The 10 Best Ankle Weights

Updated June 22, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Wearing a set of ankle weights as you go about your day can help you build muscle and burn calories without stepping into a fitness center or breaking into a jog. They're also a great way to add intensity to your workout routines. Available in a variety of weight combinations, they can serve as a nice complement to rehabilitation programs, as well. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best ankle weight on Amazon.

10. Da Vinci Adjustable Pairs

The Da Vinci Adjustable Pairs come in any of six colors with a variety of options for different amounts of resistance. They aren't the most comfortable choice available on the market, but they're fine for wearing over your clothes.
  • durable velcro bands
  • moisture-absorbent
  • can slide on some legs
Brand Da Vinci
Model pending
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. MaxxMMA Neoprene Adjustable

The MaxxMMA Neoprene Adjustable have removable pouches containing half a pound each, so you can dial in a comfortable amount of resistance. This set can be worn over your clothing and is easily adjusted without having to be removed.
  • 5 inserts for each ankle
  • one size fits most people
  • too bulky to wear under pants
Brand MaxxMMA Neoprene Adjust
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

8. Gaiam Fitness 5Lb.

Available as a set of two 2.5-lb. units, the Gaiam Fitness 5Lb. attach snugly and are ideal for adding effort to common everyday activities, like running errands or cleaning the house. They offer an effective way to tone specific muscles through simple exercises.
  • can double as arm weights
  • easy to clean with a cloth
  • sand is audible during movement
Brand Gaiam
Model 05-62327
Weight 8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

7. Nayoya Wellness Three Pound

The Nayoya Wellness Three Pound are light enough for use during yoga or Pilates routines in which you simply want to do a little bit more work. Their lightweight design makes them an adequate option for people who walk for exercise.
  • sweat-absorbing cloth covers
  • nylon carrying pouch
  • straps are rather short
Brand Nayoya Wellness
Model pending
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. All Pro Adjustable

Compact and comfortable, the All Pro Adjustable are a solid choice for people who enjoy extended workouts and want to maximize their time. They feature convenient cushioned flaps that protect your ankles and help ensure stability.
  • adjust in half-pound increments
  • easy to put on and take off
  • look somewhat dated
Brand All Pro
Model 400
Weight 10.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. TheraBand Comfort

The lightweight TheraBand Comfort are the go-to choice for health-conscious exercise enthusiasts of all ages and fitness levels. They're subtle enough to conceal under your clothing, so no one has to know about your secret calorie burning, muscle building weapon but you.
  • great for rehabilitation work
  • reflective trim
  • can cause minor chafing
Brand TheraBand
Model 25871
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Ivation Premium Cuffs

A sleek and attractive design makes the Ivation Premium Cuffs a fashionable choice for use on running tracks, in the gym, or down at the yoga studio. The adjustable Velcro straps allow you to tighten them to your liking to keep them from sliding.
  • three pounds per ankle
  • discreet enough to stay hidden
  • somewhat scratchy material
Brand Ivation
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Healthy Model Life

Designed with a woman in mind, but strong enough to serve as a wise choice for men, the Healthy Model Life will help you tone muscles, improve endurance, and burn calories wherever you are. They are comfortable and secure, with an evenly distributed load.
  • lifetime replacement guarantee
  • will not slip due to sweating
  • no irritating buckles or snaps
Model pending
Weight 10.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Shoung Reflective Set

Thanks to their moisture-absorbent fabric, you shouldn't be a sweaty mess when you finish working out with the Shoung Reflective Set. Designed for children and adults of any gender, this option allows you to choose from six bright colors.
  • reflective strips for nighttime jogs
  • do not irritate the skin
  • seven available increments
Brand SHOUNg
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Nordic Lifting Adjustable

The Nordic Lifting Adjustable are designed with tough stitching and strong padding, ensuring their durability for frequent exercisers. They are a safe option as well, as they feature reflective trim for those who prefer to get their workouts in after dark.
  • come in four sizes
  • include instruction manual
  • one-year warranty
Brand Nordic Lifting
Model pending
Weight 10.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Weight Training

The desire to prove to your peers that you're capable of lifting heavier things than they are is as old as humanity itself. In many ancient societies, tribes would have a giant rock, and whoever was able to lift the rock got to inscribe their name into the stone. It was basically the prehistoric equivalent of winning a t-shirt for eating a 5-pound burrito in an hour.

