Are Ankle Weights Safe?

12 November 2018

Ainsley Hunter

Ankle and foot weights are considered convenient for workouts and training, but many times, if not used correctly, they may cause injuries and accidents. Besides wanting to look and get into shape, most men and women actively search for any advantage that they can get while toning their bodies and losing weight. Many choose to do so with the help of ankle weights during cardio or while doing floor exercises in the gym.

People at professional and advanced levels of fitness and training, and those who know their bodies well, tend to use ankle and leg weights to get firmer thighs, and higher resistance.

There are several pros and cons related to ankle weights. However, the wisest solution to using ankle weights so far has been to use them prudently under supervision. Getting a physiotherapist to assist you occasionally or consulting with the trainers in the gym can also help you use ankle weights safely and reap great rewards from their use.

Let us look at some do’s and don’ts to using ankle weights.


  • While purchasing, choose weights that are made of breathable fabric or material. Weights filled with sand or water, are ideal for all users, irrespective of their level of fitness.
  • Ankle weights are great for people who are used to lifting their legs at a 90-degree angle while lying down. These weights add fantastic resistance to the floor exercise training.
  • Do select ankle weights with gravity especially while doing stretching exercises to ease the body from aches and pains.


  • Avoid sleeping with the ankle weights or keeping them on when you’re not actively working out. Keeping the ankle weights on for prolonged periods may increase the tension in your legs and cause tendon damage.
  • Avoid using ankle weights till you reach a mid to high level of training and endurance. Beginners should avoid ankle weights and concentrate on increasing stamina and metabolic rate through cardio exercises.
  • Don’t use ankle weights without supervision the first time. Ankle weights are heavy and if misused, can cause ankle sprains and ligament tears.

Let us look at how ankle weights affect different parts of the body.

Ankle Weights in strength training:

People who use ankle weights during strength training have benefited the highest. By incorporating ankle weights during strength workouts, you can distribute the strain on the muscles through added weights so that you can protect your knees. Strength training during leg lifts and floor exercises add resistance to the feet while taking the stress off the knees.

Ankle weights are great on elliptical trainers, cycles, and other weight machines. They can also be successfully incorporated while doing floor exercises, pull-ups, and crunches. While using ankle weights for the first time, use the minimum weighted ones, and then slowly work your way up to higher loads.

ankle weights

Ankle weights in cardio:

Wearing ankle weights while doing high-intensity cardio exercises may injure the hamstrings and put a strain on the knees. It is fine, however, to use ankle weights while walking, running, or while jogging. High-intensity training increases the burn and muscle tear at the ligaments and knee joints. Adding extra stress to the legs during high-intensity cardio exercises will harm your stamina and cause significant injuries like straining the posture, decreasing back strength, and ligament tears.

Additional weights on your ankles for prolonged periods of time may cause a change in your gait. This change is due to the different loads on your feet.


Ankle weights in pregnancy:

Women may work with ankle weights during pregnancy. However, before starting exercise with weights, it is necessary to check with the doctor. Most women are advised to have some form of exercise throughout their pregnancies. However, depending on the family and medical histories, some may be prescribed bed rest. While using ankle weights, it is essential to warm up thoroughly before the exercise routine. Ideally, expecting mothers should not use more than 2 lbs of ankle weights to each ankle.

At the first sign of leg or back pain, please stop immediately and rush to the nearest hospital. Drinking water while exercising with ankle weights will help in maintaining hydration levels and keeping the stamina high. While performing lunges or other thigh exercises, expecting mothers may place the ankle weights around their thighs to help increase resistance.



Using ankle weights during workouts are safe if used correctly and under supervision. People who enjoy undertaking newer challenges and pushing their bodies to untapped limits will enjoy the workout benefits of using ankle weights in their daily routines.