If you are trying to lose weight, the most effective way to do burn fat is to lift weights. Strength training burns far more calories than cardio, and you can get in serious shape by combining a solid weightlifting program with a good cardio program.
With ankle weights, you can do the two workouts at the same time!
Why Ankle Weights?
Ankle weights add more weight to your feet, meaning your legs have to work just a little bit harder as you walk or jog. You don’t even need to walk or jog faster than normal, as the addition of a few pounds to your ankles will increase the difficulty of your cardio workout significantly. Yet you won’t just be working harder in terms of cardio, but your leg muscles will also get a great workout. The weight of every step will force your entire leg–upper and lower muscles–to work harder.
Caution: Do not use ankle weights for jumping exercises. That strain on your feet can cause tiny tears in the joints and muscles and even cause stress fractures in the bones. Just use them when doing light cardio (jogging, walking, cycling, etc.).
Now, keep in mind that ankle weights are NOT the most effective way to build strength in your legs. The best way to do that is by doing actual leg exercises, such as squats, lunges, leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls, and the list goes on. Ankle weights will give your legs a bit of a workout as you do cardio, but their ultimate goal is to increase the difficulty of your cardio workout.
It’s important that you DO NOT use ankle weights all the time. You should only strap them on for a short time, do your workout, and then take them off. If you walk around in ankle weights, you can place excess pressure on your joints. The joints in your ankles and feet are fairly delicate compared to most of the other joints in your body, so using ankle weights all the time can lead to serious strain. Make sure to only use them for a set amount of time every day.
Best Workouts for Ankle Weights
Here are the workouts where you should consider adding ankle weights:
- Trail Walking — The soft forest/trail floor will be easier on your feet, and you can slow your pace down as you walk. However, by adding the ankle weights, those up and down-hills will be much harder, leading to more leg strength.
- Stair Climbing –– If you’re going to climb stairs (slowly, not the way athletes do), adding ankle weights will make your upper legs work a lot harder. You can see more muscle strength gains thanks to the weights.
- Elliptical Training –– For those who find the elliptical workouts a bit too easy, adding ankle weights will force your legs and glutes to work harder. You can increase leg strength and tone your lower body by adding ankle weights.
- Water Aerobics –– If you are doing aerobics in the water, adding ankle weights will make it much harder.
One very important thing to keep in mind when using ankle weights: watch your stride. If you are walking, your hips may end up working harder to support the weight, and this can lead to a serious strain on your joints. You can actually seriously damage your body if you aren’t careful to walk properly with ankle weights.
Be very careful with the weights, but use them to enjoy an awesome, supremely effective cardio/strength training workout!