Does anyone have an opinion about using ankle weights for leg exercises? Is it unnatural, pointless or stupid? I'm looking at some weights for sale on craigslist and someone has a set for cheap. I'm trying to work my legs without unnecessary stress to the knees. Thanks everyone!
I would avoid ankle weights. If you want to add weight to certain exercises, find the "civilian"equivalent of a flak jacket. Or load up a back pack with weight and walk/run with it.
Running/jumping with ankle weights can cause you to land awkwardly and injure your feet/ankles/Achilles. Spreading the weight across your upper torso would be a safer option, more encompassing workout.
Learning how to squat properly (i.e. knees out, hips below parallel), and doing it regularly is by far the best way to work your legs without unnecessary stress to the knees. It will also make you a lot stronger and faster and better at other things. So skip the ankle weights and find someone to teach you how to squat properly, and you'll be in great shape.
I have pretty bad knees, and I've found that leg lifts - leg extensions especially - put a lot more strain on my knees than squatting with good form... or even squatting with bad form for that matter. Really any sort of leg lift will turn your leg into a lever with the added weight on the ankle, and that's going to put stress on your knee in bad ways no matter how you do it.
I'm tempted to say that ankle weights are just another modern fitness gimmick marketed to victims of the Standard American Diet And Lifestyle (SADAL?) in lieu of a natural diet and exercise pattern, but then I tend towards reenactment more than most. I'm tempted to say that VFFs, shorts, and a park or the beach is all the fitness equipment you need, and that really, the VFFs and shorts are optional.
I use my ankle weights about a week before a competition (im a swimmer). I take them off the night before or sometimes right before my race. I feel like I can fly after i take em off. Definitely a yes!
The only thing I use ankle weights for are leg lifts when working my abs. I agree with the other posters and recommend against using them for working legs. If you think about it, the amount of weight you are actually adding as a percentage of your body weight is miniscule. So the benefits to your muscles are minor. But the inertia of the weights in an unexpected direction against your joints could be significant. Not worth it. I think you'll get more benefit from increasing your speed or intensity or improving your form.
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