Is there any benefit or harm of using ankle weights when running?

Is there any benefit or harm of using ankle weights when walking or running?

Ankle weights have become commonplace to help increase the amount of resistance offered when walking. However, before using this equipment, it is important to understand the benefits and possible dangers of using them.

Strength Increase

The extra weight on your ankles increases the resistance encountered by your leg muscles each time you lift your feet off the floor. This increase in strength happens due to greater resistance to the muscles which increases the activity of the cells in your body, which react to the resistance by building muscle fibers.

Burning calories

Along with increasing strength in your muscles, ankle weights can also increase the amount of calories you burn per hour of walking. A small increase in weight can increase the amount of energy used by the leg muscles. This increases the need for more energy to continue walking, which your body’s cells will obtain by burning calories.

Dangers of using ankle weights

Walking with ankle weights can have unwanted side effects. The most serious of these effects is a change in your normal gait. Your gait is the specific way you walk, allowing you to maintain your balance. When your gait is altered, balance can be altered and falls or injuries can occur. Weights can also stretch the leg muscles, as well as force the ankle joint. This tension can result in a greater chance of injury while walking, especially when walking at an accelerated pace.

There was a time when it was common to see athletes running with weights on their ankles or wrists – a big mistake! We explain here why you shouldn’t do it!

The idea became widespread: running with weights on the ankles, or even on the wrists, contributed to making the muscles stronger , in addition to helping to burn more calories.

However, what many forgot to add was that this practice also led to a considerable increase in the possibility of suffering a muscle injury!

More weight is more tension and impact

According to what has already been proven by several studies and specialists, running, or even walking, with weights does lead to an increase in tension in the hips, lumbar spine, joints and ankles . All of this without forgetting the increased impact of the foot on the floor.

On the other hand, running with weights in your hands will result, still and always, in a muscular overload , not only in the trapezoids, but also in the postural muscle, already under pressure.

More weight is movement tampering

However, the consequences resulting from running with weights are not only felt in terms of tension and impact, but end up interfering equally in the gesture and the stride.

Due to the increase in weight, the movement is made by producing an overload in the distal area of ​​the joint , leading to a change in the mechanics of the gesture, as well as variations in the center of masses, which our muscular system has to compensate for.

All of this ends up directly interfering with our running technique , affecting stability, especially in women (in this case, due to their greater range of hips).

Do you want to burn more calories? Forget the ankle weights!

So, if your goal is to burn more calories and faster, remember that using weights, while walking or running, is not a good solution.

In fact, it is enough, just, to increase the intensity with which you train or else to choose routes with a greater slope. If you do, you can be sure that the results will be what you want!

Alternatives to ankle weights

Instead of using ankle weights, you can increase the intensity of your workout. This means increasing your speed, or increasing the incline of your hiking trail to burn more calories. If you are using ankle weights to increase strength, consider using traditional weight training, such as free weights or weight machines, to eliminate the risks associated with putting ankle weights on.

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