With the ever-expanding fitness product industry, finding the best ankle weights can be a bit overwhelming!
Ankle weights are a versatile and often over-looked tool for a strength training regime. They are excellent for training accessory muscle groups like your abs and glutes. Ankle weights can also be beneficial to beginners and are a great investment to your home gym.
In addition, they can be used for water aerobics and for rehabilitation training. Many people will need to perform rehab training at some point in their fitness journey, so investing in a quality pair of ankle weights is a smart decision.
The Ultimate Guide to the Best Ankle Weights
Below we have listed 6 options for the best ankle weights for different situations so you can determine which set works best for you. Full reviews are towards the bottom of this post.
Quick Comparison: Our Top Picks
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What are ankle weights?
These weights can be attached to your body at the following locations:
These weights allow you to perform strength training exercises to build or strengthen muscle groups. You would perform these exercises as either part of a fitness regime or a rehabilitation program.
These weights are very similar to dumbbells in that they are a simply tool that allow you to practice resistance training. They have the added benefit of allowing you keep your hands free.
Why would you need ankle weights?
If you work out at home or outside of a commercial gym, you may want to use ankle weights at some point.
They are simply another resistance training tool and can be used for strength training movements.
Personally, I love using them for glute/thigh workouts. Coincidentally, I recently injured myself from a fall on ice and could not perform weighted moves that required a bend in my arm for several weeks.
However, thanks to my ankle weights, I was able to fasten them to my wrists and perform various sets of flys and raises and maintain my upper body strength for the most part. Even the fittest person can benefit from these inexpensive tools!
As you can see, they are extremely versatile!
How can you determine which set is right for you?
Depending on your budget, you’ll want to consider these criteria when selecting a pair of ankle weights:
- adjustable (optional)
- can be used in water (optional)
Tip: Adjustable ankle weights allow you to adjust the resistance for different body parts and allow you to increase the resistance as you build muscle.
However, adjustable ankle weights can be bulky and uncomfortable which may not be ideal for extended wear.
If you’re simply looking for a basic pair to use for light everyday activities or light strength training work, you should not need an adjustable pair.
What are the best women’s ankle weights?
Women can use the same sets as
Women simply may not need very heavy ankle weights in the 10+ pound range. Therefore, they can opt for lighter options,
It really just boils down to the amount of weight you are looking for in your workout.
Using Ankle Weights for Everyday Activities
Some people like the idea of wearing ankle weights on walks or around the house to get added resistance training without having to go to the gym.
This is a great idea, but caution should be used. Overuse can lead to injuries if you’re not careful.
When you wear these weights for a long period of time, it will alter your walking gait which makes you prone to injuries since you are not using proper, natural form. In addition, it can cause wear and tear on your joints with extended use.
In general, you could use ankle weights during a walk or workout, but wearing ankle weights all day every simply isn’t smart or healthy. Your body already has its work cut out just moving your body weight around without the added task of ankle weights.
Using Ankle Weights in Water
The use of ankle weights in water is an excellent low impact strength training activity. Our choice for the best ankle weights for water fitness are the Kiefer Ankle Weights.
These weights are great for water because they are made to withstand chlorine and salt and they have an added plastic snap fastener in addition to velcro. Even better, you can fasten the 2 ankle weights together and wear the entire set around your waist — great for water fitness!
As we age, our joints may be more susceptible to injury and water aerobics is a great exercise that is easy on our joints.
But with the addition of ankle weights, you can accomplish resistance training in the water, as well. This is a great option for anyone looking to preserve their bones and joints!
Benefits of Using Ankle Weights
Ankle weights are a great addition to your workout regime, as we have discussed. Here are 7 of the top benefits you can expect when you invest in a set:
- Better balance
- Stronger leg muscles
- Different workout options
- Higher calorie burn during aerobic workouts
- Increased endurance during aerobic workouts
- Travel-friendly for on-the-go workouts
- Offer low impact water-based resistance training
On top of those benefits, most pairs come in at under twenty bucks making them a very inexpensive option to up your fitness game.
