Wrist and ankle weights to add extra oomph to your home workouts

Wrist and ankle weight

by Eleanor Weaver |

You may remember these kicking around the house from your own childhood, but the ‘80s ankle weight is back. Popularised again by celeb mums including Kayla Itsines, Jessica Alba, and Kate Hudson, these wearable weighted ‘sandbags’ can be attached to your ankles or wrists with Velcro straps, and add a little extra challenge to your movement.

Not only can you reap the benefits of adding a wrist weight or ankle weight to your kitchen floor workouts, but they’re also hands-free too, perfect if your tot is up and running and you want to stay ready to pounce on any child-related incidents. And, taking up practically no space whatsoever, you don’t need to worry about adding to the build-up of home clutter and forgotten fitness equipment with a set of these.

We’ve broken down exactly what these weights can do for you, and the best to buy.

Are ankle and wrist weights effective?

Wearing wrist and ankle weights can effectively add resistance to your workouts or daily movement to up the intensity just that little extra. The low-impact weight training achieved through the wearable weights makes your muscles work that bit harder and can help improve your overall strength, muscle tone (with the right exercises), endurance, and boost calorie burn.

These weights are generally recommended for use during your workouts rather than when you’re running around after kids or going on a daily walk, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that applies to some, but not all, exercises. They’re not ideal for more high-impact, vigorous aerobic exercises such as running but make a great addition to static, muscle-targeting exercises such as lunges, leg lifts, bicep curls, and rows.

It’s also not wise to wear them all day, every day. You need to give your muscles the chance to recover, no matter how small the weight, with excessive use posing the risk of putting stress on your joints.

How heavy should ankle and wrist weights be?

According to the American Council on Exercise, it's best to limit ankle and wrist weights to one to three pounds each with this weight range still increasing “heart rate by five to 10 beats per minute and oxygen consumption (as well as caloric expenditure) by about 5 to 15 per cent compared to performing the same activity without weights.” If you do plan to wear yours on the move while walking around at home or out and about, the lightest weight possible is best to use to help reduce muscle imbalance where possible.

Wrist and ankle weight exercises to try at home

Incorporating wrist and ankle weights into your home workout can target muscle groups to tone and build strength. Using the weights on your wrists can provide the same benefits as dumbbells with the weights targeting biceps, triceps, and shoulders depending on the exercise. Ankle weights, on the other hand, can work the muscles in your quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

If you're not sure where to start or how to incorporate your wrist and ankle weights, these popular home workout videos will help you get your sweat on!

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