Fitness accessories have been among the fastest growing industries in the last few decades. From gimmicky TV shop devices to actual, proven fitness tools, we’re constantly bombarded with new products. In all of that commotion, it’s easy to forget or overlook accessories with a solid track record. Case in point, ankle weights. Today we will go over our picks for the best ankle weights to help turn your core and lower body muscles into strong, sculpted weapons.
We dove into the nitty-gritty details, did all the necessary legwork and came up with a few formidable choices. The objective of this guide is two-fold. First and foremost, we want to prove once and for all that ankle weights offer a viable way of building and developing certain muscle groups – most notably your abs, quads, glutes, hamstrings and hip muscles. Secondly, we want to dispel all of the false information that’s been circling around.
We intend to achieve both objectives by presenting you with facts you can easily check. After all, you should always double-check every piece of info you get. At the end of the day, this guide will help you understand ankle weights as well as find the best one for your needs. With that said, let’s dig in!
Best Ankle Weights At a Glance
Best Ankle Weights Overall
Nordic’s ankle weights are probably the best bang for your buck you can find at the moment. They’re comfortable, durable, and pack 5lbs per weight. You’ll find them perfect for a variety of strengthening and toning exercises as they’re not too bulky and have few issues with staying in place.
Best Value Ankle Weights
Cippser’s ankle weights offer a robust design that is all about retention. As a result, you’ll have a set of weights that doesn’t move or slide around during use. Due to their bulky nature, Cippser’s weights are best used for exercises that aren’t too vigorous.
Best Budget Ankle Weights
Perfect for all uses, Fitnessery’s weights are all about that low profile design. These are the type of ankle weights that won’t burden or impeded any movements. They’re ideal for high intensity calisthenic exercises like hanging leg lifts.
The Best Ankle Weights
|Nordic Lifting Ankle / Wrist Weights||
|CIPPSER Premium Ankle Weights||
|Fitnessery Ankle Weights||
|Prodigen Adjustable Ankle / Wrist Weights Set||
|A2ZCARE Ankle / Wrist Weight Set||
|Nordic Lifting Ankle / Wrist Weights|
|CIPPSER Premium Ankle Weights|
|Fitnessery Ankle Weights|
|Prodigen Adjustable Ankle / Wrist Weights Set|
|A2ZCARE Ankle / Wrist Weight Set|
One of the most important but often overlooked aspects of ankle weights is comfort. There are all kinds of designs out there, but not all of them are something you’d want to use every day. Matter of fact, there are numerous models that dig right into your skin unless you run a pair of socks underneath the weights. Nordic Lifting understands that comfort is important. That, among other things, is the reason why their adjustable weights are sitting at the top of our list.
It all starts with quality materials. Nordic Lifting used good quality nylon as the backbone of the entire weight. You have reinforced stitching, industrial grade Velcro, and of course, neoprene padding. Everything mentioned right until that last bit is important, but neoprene padding is what separates this model from the rest. Other models are also padded for the most part, but not like this. Aside from comfort, that extra padding allows you to tighten down on the Velcro without interfering with circulation. This is a set of two 5 lbs. weights, which is plenty for most users. These come with a manual and a carrying bag.
- Quality materials ensure good fit, durability, and consistency
- Plenty of thick, neoprene padding ensures comfort
- 5 lbs. per weight makes this a great set for most users
- Reasonably priced considering what you get in the box
The Not So Good
- These are not adjustable in terms of weight
- Thicker ankles will leave a bit of Velcro exposed that can irritate your skin
Our previous pick falls within what you’d call standard ankle weights. In other words, it follows a design pattern that most other brands follow as well, and for a good reason too. Most of the brands that do their own thing are a hit or miss at best. With that said, there are solid hits out there, like Cippser Premium Ankle Weights. You know that feeling when you know something is quality made just by looking at it? That’s the effect Cippser’s weights have on most people.
Are they over-engineered? Maybe, but that can’t be a bad thing. The only real issue we have with these, and the only reason why these are not at the top, is their size. All of that extra stability and comfort comes at a price. Larger ankle weights can limit movement and create issues with HIIT cardio workout. If you can get over that, you’ll have a great fitness tool in your arsenal. These come in 2, 4, 5 and 6 lbs. versions, which is great if you’re just starting out. Materials are top notch, that’s for sure. Durability or reliability for that matter was never an issue with Cippser’s gear. If you want an indestructible set of ankle weights, these are for you.
- One of the most rugged and durable models on the market
- Comes in a variety of weights
- Features good comfort with plenty of padding
- Attractive price all things considered
The Not So Good
- These might be too large for some people / some uses
Not all ankle weights are created equal. That much is obvious to anyone. You pretty much have to choose your gear based on what you intend to do with it. That’s the golden rule of fitness accessories that applies to ankle weights as well. Fitnessery’s model you see pictured above is meant to be low-profile and stealthy. In other words, these bad boys were made for versatility. No matter what you plan to do with them, we’re confident they won’t leave you frustrated.
