After ten straight months of at-home workouts, our fitness routine was starting to feel a little boring. We’d mastered all the moves in our favorite dance cardio classes, and we felt ready for a new challenge. Enter: Ankle weights. We’ve been curious about Bala Bangles (especially since we saw they were on sale) but we figured it’d be useful to do a deep dive into this fitness category before we add to cart.
What are ankle weights?
Ankle weights are wearable weights, that usually range from one to five pounds that you secure around your ankles. They’re designed to add extra resistance to your lower body while you move, which makes your leg muscles work harder.
What workouts are ankle weights good for?
These are a great way to add an extra challenge to everything from lower impact workouts like yoga and Pilates to cardio exercises like walking and jumping jacks. That said, you probably want to avoid wearing ankle weights while running, since the extra heft can increase your chances of injury, according to Runner’s World.
What are the benefits of wearing ankle weights?
To put it simply, they strengthen your leg muscles and create a greater toning effect. "The weight places a greater load on the muscle group being targeted,” Terry Downey, a physical therapist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network told Harvard Health Letter. “The muscles have to work harder to move this increased load against gravity, and in turn this will increase strength.”
What should you look for when shopping for ankle weights?
First, think about the weight you want—and what your body can handle. If you’re new to using ankle weights, you probably want to opt for a one- to two-pound set. That might not sound like a lot, but trust us, it’ll make doing leg lifts or lunges feel a lot more challenging. When in doubt, opt for a pair with adjustable poundage, so you can figure out what level of resistance you like best.
When shopping for ankle weights, you also want to consider what type of exercise you plan to use them for. For example, if you’re really into HIIT workouts, you’ll need a pair that’s more durable and secure than your standard ankle weights to ensure they don’t break or slide mid-jump squat.
Sold on investing in a pair? We don’t blame you. Here, the 14 best ankle weights to take your at-home workouts to the next level.
1. Bala Bangles 1lb Weighted Bangles
As you probably already know, thanks to your Instagram feed, these wrist/ankle weights have gained a cult following since March. What makes them so special, you ask? Well, in addition to taking your workout to the next level, they look super chic. Like, you could actually run errands in them and you’d probably get compliments. Reviewers say their Velcro closure is super easy to put on and take off and that they stay in place a lot better than other traditional ankle weights.
2. BalanceFrom GoFit Fully Adjustable 1lb Ankle Weights
If you’re looking for a pair of no nonsense, basic ankle weights, you can’t go wrong with these. They’re fully adjustable thanks to the Velcro strap and have a soft, moisture-wicking neoprene exterior. “The material is soft and I love that [they’re] squishy because it [increases] the comfort level [so they don’t] hurt my ankles at all,” one reviewer writes. Just note that buyers say these weights don’t hold up very well during high intensity activities, so you might want to look for a different pair if that’s what you want to use them for.
3. Equipt Movement Unwrap 3lb Ankle Weights
Made from vegan leather, these ankle weights are the fanciest ones on the market. And considering they’re made by the same brand as the Ubarre dumbbell, which doubles as sleek home decor, we’d expect nothing less. And they’re definitely a workout accessory you can proudly walk around the block in.
4. Prodigen Adjustable Ankle Weights
Best Adjustable Ankle Weights
Investing in multiple sets of ankle weights for different exercises can add up quickly. Instead, opt for this pair with removable weights that be added or removed, based on your workout. They can hold between one and five pounds, and buyers say it’s super convenient to be able to choose exactly how much resistance you want on any given day.
5. Fitnessery 3lb Adjustable Ankle Weights
Fitnessery specifically designed these weights with an extra-long strap and equal weight distribution throughout for a more comfortable fit and, according to buyers, it’s paid off. They say that unlike other pairs that can feel loose and slip around, these stay securely in place—even during high intensity workouts. “Of all the ankle weights I’ve purchased, these are the least bulky and easiest to take on and off,” adds one woman.
6. TheraBand 2.5lb Ankle Weights
Unlike most ankle weights, which feature a neoprene or nylon material, these have a soft terry cloth interior. So yeah, they’re hands-down the comfiest ankle weights you’ll ever strap on. The material ensures that they won’t chafe against your skin or cause irritation like some other pairs might. The only downside? They only come in one- and two-pound variations.
7. Fragraim Adjustable Ankle Weights
Best Weight Range
Whether you want one-pound ankle weights or six-pound ankle weights, Fragraim has you covered. All of their sets have adjustable inserts that start at one pound and go all the way up to 12 (just in case you happen to have herculean calf muscles). Buyers say they’re especially great for physical therapy, because you can slowly build resistance by adding additional weight as you get stronger.
8. Bona Fitness 2lb Ankle Weights
Best for Walking
What sets these ankle weights apart, according to reviewers, is the wide Velcro strap, which keeps them from slipping down or twisting around your legs whether you’re strolling on a sidewalk or a hiking trail. “I like that they stay in place while I’m walking. No leaning over to readjust them,” explains one buyer. Plus, they have bright reflective trim to ensure that you’re visible to cars if you’re wearing them while walking at night.
9. HealthyModeLife 1lb Ankle Weights
Best for Low Impact Workouts
If you’ve been on the hunt for a pair of ankle weights you can basically set and forget at the beginning of your barre class, look no further. Customers say these have really a strong Velcro closure, so they never have to be readjusted, and that the one-pound resistance adds just the right amount of challenge to low impact workouts. The weight is evenly distributed around, too, to prevent them from shifting during leg exercises.
10. Henkelion Adjustable Ankle Weights
Best for High Intensity Workouts
Looking to spice up your favorite HIIT workout with some extra resistance? Then you definitely want to invest in ankle weights that are super durable, like this Henkelion set. Many of the almost 5,000 five-star reviews call them “well-made,” “sturdy” and “made to last.” In other words, they won’t burst at the seams once you start doing jumping jacks. One reviewer said she’s even run 15 miles in them before (not that we necessarily recommend that).
11. P.volve 3lb Ankle Weights
Best for Wearing Around the House
We noticed that P.volve’s ankle weights seem to be the most popular with reviewers when it comes to a pair that you can wear around the house. “They’re so comfortable, I actually find myself wearing them all day around the house while we are all under quarantine,” attests a reviewer. Others mention that the combination of neoprene and sponge materials is really soft, which explains why so many people like wearing them for extended periods of time. And the cute color options help, too.
12. Reehut Ankle Weights
Best for Small Ankles
Thanks to the lengthy Velcro strap and D ring, you can make these ankle weights as tight as you need, even if your ankles are on the smaller side. In fact, they can be made small enough to fit kids. “My daughter is super skinny [and they’re] good for her,” a mom writes. The secure straps and comfortable cotton blend material earn this set brownie points with reviewers, too.
13. All Pro Aqua Power Aquatic 4lb Ankle Weights
Best Waterproof Ankle Weights
These ankle weights can be used in the water, making them perfect for building strength during water aerobics classes. Plus, the neoprene material won’t retain water like other fabrics. “I’ve been using this brand of wrist and ankle weights for about 10 years for regular pool workouts. They add a little more resistance to make the workouts more effective,” confirms one woman. And if four pounds on each ankle sounds like a little much, don’t worry. You can easily adjust the weight to make them just two pounds each.
14. Body Togs Leg Weights
Most Unique Design
Rather than having the weight concentrated around your ankles, Body Togs have a slim, sleeve design that distributes weight all the way up your calves. They come in S through XL sizes, and vary in weight from three to 6.5 pounds depending, on which size you order. Psst, these are so slim that you can easily wear them out and about under your pant legs without anyone noticing.
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