Our Top Picks for Ankle Weights
Below are our top picks for the best ankle weights that will suit every skill level and price range. Our reviews are unbiased (we don’t publish sponsored content!) and a portion of any purchase made will help us keep the lights on around Fit Healthy Best.
We chose Reehut Ankle Weights as the best overall pair because they offer great comfort at a reasonable price and had excellent customer reviews. They are a great basic, entry-level set.
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- Great for basic, everyday use
- Weights available: 1 lb., 2 lb., 3 lb., 4 lb., 6 lb., 8 lb., 10 lb.
- Durable mesmerized cotton
- Moisture-wicking material
- Soft and breathable
- Easy to put on and take off
- Fits under pants so you can wear on a walk or around the house
- Does not shift around during use
- Set weight, not adjustable
- May come with an initial smell that will go away over time
- May not be as comfortable if you have very large ankles
We chose BalanceForm GoFit Ankle Weights as the best for comfort. This pair offers maximum comfort with sand-filled neoprene fabric. This is a great, simple, comfortable set. Reviewers also said this set was great for gymnasts and dancers.
- Weights available: 1-lb pair, 1.5-lb pair, 2-lb pair, 2.5-lb pair, 3-lb pair, 4-lb pair, 5-lb pair
- Soft, comfortable, ergonomic design
- D-ring fastener with strong velcro
- Neoprene exterior
- Reinforced stitching
- Breathable material
- Great for gymnasts or dancers
- Ideal for extended wear
- Nice color options — different color for each weight range
- 100% BalanceFrom satisfaction guarantee and 2-year BalanceFrom Warranty
- Set weight, not adjustable
- The strap on the heavier weights may come loose over time
- Not suitable in water
We chose Valeo Adjustable Ankle Weights as the best adjustable pair. These ankle weights offer the option of the removal of small weights nestled inside the ankle wrap. This allows you to customize the weight used for each exercise. These are a solid option for an adjustable set.
- Adjustable weight range from 4 pounds to 20 pounds per ankle
- Offered in 5-pound, 10-pound, 15-pound, or 20-pound pairs
- .5, 1, or 1.5, 2-pound weight removable sandbags (depending on total weight selected)
- Ideal for progressive overload due to adjustable weight
- D-ring fastener with strong velcro and long strap for custom fit
- Padded, non-abrasive lining
- May not be enough padding for some, especially at heavier weights
- Some users did not like the bulk of these
- Not ideal for water or extended, everyday use (better for progressive overload weight training)
We chose the Gaiam Ankle Weights as the best basic pair. These weights are great if you are interested in adding wrist weights to your workout in addition to ankle weights. They are a great budget-friendly, no fuss option that won’t slide around during your sweat session. These are a solid pair that you won’t spend time figuring out how to put on or need to continue to adjust during your workout. Some options with a small velcro strap can loosen during a workout and rub against your skin. The wide velcro straps won’t do that on this set.
- Set of 2 2.5 ankle weights
- Minimalist design — gets the job done
- Comfortable padding
- Strong velcro that won’t move during your workout
- Great for using as wrist weights
- Easy to put on
- Wide velcro straps won’t slide around and rub your skin
- Only one weight option available which means no room to grow
We chose the Kiefer Ankle Weights as the best weights for water fitness. This set is ideal for water fitness due to the durability of the materials and the strong velcro straps with added clip closures. A feature that we don’t usually see are the clips that allow you to fasten the 2
- Ideal for water fitness
- Strong stitching and well-made
- Very comfortable
- Made to last, even with continued use in water
- Durable material
- Can be clipped together to wear around waist (rare)
- The clip won’t wear out like some Velcro options would
- Weight is evenly distributed throughout
- Some said these weights were bulky
- Not ideal for wrists, according to some users
- Some users may not like the clipped attachment
- Clip can pinch skin if not careful when putting these weights on
We chose the All Pro Ankle Weights as the best heavy weight pair. This set is by far the most customizable as far as weight and adjustments go. The 1/2 pound weights that you can remove or insert depending on your fitness level or the exercise you are performing allow for extreme customization. You won’t be missing a certain weight point with this set! This set is ideal for men who perform weighted dips, chin-ups and pull-ups due to the heavy weights available.
