Strength / Ankle Weights

Years ago, experts cautioned that ankle weights were a precursor to leg injuries. It was theorized that repetitive stress on shins, feet, and knees increased cases of shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and patellar tracking problems.

And instead of approving hand weights, authorities suggested increasing your pace. Some recommended boosting caloric expenditure by vigorously pumping your arms.

Recently however, studies reported in the Physician & Sports Medicine demonstrated that adding 5 pound weights to each ankle increased caloric burn by 25 percent. Furthermore, individuals who wore ankle weights during their daily activities expended additional calories.

The key to a safe progression is to start light and add weight gradually. Walk slower than your normal pace. After you are accustomed to the extra weight, you can speed up your gait.

Be careful not to increase your stride length when you begin your ankle weight training. Start with half/pound weights. Add another half/pound every two weeks. When you work up to 5 pounds, that is sufficient.

Some do not prefer ankle weights because they slide up and down with each step. Instep weights may feel more secure than ankle weights. They wrap firmly around your instep. Whichever your choice - ankle, instep, hand, or wrist weights may be purchased for under 20 dollars.

Holding the SportBlock core is safer for your lower extremities than ankle weights. And adding weight to each hand can increase your caloric expenditure by 40 percent.Begin with half-pound hand weights or the SportBlock core. Hold them gently in your hands, as if grasping a bird, tight enough so it cannot escape, but not too tightly that you crush it. Bend your elbows and pump your arms with each stride. Bring the weights from your nose to your hip. Be careful not to throw your weights. Momentum is not part of your program. Swinging weights wildly may cause joint stress.

If you feel strain on your elbows, wrists, or shoulders, vary your arm movements. Perform slow punches, shoulder presses, or shrugs. Inflammation in your shoulders or elbows is your signal to discontinue hand weight training.

Hand and ankle weights used concurrenty can boost your caloric output by 160 calories per mile.

The safest way to add weight to your walk is a weighted vest. Because the vest is fastened securely to your body, it is not as risky to your limbs as hand or ankle weights. But in order to add intensity, your weight vest should be significantly heavier than your hand or ankle weights.

Consider lifting a ten pound dumbell with your arms outstretched. Then, hold the weight close to your body. Which is easier? When you hold any object closer to your body, it feels lighter.