The ancient Greeks were the first to develop the idea of progressive resistance training. A famous wrestler from the 6th century B.C.E., Milo of Croton, was said to have carried a newborn calf on his back every day to slowly build up his strength until such time as he could carry around a full-grown cow.

While carrying cows around is certainly an impressive party trick (assuming you like to party on dairy farms), it's not really a practical training regimen. One of Milo's contemporaries, a physician named Galen, created primitive dumbbells that were much more practical for slowly and steadily building strength.

For most of the next few millennia, most people built strength through daily chores, and didn't feel the need to spend what little free time they had trying to add extra power to their frame.

By the 19th century C.E., however, improving your physique was becoming more of a priority. Barbells were invented, and the Indian club was extremely popular, especially in post-Civil War America.

At the first modern Olympics in 1896, competitive weightlifting was featured as part of the track and field competition. It became its own event about 20 years later, and boasting the world's reigning strongman became a point of national pride.

In the 1930s, Charles Atlas became a household name thanks to his early weight training routines, and especially due to a marketing strategy that linked being muscular with being masculine. For the first time, building your body was seen as a necessity rather than a novelty.

When the 1970s rolled around, Arnold Schwarzenegger helped put bodybuilding on the map. That, combined with more and more research demonstrating the health benefits of pumping iron, made strength training an important habit for men and women alike.

Today, it's almost universally-recognized that everyone should do a little bit of resistance training, and there are myriad ways to incorporate weights into your daily routine. You don't have to look like Arnold, but your body will thank you for adding some lifting into your life.

Just don't carve your name into the dumbbells at the gym. They hate that.

Benefits Of Ankle Weights

While slapping on a pair of ankle weights isn't enough to single-handedly transform your body, don't underestimate the impact these little things can have on your health and physique.

By adding constant, slight resistance to your legs, you can tone your butt and legs without adding much bulk. Any increase in muscle mass could also boost your metabolism, helping you burn more calories even when you're not actively trying to do so.

You won't have to sacrifice a bunch of time or space to achieve these results, either. Because they're extremely small, you can stash them in a drawer or under your bed, and you won't have to be constantly tripping over a bulky piece of equipment. And, if you're wearing them all day, you can just go about your regular routine without having to carve out a dedicated time to get a workout in.

Even better, they're extremely inexpensive, so you won't have to shell out for a monthly gym membership or installment payments on a Bowflex. They make improving your body within the reach of just about anyone, regardless of financial situation.

They're especially good for the elderly, or those rehabbing from an injury, as they can provide steady resistance without taxing your muscles too much. There's a reason why so many physical therapists swear by these things.

Now, don't get us wrong — they're not a replacement for free weights and a dedicated fitness routine. However, they're a great way to dip your toe into your New Year's resolution, or to just add a little extra oomph to your daily life.

Which brings us to the biggest drawback these things have: they give you no excuse not to exercise.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Ankle Weights

Just because ankle weights aren't heavy doesn't mean they can't have a big impact on your body — if you use them correctly, that is. Luckily, we're here to show you how to do just that.

Of course, before we get started, we have to insert the obligatory "talk to your doctor before you begin" warning, especially if you're recovering from injury. You might not think it, but you can hurt yourself if you're not careful.

You should primarily use ankle weights to augment bodyweight exercises. If you do squats or pistols, incorporate a leg lift at the end. This is surprisingly taxing, and works everything from your core on down.

Speaking of your core, adding extra weight to Supermans or hanging leg raises can build up those abs like you wouldn't believe. In fact, you should wear ankle weights anytime you do anything on a chin-up bar.

Of course, you don't have to do any exercises at all to benefit from ankle weights. You can wear them while walking your dogs or doing your grocery shopping, and your tired legs at the end of the day will inform you of just how much of a workout you managed to get in without even realizing it.

Really, there aren't any wrong ways to use them — just be sure you use them. Because if all they ever do is sit in the corner, then the only thing they'll build is your guilt muscle (and it's probably swole enough).

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Last updated on June 22, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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