A great way to increase the difficulty level of your workouts is to add an ankle strap for exercising your muscles and adding extra body weight. Whether you want to add weight on your arms (wrists) and legs (ankles), or you choose for one or the other set, adding weight this way will bring a new challenge to both toning and cardio workouts.
Working Out with Ankle Weights
There are two main purposes of using ankle (or wrist) weights. The first use is to wear them while doing other exercise, such as running or simply going for a walk. Depending on the heaviness of the weights, you will add a certain amount of body weight by using these weights, which makes your heart work harder. For this reason, doing cardio exercises with ankle straps provides an even more intense cardio workout than going for a run or a bike ride alone.
The second usage of an ankle strap for exercising is to do toning workouts for the lower body. Pilates and aerobics style exercises will be more difficult to do and produce even better results, if they are done with light to moderate ankle weights. Exercises such as leg lifts and bicycle peddling in the air are even more difficult when there's a little bit of extra weight strapped onto the ends of your legs.
If you are a beginning exerciser, it's best to start working out using only your own body weight as resistance. Most exercise routines, whether a cardio exercise such as running, or a strength training exercise such as Pilates, are difficult enough for beginners, without any extra weight.As you grow more skilled with exercise, you can add some light ankle weights (and wrist weights) in order to boost your routine to the next level. If you plan to increase the amount of resistance weight on your ankles or wrists over time, you might consider investing in a pair of adjustable weights in order to prevent the need to purchase a heavier set of weights in the future.
Buying an Ankle Strap for Exercising
You can buy ankle weights at sporting goods stores or online. Generally speaking, you will have more options to choose from online than in a store. In addition, you can comparison shop much easier on your computer than by running around to different sporting goods stores. Amazon.com sells some of the popular ankle weights.
Bell 5 Pound Weights are sold as ankle and wrist weights. However, in practice, they are ankle friendly, but not very good for wrist wear. A cheaper set of weights, these are a good set to purchase if you're not quite sure yet if you will enjoy working out with ankle weights. If you decide another type of exercise is better for you, these were not a huge financial investment.
Savasa 3-5 Pound Weights can be ordered in 3, 4, or 5 pound versions and have excellent customer reviews. An added benefit of choosing these particular ankle weights is that they come with a workout DVD, making them a great deal if you were thinking of buying a set of weights and a workout DVD separately.
Everlast Adjustable Weights are excellent for the beginner who is looking to increase the amount of resistance they use in the ankle weights over time. Cheaper ankle weights traditionally come filled with a sand-like material, which makes the weight of the ankle strap fixed. If you have such sand-filled weights, you have to purchase a new set in order to move up into a new weight class. This set from Everlast circumvents this problem because the small weights that are inside these ankle straps can be added and taken out, making them perfectly adjustable.
Whichever ankle weights you end up purchasing, try them out at home before setting off for a long run or wearing them to your martial arts class!