Ace Your Body Strength Training With 15 Ankle Weight Exercises

Written by Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Why pick up and hold dumbbells when you can strap on ankle weights? Ankle weights range from 1-10 lb and come with easy buckle closures. Ankle weight exercises are great for adding resistance to your workout routine, help in strengthening and toning, and are suitable for rehabilitation purposes. Moreover, ankle weights are portable and an absolute fan-favorite low-maintenance workout equipment.

Grab hold of some ankle weights, and we will show you how to put them on and ace your full-body exercise. Here are the 15 best ankle weight exercises you can do at home or at the gym. Read on!

How To Put On Ankle Weights

There are different kinds of ankle weights available in the market. It is best to start with lighter weights first and gradually move to heavier ones. Here’s how to put on the ankle weight properly:

1. Inspect The Ankle Weight: Check if the buckle or velcro is damaged. Do not use it if it is damaged. You can also check if the weight is too light or too heavy for your workout.

2. Wrap It Around The Ankle:Hold the sides of the ankle weight, place it against the front part of your ankle, and wrap it around the ankle.

3. Secure The Velcro/Buckle: Adjust the ankle weight by pulling the velcro tight and wrapping it around the ankle. If there is a buckle, pass the band through it and secure it.

Note: You can also wear the ankle weights on your wrists for upper body workout.

Wasn’t that easy? Now, scroll down to check out the best exercises you can do with ankle weights.

15 Full-Body Ankle Weight Workouts

1. Standing Side Lift

Target: Inner and outer thighs and glutes.

How To Do

  1. Wear your ankle weights.
  2. Stand on a mat with your right foot slightly out to the side, palms lightly touching together, your shoulders rolled back, and looking straight ahead. This is the starting position. You may also place your hands on your waist for better balance.
  3. Lift your right foot off the floor to the side as high as possible.
  4. Slowly bring it back to the starting position.
  5. Do this 10 times before switching legs.
  6. Do 2 sets of 10 reps on each side.

2. Squats

Target: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and core.

How To Do

  1. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out, shoulders rolled back, and looking straight ahead. Keep your hands by your side. This is the starting position.
  2. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and get into a sitting position.
  3. Bring your hands close together in front of your chest.
  4. Make sure your knees don’t overshoot your toes.
  5. Now, come back up.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

3. Lying Leg Abduction

Target: Inner thighs and glutes

How To Do

  1. Wear the ankle weights and lie down on your left side.
  2. Support your head on your left palm and keep your right hand on the floor in front of your chest for support. Relax your shoulders.
  3. Lift your right foot to a 45-degree angle and bring it down.
  4. Just before your right foot touches the left, bring your right foot up again.
  5. Do this 10 times before switching sides.
  6. Do 2 sets of 10 reps on each side.

4. Crunches

How To Do

  1. Wear the ankle weights and lie down on a mat.
  2. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Lift your head off the floor, place your thumbs behind your ears and cup your head with your other fingers for support. Look diagonally up at the ceiling.
  4. Now, keeping your elbows open, curl up and go down to the starting position.
  5. Do this 10 times to start feeling the core muscle burn.
  6. Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

5. Bicycle Crunches

Target: Obliques, abs, glutes, thighs, and lats

How To Do

  1. Wear your ankle weights and lie down on a mat.
  2. Lift your legs off the floor and bend your knees so that your lower legs and thighs are at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Lift your head off the floor, place your thumbs behind your ear, and cup your head with your other fingers for support. Look at your knees.
  4. Now, keeping your elbows open, curl up and try to touch the right elbow to your left knee.
  5. Simultaneously, extend your right leg.
  6. Curl back to the starting position and bring your right leg back to the bent position.
  7. Now, curl up and try to touch the left elbow to your right knee. Simultaneously, extend your left leg.
  8. Now, get back to the starting position.
  9. Do 2 sets of 10 reps each.

6. Sit Ups

Target: Abs

How To Do

  1. Wear the ankle weights and lie down on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your head off the floor, place your thumbs behind your ears, and cup your head with your other fingers for support. Look diagonally up at the ceiling.
  3. Now, keeping your elbows open, lift your upper body off the floor to come to a sitting posture.
  4. Pause for a moment and slowly curl back down to the starting position.
  5. Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

7. Leg Kick Outs

Target: Quads, hamstrings, and core.

How To Do

  1. Sit on a mat with your legs close together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place both your palms behind you on the mat for support and lean back.
  3. Engage your core and lift both your legs off the floor. This is the starting position.
  4. Now, push your right leg and extend it in front of you.
  5. Bring it back to the starting position and push your left leg out.
  6. Bring the left leg back to the starting position and push the right leg out.
  7. Do 3 sets of 15 reps each.

