As a coach, I can see how a “smart” athlete might see the value in ankle weights. Among other things, they are small, inexpensive, easy to find, portable, and they’ve been around for years.
And of course, as an athlete it would make sense to use them to get an extra workout doing what comes naturally, wearing them throughout the course of a normal day, or training by walking or running in them. Fact is, some companies even market ankle weights that way. Athletes that do that are making a mistake.
The Dangers of Ankle Weights
Ankle weights, put added stress on your joints, including knees and well, ankles. This can lead to things like
In addition, wearing ankle weights while walking causes you to change your natural stride. Not only can this cause you to lose your balance and potentially fall and injure yourself, but it can also wreak havoc on your speed by shortening your stride and throwing off your form.
Does this mean ankle weights are useless to athletic fitness? Of course not.
Uses for Ankle Weights
Ankle weights can play a very positive role in resistance training to build strength.
When used properly, the drawbacks of ankle weights can be turned into positives by allowing athletes to strengthen the same joints and ligaments that are at risk when used improperly.
So what can I do? Here are some ankle weight exercises that can be incorporated into a good conditioning program.
Lower Body Strengthening Using Ankle Weights
Straight Leg Raise
Ankle Inversion and Eversion