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What are the Benefits of Water Ankle Weights?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The benefits of water ankle weights are that they increase the resistance of the water against the body, which means the muscles of the legs need to work harder to perform the same activities than they would without the weights. The resistance from the water against the muscles is what increases muscular strength and provides body benefits when exercising in the water. Water ankle weights also add weight to the legs, making them more difficult to lift.

Ankle and hand weights are common exercise tools. Experts warn, however, that ankle or hand weights should not be worn while walking or jogging normally. Although they do make exercises more challenging, they put undue stress on tendons, and can actually stretch tendons and cause permanent damage. This is not a concern in the water, however, which means that ankle and hand weights should only be used while in the pool. Water ankle weights are inexpensive, and can be found online or in most fitness stores; they are typically soft, waterproof weights that simply strap around the ankles.

Water ankle weights can be worn for most activities in the pool except for swimming, which would be very awkward. Most people wear water ankle weights when doing aqua aerobics; this is a type of aerobics that is done entirely in the pool. It involves normal aerobics exercises such as leg raises, dips, jumps, and even aqua jogging. When one is wearing the ankle weights for these types of exercises, the exercises are made more challenging, which helps to increase muscular strength and burn fat. One is able to get an excellent full body workout without putting undue stress on joints or tendons, and this type of exercise is often used for rehabilitation after injuries.

Even simply treading water while wearing water ankle weights can be a great way to exercise the legs; all of the muscles in the legs are engaged and working for this simple yet challenging exercise. Another one of the benefits of water weight is that they combine aerobic, cardiovascular activity, and strength training activity into one. It is important to remember to be safe when wearing water weights; they do increase body weight, which can make it more difficult to stay afloat in the water, especially if one is tired, so always be sure to swim in a pool with a lifeguard or have a flotation device nearby just in case.

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Discussion Comments
By Ocelot60 — On Sep 18, 2014

@rundocuri- You should start with lighter ankle weights until you adjust to this new type of workout. If you start with very heavy weights, you could damage a ligament.

By Raynbow — On Sep 17, 2014

@rundocuri- Though you may feel like you can handle using heavy ankle water weights, it is always best to start slowly and gradually work your way up to using heavier weights.

Using heavy weights of any kind when you aren't used to them can cause muscle stiffness and soreness that could make you want to give up on your workout program. Start out with lighter weights, use them for several weeks, then move on to the next size. Repeat this plan with each weight size until you reach your goal.

By Rundocuri — On Sep 17, 2014
I want to start working out using water ankle weights, but I am confused about which size to buy. I'm fairly athletic, so it is OK if I start by using heavier weights?
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