- 3 weight options — 10 pound, 20 pound, and 40 pound sets
- Weights adjustable even further by .5 pound increments
- 20 and 40 pound ankle weight sets are rare!
- Padded to protect skin and sensitive tissue
- Great durability — last for years
- Ideal set for serious lifters who need heavier weight
- This is an investment set
- Iron bars may dig into some users ankle after extended use
- Not ideal for extended use
Frequently Asked Questions About Ankle Weights
Below are some common questions about this simple, inexpensive, yet versatile gym tool! Let us know if you have any other questions as we are continually updating our content.
Will they help you jump higher?
The jury is still out on if using weights on your ankles alone will help you jump higher. Technically, you’ll need to strengthen the fast twitch muscles in your glutes, hamstrings, and calves to improve your vertical.
This will require a well-rounded training program with weighted and non-weighted jumping. Some experts say that training with weights on your ankles with simply make you better at jumping with weights on your feet. However, many people do report that using ankle weights in jump training has increased the height that they can reach in a jump.
Ankle weights alone won’t make you jump higher — plyrometrics, lots of practice, and strong leg muscles will increase your jump. Strong glutes are essential for high jumps and moves that require a burst of strength, so be sure to get in that glute training, too.
What body parts can I train?
Remember how I said these weights are extremely versatile?
They can train almost any body part — upper, lower, and core.
You will wear them around your ankles for lower body moves. Usually, you’ll need to train one side of the body at a time to get the benefits. You can perform leg raises, kicks, swings and more.
For upper body, you’ll wear the weights as wrist weights. You can either do stationary compound movements or use them in an aerobic-based workout for added upper body resistance.
Tip: You can also wear ankle weights while doing tricep drips, chin-ups, and pull-ups for added resistance that is more comfortable than wearing a plate belt around your waist.
Another popular way to use these weights is to train the core muscles. You can fasten them to your lower legs and do these exercises for a solid ab and lower back workout:
- Bicycle crunches
- Hanging knee raises (Captain’s Chair)
- Seated knee tuck
- Reverse crunch
- Kneeling arm and leg reach
Weighted core training is a great way to build ab muscles and is often an untapped resource that many don’t incorporate into their workout plans. You’ll see many people doing a large number of reps and a large number of ab exercises to get that “burn” yet they never really develop their ab muscles.
By training your abs the same way you would train any other body part — 6 to 12 reps of a weighted exercise for 3-4 sets — you’ll likely see better gains than burning yourself out on tons of high rep, Bodyweight moves.
Are they good for training glutes and thighs?
Yes! Glute training has become increasingly popular in recent years. Of course, many people are interested in training glutes for aesthetic reasons, but did you know that having strong glutes is very important for your overall physical health?
Strong glutes are important for proper pelvic alignment which translates to good posture. In addition, if you strength train regularly, having strong glutes will help you prevent injuries.
In addition, the glutes are one of the largest muscles on your body and increasing your muscle mass will help you maintain a lean figure and increase your metabolism.
Some exercises you can perform with ankle weights for glutes are:
- Donkey kickbacks
- Side-lying leg raises
- Extra range side-lying hip abduction (from a bench)
- Standing leg lift
- Fire hydrant
Can you use them for rehabilitation?
Absolutely — they are great for rehabilitation exercises since you don’t have to hold them and they are available in extremely light weights.
A popular rehab option is for recovery after knee or knee replacement surgery. They can also be used during walking exercises during recovery.
Of course, this should be discussed with your Physical Therapist or Doctor before use.
Ankle weights are a great investment to any home gym for their versatility and ability to train multiple body parts.
The fact that some sets can be used on your wrists or around your waist is a huge added bonus. This is a great product for a very low cost. Plus, a set of these weights is a must if you’re focused on glute training.
For a very small cost, you can have a product that will last a very long time and give you multiple training options — you can’t beat that!