All of us have relished the challenge that a functional workout throws at our body at some point in time. It shocks the body, leaving it shivering especially if you are more of the dumbbell user. So while figuring out numerous other ways to up my workout regime, I came across the simplest of tools that could increase the effort significantly.
You must be wondering what it is that I’m talking about. Ankle weights.
Not to be underestimated, the very simple and unassuming ankle weight adds a definite challenge to your workouts and can also deliver the benefits you seek. Once you understand more about them and know how to use ankle weights properly, you can incorporate them in numerous ways to make the same workouts more challenging.
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Benefits of Ankle Weights
Tones and Shapes Your Legs
Ankle weights tone and shape the legs while improving your flexibility and range of movement. The added resistance of the weights makes a routine activity like raising your leg difficult, especially once your muscles are reaching a point of fatigue.
This is great because many fitness enthusiasts make the mistake of doing many repetitions but not making it hard enough. Remember, if you want to bulk up in your strength, you need to work your muscles out until they tire.
Ankle weights help add muscle to your lower body and make you look like an athlete. Simple tasks like running or jogging or walking for a mile can be very challenging when the weights are added.
Stronger muscles developed with the help of ankle weights help boost metabolism.
Ankle weights when added and used as a resistance for abdominal workouts can also go a long way in creating newer challenges for the same muscle group.
Helps Strengthens Your Breathing Muscles
If you want to get inventive with your regime, you can place the weights on your chest and practice breathing exercises. This strengthens your lungs, respiratory muscles and particularly helps asthma sufferers with asthma or breathing problems. Before you start these exercises though, be sure to check with your doctor first.
How To Use Ankle Weights Properly
Ankle weights are great at adding challenges to your workout regime. However, putting them on incorrectly can put you at a risk of injuring yourself. Some experts also do not recommend them for walking (cardiovascular exercises) because the additional weight can affect and change your gait.
Here is a step by step process on using ankle weights properly.
It would do you a world of good to thoroughly check the ankle weights for open flaps of pouches. In case you do need to add plates or rods on the ankle weights, you can do that later on. Also ensure that the seams are intact.
Wrap them around each lower leg. Ensure it is tight enough to not move around when you workout but not tight enough to prevent blood from circulating in the muscles. It should be just right and snug.
Tighten the fasteners, and you’re good to go. Fasteners can either be straps or hook-and-loop closures and may vary from one brand to another.
Some Crucial Tips
· Always be sure to lock your ankle weights properly. There are a number of exercises that position your legs over your head and if the ankle weights come off, they might hurt you.
· Sometimes, it so happens that your weights feel uncomfortable against your skin. You’re better off wearing socks underneath the weights in that case. Or try putting the weights over your long pants.
· One of the most crucial tips is to wear them as per your fitness levels. They don’t have to be too light or too heavy as they’ll increase your effort in making basic movements possible.
Some Popular Ankle Weights To Consider
Simple, affordable and easy to fit, these weights have a nice, soft and comfortable padding. Adjust them easily with the metal D-rings. Great for use at home or at the gym, the double strap closure also helps ensure they stay on snugly.
Together with a bonus carry bag, these weights are fully adjustable and very comfortable. Featuring neoprene padding and reinforced stitching, this is definitely a product of higher quality. Use it for simple home workouts, jogging, core training, aerobics, gym, CrossFit and many more. Also comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty.
My top recommendation, these weights are adjustable and come with comfortable cushioned flaps for the protection and safety of your ankles. Specially designed by a leading occupational therapist, these weights are excellent in terms of safety, comfort and quality.
Knowing how to use ankle weights properly will add a plethora of benefits to your fitness regime. At the same time, handling it incorrectly will put you at a risk of injury. Learning proper use over time aids your health and helps you achieve your goals as well.