Fitnessery ditched the whole belt and buckle deal and went with an integrated Velcro strip. Actually, everything is pretty much integrated into the main body of the weight. Aside from greatly simplifying things, this approach has allowed Fitnessery to build something that gets the job done in terms of creating resistance, but doesn’t impede your legs’ movements as you exercise.
As far as build quality goes, these are very decent. You can expect quality nylon fabric, good stitching, and enough padding to neutralize those sewn in weights. One thing worth mentioning is that you really have to let these dry out after use. Otherwise, you might see some premature wear on the seams.
- A simple design that balances comfort and performance
- Affordable, especially if you select the lighter models
- Comes with a carrying sack and a workout manual
The Not So Good
- Prone to premature wear if left soaked in sweat
- Harder to tighten to a point where they don’t move
The next product on our list comes from Prodigen. It is a different type of beast compared to what we have discussed so far. Prodigen recognized the need for adjustable weights in the affordable segment and they went for it. The end result is a fairly simple package that gets the job done. It’s not the most comfortable weight you can wrap around your ankles, but it not too bad either. The overall design is utilitarian to the bone. You have five cells that can hold 1 weight each, sewn into a nylon fabric base. Once you wrap it around your ankle or wrist, it forms a pentagram. Pentagrams just so happen to be the optimal shape for this type of product.
Since the weight bags are soft, you’re essentially wrapping 5 cushions around your limbs. The only problem that you can have with Prodigen’s weights is the strap. We feel that the strap could have been slightly thicker, but this one works just fine in most cases. Since you can order different weights, we strongly suggest that you go for the heaviest. With 5 lbs. on each weight, this will allow you the greatest weight range possible.
- One of the cheapest adjustable models on the market
- A simple, utilitarian design that just works
- Comes in different weights, which translates to more options
- Stays in place surprisingly well
The Not So Good
- Cumbersome for running (not recommended anyway)
- Risk of splitting that comes with sandbag weights
Last but not least we have a set of weights which excel in terms of comfort. A2ZCare did something many brands are starting to do, and that is taking full advantage of neoprene padding. Neoprene padding is interesting because you get to pack it up with weights without affecting comfort. With that in mind, these weights really are soft. On top of being fairly comfortable, the design is inherently compact. Even if you take the heaviest set they offer, you’ll still be able to run without the weights getting in your way.
One area where a lot of neoprene padding can cause issues is durability. Fortunately for us, A2ZCare went all out on stitching and materials. Locking these down is done using a beefy, wide Velcro strap. You can easily adjust the fit of the weights by extending the strap. They’ve added a standard D ring to help you do this. These weights come in a number of options ranging from 1 lb all the way up to 5 lbs. in half pound increments. If you are looking for a decent set of weights for Crossfit or calisthenics, these will do more than fine.
- Plenty of neoprene padding makes life that much easier
- Spot on bang for the buck value
- Different weight options are available
- Compact design ensures a low profile look.
The Not So Good
- There is a chance these might slide around your leg during use
- The heaviest option is pretty puffy
Should You Get Ankle Weights?
Ankle weights are a versatile fitness tool – probably among the most versatile ones out there. People often look at them through a prism of walking, running and other similar cardio activities. As we explain below, this is actually the worst possible use for ankle weights. If you want to increase the difficulty and effectiveness of your walking / jogging / running, you’re much better off either picking up the pace, or increasing the incline (i.e., increase incline setting on the treadmill, or use actual hills / inclines).
There’s much better and safer exercises you can do with ankle weights. In particular, muscle strengthening exercises that utilize the hamstrings, glutes and muscles of the hips. But, does the fact that ankle weights can be really useful mean that you should get a pair?
Weighted exercise, especially the kind involving wearable weights, requires some finesse. You really should aim to be at a certain level of physical fitness before you start adding weights. The question from the title can be answered in two ways.
Ankle Weights for Beginners
If you are just starting out on your fitness journey, there’s a good chance you don’t need ankle weights. Your priority should be getting comfortable with your body’s own weight first. Once you grow stronger, become faster and more efficient, ankle weights are fair game. Until you reach that point, there is a small chance that you could do more harm than good. This can be due to improper posture, bad form and a slew of other issues beginners often deal with.
Ankle Weights for Advanced Users
Seasoned runners and anyone actively involved in fitness can definitely benefit from a set of ankle weights. There’s a lot you can do with them that you can’t with free weights. Athletes use ankle weights to work on their explosive movement, agility and many other aspects of physical fitness. Once you have the tool in hand and you’re experienced, you’ll find a way to use it.
Choosing the Right Ankle Weights
It’s a weight in a sack, how hard can it be, right? The simplest things are often the most complicated to get right. The issue with ankle weights is that you really have to know what you’re looking for before you even think about pulling your wallet. Are you a runner? Or are you a fan of Crossfit? What works for one of these activities may not necessarily work for the other. Let’s elaborate.
