Ankle weights are a great addition to take a glute workout from good to great. If you aren’t already using ankle weights for your glutes, then you could really be missing out on the full potential of your exercise routine!
Ankle weights offer an inexpensive and portable option to greatly increase the effectiveness of a leg and glute workout that can easily be performed at home.
What Are Ankle Weights?
Ankle weights are a weighted strap that can be fixed around your ankles to add a weighted load to your exercise routine for the lower body. They can also be used around the wrists in the same fashion, to add resistance to upper body exercises.
Why Use Ankle Weights?
Adding resistance to exercises makes them more effective for producing results. If you are trying to increase muscle size, progressive overload is a must, and ankle weights are a great way to do it.
The anatomy of the leg and hip can be likened to a lever and fulcrum. The leg, being long, is like a lever and pivots from the hip, which acts as a fulcrum. Adding weight along the leg can add a considerable challenge to both stability and mobility muscle groups. The further away from the fulcrum point the weight is, the more difficult it is to lift and balance the weight, so incorporating ankle weights into your workout can be extremely effective for getting maximum results.
Ankle Weights Could Be the Key to Your Most Effective Workout Yet
Ankle weights are unique in that they add load in a leveraged way – the leg acts as a lever as previously mentioned. This results in a great amount of muscular challenge without having to use an extremely heavy weight. It also strengthens ligaments and joints, as stability, mobility and balance are all challenged when using ankle weights.
Ankle weights are also affordable and portable, and along with exercise resistance bands they are one of my favorite additions to home exercise equipment for glutes because they are easy to use and ultra portable for those who may be travelling or just don’t have space for bulky exercise equipment around the home.
What Kind of Ankle Weights Are There?
Fixed weight ankle weights come in a non-adjustable weight and are typically found in options between 2 – 10 lbs, and you can find them fairly cheap on Amazon, like this pair:
Weight is often quoted as a pair, e.g. 5lb each leg will often be advertised as (a set of) 10lb ankle weights. This is easily confused, so double check the product you are looking at to make sure you are getting what you want!
Adjustable weight ankle weights allow you to customize the amount of weight in each ankle weight. Usually this type of ankle weight comes with removable weights, each weighing around 1.25lb – 2lb each, depending on the product.
Below are some examples of some adjustable ankle weights from Amazon, some of which can even go up to 10lb each (this would be called a 20lb set as the total weight is 20lb for the two together):
The weight itself generally takes two forms – either sand bags, or metal bars.
Sand has the disadvantage of being bulkier as it is less dense, while metals may be susceptible to rust or corrosion (though this issue can be avoided completely if a suitable grade of metal or painting is used).
If you intend on taking your ankle weights underwater for water aerobics, or they are likely to be exposed to a lot of moisture, then you may want to consider waterproof ankle weights which are also available.
If you’re thinking of using ankle weights in aqua-aerobics or while swimming then I would recommend that you buy a set that are made out of solid weights rather than sand. Those which use sand as the weight are prone to shift around in the water and inevitably slip and become troublesome to secure around the ankles. Also be aware that generally, when you are in the water the weights will not seem as heavy as they are on land.
How to Use Ankle Weights Effectively
Simply loop the Velcro around your ankle and fasten it so that the weighted band is snug to your skin. You don’t want to leave it too loose as it may move around during exercise and can be annoying.
If you have a set of adjustable weight ankle weights then you’ll be able to adjust the heaviness of the ankle weight to suit the particular exercise you’re doing, and simply increase the weight as you get stronger. If you’re only using 1 of the weight packs in the adjustable sets, make sure you position this appropriately in the weight pockets, so that each ankle weight is the same. Strap up the velcro snugly so that the single weight is not going to roll sideways around your ankle as you move against gravity.
If you don’t have a set that comes with an adjustable weight feature, then you still have options. When you progress (and you simply must progress in order to see results), you can use two or more ankle weights per leg. Since they come in sets of two, if you are doing single leg exercises, you can get away with using one set of ankle weights and doubling them up for each leg.
Selecting the Correct Weight
The correct amount of weight to use is tricky to estimate because it really depends on what particular exercise you are doing. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend purchasing a set of adjustable ankle weights with a light range, maybe a set like this pair that goes up to 5lb max. This will allow you to experiment with lighter ranges without limiting yourself too much.
If you still find that using one fixed weight ankle weight is too difficult, you can attach the weight higher up your leg (closer to the fulcrum point), to reduce the load challenge. As you progress in strength and balance, shift the weight further away from the pivot point to keep the exercise challenging.
Working the Butt
Ankle weights are a great addition to home workout gear. An adjustable set can be versatile and used in many different types of exercises to increase their difficulty. Ankle weights are particularly suited to boosting the effectiveness of glute exercises such as donkey kicks, leg raises, lying side leg lifts and more.
What do you think about using ankle weights to add an extra challenge to your glutes? Let me know if you have any questions at all about using ankle weights in your butt workouts!