercises with ankle weights listed in this article to target major muscles from head to toe.

Add resistance to your workout for major benefits without having to worry about large space for equipment or proper gym with this effective fitness tool. And while ankle weights comes with all the wonderful benefits, make sure you seek assistance from your doctor before starting a new fitness regiment.

If you feel any kind of discomfort or pain during any of the exercises listed in this article, stop immediately and seek professional medical assistance.

Good luck!  

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