Ankle weights are a popular strengthening accessory for fitness-minded athletes and exercisers. There are a variety of lifts and routines that can be followed using weights, including leg lifts and raises. Adding ankle weights to cardiovascular (cardio) or aerobic routines can also promote leg toning. The exercises may also help to alleviate joint pain.
Among the most popular ankle weights exercises are abdominal exercises. These can be done in the form of hanging leg raises and leg lifts. During the hanging leg raise, the exerciser holds her upper body up from a push up and dip bar, and uses her abdominals to lift her legs into the air. This can be done with the legs straight for greater difficulty, or with knees bent to ease the movement. Leg lifts are performed lying on the ground and involve raising the legs from a flat position until they are extended into the air.
During cardio routines, ankle weights exercises can be done by simply adding the weights to the ankles and performing the exercises as normal. The best results can be seen by using the weights while walking, running, or running backward. They can also be used to a lesser degree while bicycling, using a stationary bike, or using an elliptical machine.
Another popular way of performing ankle weights exercises is during aerobic activity, such as step aerobics, stretching routines, and different leg lifting exercises. It is possible to help to reduce back, ankle, and hip joint pain with ankle weights by doing one simple exercise. This exercise is done by lying on the side of the body, with one leg on top of the other. The legs are kept straight, extended downward, while one leg is lifted into the air. The extra weight for the ankle weights will help to stretch and strengthen the hips and other joints extending downwards.
Knee extensions are another popular type of ankle weights exercise that can help to strengthen the legs. This exercise is performed sitting down, with the back upright and the legs bent at the knees, which should not reach the ground. The leg is the straightened, lifting the ankle into the air. This, among other ankle weights exercises, is a popular way to strengthen the joints and muscles of the lower body.