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As your arms and shoulders get stronger, you can always bump up to heavier dumbbells, but what about your lower body? Whether you like to stream workouts at home, attend in-person group fitness classes, or frequent the gym, ankle weights can help you take your exercise regime to the next level.
If you're hitting a plateau with pilates, barre, yoga, weight training, or aerobics, or want to burn more calories during your daily walks, a pair of ankle weights might be just what you're looking for. These versatile fitness companions wrap around your ankles and are typically adjustable in size. You can even adjust the weight on some styles.
Here, the best ankle weights available today.
Best Overall: Bala Weighted Bangle Set
Most ankle weights on the market have similar designs, but the Bala Weighted Bangle Set is a diamond in the rough. You can wear them on either your ankles or wrists during a workout—or even just walking around your home to sneak in some muscle toning.
As the name suggests, this set resembles bangle bracelets, allowing you to look chic and stylish while getting your sweat on. They come in the option of 0.5, 1, or 2 pounds and several tasteful colors. Made of recycled steel wrapped in ultra-soft silicone with an elastic band and super-strong velcro, they're comfortable to wear and designed to fit everybody.
Best for Beginners: P.volve Ankle Weight Set
If you're new to ankle weights or are just starting a fitness regimen, we recommend p.volve Ankle Weights. The 1.5-pound option is ideal for beginners. It's not too heavy but will add enough resistance that you'll feel a difference during your workouts.
These compact sand-filled weights wrap comfortably around your ankles and can be adjusted for size. You can use them for targeted strength training to build lean muscle on your thighs, hamstrings, glutes, or calves. They're light enough that you can also wear them while running or to an aerobics class.
Best Advanced: CAP Barbell Adjustable Ankle Weights
Bodybuilders and more seasoned trainers may want to consider these CAP Barbell ankle weights. They're 10 pounds each, which gives you substantial resistance for building muscle on your quads, calves, and glutes. If you're not ready for the full 10 pounds, you can also remove the individual weights and work your way up.
Best Ankle and Wrist: Yes4All Ankle/Wrist Neoprene Weights
This neoprene set from Yes4All can be worn on your ankles or wrists. With a smooth neoprene exterior, these weights are soft, comfortable, and wick away sweat. They're weighted with iron and secured with reinforced stitching.
A velcro band and D-ring closure allow you to adjust the tightness and ensures a secure fit. Choose from several weights, ranging from 1 to 10 pounds.
Best for Walking: BalanceFrom GoFit Adjustable Ankle Weights
Walking is an underrated workout. You can get in some light cardio and burn calories, plus you can do it anywhere. That said, these BalanceFrom GoFit ankle weights can help you take things up a notch.
When you wrap them around your ankles and step out the door, you'll instantly feel the added resistance, but it won't affect your stride. The comfy, moisture-wicking neoprene exterior doesn't rub against the skin, and the velcro closure makes it easy to get the perfect fit. Whether you go for 1.5, 5, or 10 pounds, you can expect an increased heart rate and more engaged muscles during your daily walks.
Best for Pilates: Pinc Active Ankle Weights Set
Pilates enthusiasts will appreciate the design of this set from Pinc. These ankle weights come in mostly lighter options, which are ideal for building long, lean muscle and creating a toned physique without bulking up.
The soft, sweat-wicking exterior is lined with extra padding, making them comfortable during even the most intense sessions. They're easy to get on, adjustable, and fit snugly around your ankles without cutting into your skin.
Best for Strength Training: Gaiam Fitness Ankle Weights
These Gaiam ankle weights come in sets of two, either 2.5 pounds each or 5 pounds each. If you're looking to build muscle on your calves, quads, hamstrings, or glutes, these versatile weights make it easy to target your lower body. With a smooth exterior made of mesh and performance fabric, they're comfortable against the skin and wick away sweat during even the most grueling strength training sessions.
Best Adjustable: Fragraim Adjustable Ankle Weights
The Fragraim Adjustable Ankle Weights are another great option. They come in a range of colors and weight ranges. On the lighter end, you can get a pair that adjusts from 1 to 5 pounds. The heaviest option is a set that adjusts from 1 to 20 pounds. Unlike many other dumbbells and ankle weights, the color doesn't dictate the weight. In other words, you can get a light, medium, or heavy set in any of the colors.
Our overall top pick is the Bala Weighted Bangle Set (view at Dick's Sporting Goods). These ankle weights stand out for their chic design, range of color options, and comfortable feel. However, if you're looking for something a little heavier or more affordable, Yes4All Ankle / Wrist Neoprene Weights (view at Amazon) are an excellent choice. They're available in up to 10-pound pairs, plus they're soft, comfortable, and adjustable.
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This roundup was researched and written by Theresa Holland, a fitness fanatic and freelance writer specializing in home goods, wellness, and workout equipment. You can read more of her work on Verywell Health, Byrdie, and MyDomaine.