Ankle Weights – Do They Really Work? Complete Guide

One of the fitness industry secrets to lean, toned legs is ankle weights. There are a lot of misconceptions about when and how to use ankle weights. While ankle weights do work, it’s important to use them correctly to get optimal results and avoid injury. 

In this article, we are going to break down everything you need to know about using ankle weights including benefits, risks, safety recommendations, and more.

Can ankle weights help me lose weight?

Using ankle weights during workouts can aid in weight loss indirectly because it adds resistance to your lower legs during workouts. This extra resistance from the ankle weights will help you burn more calories during your workout, which can lead to weight loss.

Are ankle weights safe?

Ankle weights are safe if used correctly. Whenever you add weight to any part of the body, it’s important to introduce it slowly and only during exercises that are appropriate.

It is safe to wear ankle weights for short periods of time during the day. You can add them to a bodyweight workout to add extra resistance or wear them as you go about your day to increase your caloric burn during household activities.

Adjustable Ankle Weights For Weight  Loss Ambor
One pocket weighs 0.38 lbs. Each ankle weight can be adjusted from 0.5 lbs to 2 lbs.

Benefits of wearing ankle weight

There’s a reason why the fitness industry loves ankle weights. There are plenty of benefits to adding ankle weights to your routine.

Here are a few great benefits of wearing ankle weight:

Tone your legs

Wearing ankle weights during workouts is a great way to tone your legs. Adding ankle weights to bodyweight exercises like leg lifts, fire hydrants, kickbacks, etc. can help you work the small muscles in your legs to tone your muscles faster than you would without them.

Boost your metabolism

Adding additional weight to your body with something like ankle weights during your workouts will increase the overall metabolic burn during your workout. Even if you aren’t doing specific leg exercises, having those few extra pounds on your body will help boost your metabolism long after your workout is over.

Improve cardiovascular health

As your body gets used to exercising with the added weight of ankle weights, it will increase your muscle endurance and cardiovascular function. This happens because of the increased load on your body, which will cause you to exert more energy to complete each movement.

When your body has to work harder throughout a workout, your heart gets used to pumping a higher level of blood to match the intensity. This increase in blood flow will eventually cause a decrease in your blood pressure during workouts because your body gets used to the exertion and settles down.

Ankle Weights - Complete Guide - Ambor
Ambor adjustable weights

Related: How To Stay Safe When Running – A Beginner’s Guide

Drawbacks of wearing ankle weight

Although ankle weights are generally considered safe and can be beneficial to a healthy lifestyle, there are some potential drawbacks. It’s important to think about these things, especially if you plan to use ankle weights long-term.

Development of quadricep dominance

Adding weight in the area of the ankle can change the way you use your legs to move and the muscles you engage to do certain exercises. Typically weight in this area will cause you to engage more of the muscles in the front of your legs, like the quadriceps, while you are working out.

Improper or excessive engagement of the quadriceps over time can result in “quad dominance”. This means that the quadriceps will get worked harder than other muscles in your leg and will become stronger and more physically bulky as well over time.

Risk of joint pain or damage

Wearing ankle weights for extended periods of time, especially during brisk walking, can put a lot of pressure on your joints. Overuse of ankle weights or using ankle weights that are too heavy for the activity that you are doing can put knees, ankles, and hips at risk of damage.

Joint damage can cause long-term pain or other issues, so it’s recommended to only use ankle weights sparingly to avoid persistent problems.

Gait changes

Because of the resistance that ankle weights create, your body is constantly trying to adjust your center of gravity and work against that resistance. Because of that, wearing ankle weights long-term can actually change the way you walk or run.

The changes to your gait can range from mild changes to more pronounced, noticeable changes depending on how often you use the weights and how heavy they are.

Related: Best Ankle Braces For Running With Peroneal Tendonitis

How much weight should I use for each ankle weight on my leg?

Ankle weights typically range from 0.5-3 pounds each (per leg). The general rule is not to exceed more than 1-2% of your body weight combined between both legs.

It’s important to start with light weights and work your way up slowly over time. Even if you start with 1 pound ankle weights, you will notice a difference in your workouts.

When should you not use ankle weights?

It is safe for most people to wear ankle weights sparingly. There are a few situations when you should not use ankle weights, but it’s important to decide for yourself based on your individual health goals.

Here are some times when you might not want to use ankle weights:

  • Do not use ankle weights when walking briskly – Walking is a weight-bearing exercise in and of itself. Ankle weights can cause gait changes or put unnecessary stress on the body when you are walking.
  • Do not use ankle weights if you have hip, knee, or ankle issues – If you have existing joint damage or pain, ankle weights could worsen the symptoms.
  • Do not use ankle weights daily – Although ankle weights are light, wearing them day after day can cause excessive wear and tear on your body. Take a break a few days a week to let your body relax and work against its own natural resistance.

Related: 21 Ultimate Tips To Help You Crush Your First 5K!

Can ankle weights cause you injury?

Ankle weights can cause injury if you don’t use them properly.

Here are some common reasons that ankle weights cause injury:

  • Choosing a weight that is too heavy – More is not always better. Wearing ankle weights that are too heavy can cause injury if you are not careful.
  • Using ankle weights too often – It’s important to take breaks from wearing ankle weights to allow your body time to rebound after the added resistance is removed so that you don’t hurt yourself from overuse.
  • Running or walking briskly with them – Ankle weights should not be worn for runs and fast walks to avoid the risk of injury or significant gait changes.

What are the top 6 best-selling ankle weights?

  1. Ambor Ankle Weights
  2. Fragraim Adjustable Ankle Weights
  3. Amazon Basics Adjustable Ankle Weights for Fitness Exercise Training
  4. BalanceFrom GoFit Fully Adjustable Ankle Wrist Arm Leg Weights
  5. Bala Bangles Adjustable Wearable Wrist and Ankle Weights
  6. Sportneer Adjustable Ankle Weight

Who shouldn’t use ankle weights?

Most people can safely use ankle weights, but anyone with chronic hip, knee, or ankle problems should avoid using them. Adding weight to the ankle with a joint problem like this can cause further damage or injuries.

How long should you work out using ankle weights?

You can work out as long as you want using ankle weights. You can get a great full-body workout in with ankle weights in 20-30 minutes, or you can wear them all day as you go about your day as you wish.

Related: What is Resistance Band Training? How Can It Help Runners?

Will ankle weights make me run or walk faster?

Ankle weights might make you walk or run faster, but not until you take them off.

If you wear ankle weights often for exercise and walk around during the day, your body will get used to the resistance of the weights. Once you take the weights off, you might find that movement feels easier and you can run or walk faster than you normally can.

Related: Does Pilates Count As Weight Training?

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2 thoughts on “Ankle Weights – Do They Really Work? Complete Guide”

    • – see if this helps – From the website “Adjustable Ankle & Wrist Weights: 5 removable pockets for each ankle weight, one pocket weighs 0.38 lbs. Each ankle weight can be adjusted from 0.5 lbs to 2 lbs by adding or taking out the bags. With these adjustable weights, you have a lot of room for flexibility. You can start light and work your way up in weight as you build strength over time, or you can adjust the weight for different exercises depending on your activity and preferences.”

      I will take a picture of my own and post it soon.


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