8. Straight Leg Donkey Kick

Target: Glutes, shoulders, and core.

How To Do

  1. Start with kneeling down on a mat.
  2. Place both your palms on the floor and get on all fours.
  3. Now, place both your elbows on the mat directly under the shoulders.
  4. Extend your right leg back, resting your toes on the floor. This is the starting position.
  5. Lift your right leg off the floor and, keeping it extended, kick it up towards the ceiling.
  6. Just before your right foot touches the floor, kick it up again.
  7. Do this 10 times before switching legs.
  8. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

9. Hamstring Curl

Target: Hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, and shoulders.

How To Do

  1. Get on all fours. Place both your elbows on the mat directly under your shoulders.
  2. Extend your right leg back and lift it off the floor. This is the starting position.
  3. Now, bend your right knee and flex your leg. Bring your ankle close to your hip, as shown in the picture.
  4. Extend your leg back to the starting position.
  5. Do this 10 times before switching legs.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

10. Leg Drops

Target: Lower abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do

  1. Wear the ankle weights and lie down on a mat.
  2. Bend your knees and lift your legs off the floor so that your thighs and lower legs are at a 90-degree angle, as shown in the picture.
  3. Now, slowly drop your right leg down.
  4. Lift it back again just before you touch the floor.
  5. Next, slowly drop your left leg and lift it up before it touches the floor.
  6. Do 2 sets of 10 reps each.

11. Hamstring Stretch

Target: Hamstrings, quads, glutes, and core.

How To Do

  1. Stand straight, bring your hands behind your back, and take one step back with your left foot. Look down. This is the starting position.
  2. Now, slowly lift your left foot off the floor while keeping it fully extended.
  3. Bend your upper body down from your waist till your left leg, glute, and spine are in a straight line. You will feel a stretch in your right hamstring.
  4. You can also spread your hands out for balance.
  5. Hold this pose for 5 seconds and slowly keep your foot down. Stand straight up.
  6. Do the same with the right foot.
  7. Do this 4-6 times.

12. Straight Leg Openers

Target: Inner thighs

How To Do

  1. Wear the ankle weights and lie down on a mat with your hands on the sides.
  2. Lift both your legs and extend them straight up.
  3. Now, move your legs apart and open them as far as possible. You will feel a stretch in the inner thighs.
  4. Now, bring them back together.
  5. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

13. Bicep Curls

Target: Biceps

How To Do

  1. Wear light ankle weights on your wrists.
  2. Kneel down on a mat.
  3. Lift your butt off your ankles, extend your hands in front of you and make a fist, and lean back a little.
  4. Now, curl your hands and bring your fists close to your shoulders.
  5. Now, extend your hands again.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

14. Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Target: Deltoids, lats, and rhomboids.

How To Do

  1. Wear lighter ankle weights on your wrists.
  2. Kneel down, lift your butt, and lean forward.
  3. Open your arms to the sides, as shown in the picture. This is the starting position.
  4. Now, bring your arms up towards the ceiling and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  5. Now, come back to the starting position.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

15. Tricep Kickbacks

Target: Triceps and biceps.

How To Do

  1. Wear light ankle weights on your wrists.
  2. Kneel down, lean forward, and touch your forehead to the floor.
  3. Extend your hands back, as shown in the picture.
  4. Now, bend your elbows, flex your forearms, and kick it back again to the starting position.
  5. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

These are the 15 full-body ankle weight exercises you can do to strengthen and tone your body. But why should you use ankle weights? Find out the benefits of ankle weight exercises in the following section.

Benefits Of Ankle Weight Exercises

  • They add resistance to the workout without having to pick up or hold weights.
  • There is no chance of your weights rolling off or snapping in your face.
  • They are portable and easy to store.
  • You can wear them either on the ankles or wrists.
  • They help rehabilitate knee injuries.
  • They help with gait training.
  • They improve muscle strength and tone.

Yes, there are many benefits of ankle weight workouts. However, they may not be ideal for everyone. Check out the next section to know who should avoid these exercises.

Who Should Avoid Ankle Weight Exercises?

You should avoid ankle weight exercises under the following conditions:

  • If you had a knee or hip surgery.
  • If you have knee or hip pain.
  • If your doctor does not recommend it.

The Final Takeaway

Ankle weight exercises are one of the best ways to add resistance to your workout. They are a versatile way of strength training and toning. These exercises also save time. All you have to do is strap on the weights to your ankles or wrists and do a whole body workout without having to worry about picking up or holding weights. To be on the safe side, start with lighter ankle weights. Also, it is best to train with a professional trainer in the initial stages. You will start to see a lot of improvement in your muscle strength and aesthetics. So, get a pair of ankle weights and start exercising!

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