Size, Shape, and Weight
Here’s the thing – size matters. So does the shape and especially the weight, at least when it comes to ankle weights. Let’s say that you’re a passionate runner. In that case, you might want to get a model that is low profile so it doesn’t impede you as you run. You will also want something that is packing moderate weight.
On the other hand, if you are a body-weight fitness freak, your requirements will be different. Chances are that you’ll want as much weight as you can get. Also, you won’t care that much, if at all, about the size or shape of the weights. After all, you’re not doing any cardio.
Finally, something to be aware of is that there are many ankle weights that are designed specifically for women.
Fixed or Adjustable Ankle Weights
There are two broad variety of ankle weights you can
get: Those with a fixed amount of weight, and those with removable weights. Fixed weight ankle weights tend to be less expensive, but also less versatile. If and when you adapt to a specific weight, you’ll have to purchase a whole new pair. On the other hand, adjustable ankle weights are generally more expensive and bulky, but are able to grow as you do.
Another very important but often overlooked aspect of ankle weights is their ability to stay in place. It’s a simple thing to ask for yet one of the hardest to obtain. Thin, short straps are a bad omen in terms of retention. A thin strap spread over a massive weight is there to keep things together in the crudest sense of the word. What you want is something that inspires confidence, something wider, longer and preferably secured in place by a secondary mechanism.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ankle Weights
With the basics out of the way, we can move on to answering some of the most frequently asked questions. You will most likely recognize some of these, but some might be completely new to you. Let’s dig right in!
Are Ankle Weights Effective?
Yes, they are. It’s really that simple. Adding weight to your body forces it to adapt to newly established conditions. Adding weight around your ankles does exactly that but most of the gains are going to be localized to the muscles of your lower body and core. As long as you are using proper form, good equipment and progressively overloading, ankle weights will work for you.
The real question is how to best use this tool? We strongly suggest that you implement a number of different exercises in your routine. As with any other type of weights, you have to switch things up from time to time in order to induce muscle growth. Doing one exercise over and over again will just force your body to accept that as the new norm. Once that happens, your gains will rapidly diminish.
Are Ankle Weight Bad for You?
Ankle weights aren’t inherently bad for you but they can be if you don’t know how to use them properly. Right now, you’re probably wondering – what is there to mess up with ankle weights? You just put them on and go do your thing, right? Not exactly.
For starters, you need to learn how to properly put them on. There are many people out there who place the weights as low around their ankles as possible. However, you should always place them a bit higher and lock them down tight. The key is to tighten them enough to keep them in place, but not enough to cut off circulation.
People often look to use ankle weights for running and other high-impact cardio activities (e.g., aerobics). If this is what you’re looking to do with them, you need to be extra careful. Ankle weights can exert more pressure and stress on your joints and tendons. This makes ligament and tendon injuries through the knees, hips and ankles more likely. As such, we highly recommend that you DO NOT wear ankle weights for any exercises that involve bearing weight through your legs (e.g., running, jogging, jumping exercises)
If, however, you’re intent on using ankle weights to add some resistance to these kinds of exercises, you must warm up properly, double-check the fit of your weights, and refrain from using them for long periods. A good rule of thumb is to never wear them for more than 10 minutes at a time, and complete double the amount of exercise without them on as you did with them on (e.g., if you walk with them on for 5 minutes, walk without them on for another 10 minutes). This will help to prevent the development of muscle imbalances.
Does Wearing Ankle Weights Help With Weight Loss?
Ankle weights are commonly used in an effort to improve weight loss. However, they alone won’t get you where you need to go. Weight loss is a process that requires more than one piece of the puzzle to fall into place. Adding weight to your body will force you to burn more calories as you start compensating for the extra resistance you’re putting on your muscles. However, you have to ensure the intensity and frequency of your exercise remains the same. That is the only way ankle weights will help you with weight loss.
How Heavy Should Ankle Weights Be?
The answer to this question depends on two factors – what you’re doing and your level of experience. If you’re a beginner, you might want to go light with your ankle weights until you get in better shape.
On the other hand, if you’re more experienced and use them for Crossfit, bodyweight training or other kinds of strength training, you’ll benefit from heavier weights. The best advice we can give you on this matter is to get a set of weights that you’re comfortable with. Be a realist, know your boundaries, and you’ll quickly find yourself progressing past your previous plateaus.
Well, there you have it: The best ankle weights to build and tone muscle. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably realized just how effective and useful ankle weights can really be. This simple piece of fitness paraphernalia can make a real difference to the quality of exercise you do.
The models we’ve listed above are by far some of the best you can find right now. Our goal was to give you a cross-section of the market and present you with a few good options that will get you where you need to go. All you’re left with doing is finding the right set for your needs.