Ankle Weights for Osteoporosis Exercise

Ankle Weights for Osteoporosis Exercise

Remember to keep good posture when putting on your ankle weights!
Remember to keep good posture when putting on your ankle weights!

Ankle weights are a perfect gift for osteoporosis prevention and when already diagnosed. They will make your leg lifts much more effective for your muscles and bones.

What Size to Order?

I reminded my class this morning to put the 10# or 20# single ankle weights on their Christmas and Hanukkah wish list. Except for my 96-year-old client, everyone outgrows the 5# set! They’re adjustable in 1/2 pound increments for the 10# ankle weights to 1 pound increments for the 20#, so there’s plenty of room to progress. Check the drop down arrow for Ankle and Wrist Weights on my website for my pros and cons on different styles.

In my classes, I provide the dumbbells (I literally have almost a ton of them!) and my class participants bring their own ankle weights.  When I see them able to lift their leg several feet off the floor with the side leg lifts, it’s a sure sign that it’s too light and easy. They need to start at an easy level, but progress to a heavier ankle weight in order to take the exercise out of the ineffective “toning” range and into the very effective muscle and bone strengthening range.

Using a light weight doesn’t give muscles or bones enough resistance to make them pay attention and get stronger. If muscles and bones could talk, they’d say, “Ankle weight today? No problem lifting this light weight! Get stronger? Not necessary at this level.”

When a class participant is using the correct size weight, she can’t lift her leg up off the floor more than a foot, maybe two, at the very most.

How to Know When You’re Ready for More Weight

If you have my Safe Strength Training for Osteoporosis Prevention DVD, you’ll be familiar with my reminders on how to know when you need a lighter or heavier weight. It’s a process that is best begun with a light weight, or none at all, while you’re learning the correct strength training form. If everything feels fine at the end of a set—your muscles are warm from working hard, but not searing and burning, you’re not feeling pain in a muscle, joint or your back, and you can complete the full set with ease, then it’s time to add more weight!

Let us know your experience using ankle weights! If you have a question, ask it below. By the way, I need to approve comments, which is why yours won’t show up right away. But, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!




Comments (Scroll to the bottom to leave your comment)

  1. Could I use the ankle weights instead of bands for legs? I love your Resistance Band training DVD, but is hard using bands for leg exercises.

  2. Debbie, it’s fine to use ankle weights in place of bands. They’re not as portable as the bands, but can be used interchangeably with a variety of leg lifts. I use both in my classes. I always encourage people to use both bands and weights to make their muscles and bones work in unique ways, giving variety for better fitness and bone strength. But, if it’s a matter of doing the exercises or not, by all means, use the ankle weights!

  3. Hi Susie. The ankle weight I am using feels about right for the Side Leg Left and the Inner Thigh Leg Lift, but not challenging enough for the Standing Leg Lift. Should I go to a heavier weight?

  4. Hi Bev,

    Yes, if you’re not feeling challenged by around the 5th repetition of a set of 10, and don’t have pain in a muscle or joint, then it’s time to use a heavier weight. But changing the weights in the ankle cuffs is time consuming, so make sure that you’re doing these things to make it challenging enough before you go to the trouble of changing weights.

    • Go very slowly; no momentum! Take your time to do 4 counts up and 4 counts down: Up 2, 3, 4 and down, 2, 3, 4. You can also do a brief pause at the top of the move.
    • Resist the temptation to drop your leg quickly. Use your muscles to work against gravity.
    • When you curl your leg up, don’t let your knee come forward. Keep it behind your supporting leg knee, unless it gives you lower back pain. Hold your hips steady to be sure not to arch your back.

    Those things might help to make it more challenging. Let me know how it goes!

    Happy Memorial Day!

  5. Hi Susie: I recently purchased your Safe Strength Training DVD, reviewed the entire DVD as recommended and just completed the first training session. I am 67, in good shape from hiking, walking (about 80 – 100 miles/month 6 – 7 months a year; not so good in the winter!), gardening, yoga almost every day (slow, deliberate vs. fast Vinyasa flows) and occasional chi gung. I was concerned that your DVD would not be challenging enough, but that is not the case. I used 3 and 5 pound weights, which is what I had available, and will be purchasing more. Three was probably the minimum I’ll use, so I’ll be getting 4, 6, 7, well as the leg weights. I’ve done virtually all the exercises before, so form is decent though I’ll be working on improvements. Just wanted to let the folks know who are already in good shape that this is a good challenge. I’ll be looking forward to working on this for the next several months before moving on to the next DVD. Thanks so much!

  6. Karen, I’m happy to hear that you found the workout challenging even though you do many other physical activities and types of exercise. It never ceases to amaze me how strength training is so effective, even for people who are already very active. Thanks and well done!—Susie

  7. Hi Susie:

    I had an ankle injury while doing a stretching DVD (not yours!) last June (over a year ago) and it took about 10 months to completely heal. I have a condition known as posterior tibial tendonitis. I did use ankle weights about twenty years ago and they were great for helping build up my hamstring muscles.

    Do you think I can definitely use them without worry with your strength training DVD, or that I need to check with my ankle doctor? Also, I do have your resistance band DVD and use it — I find it quite challenging but not overly so. Do you think it provides the same amount of strengthening as I would get with the ankle weights? If so I will just continue with that. Thank you!

  8. Barbara, I’d ask your ankle doctor for a referral to a good physical therapist who could watch your form and give you advice on how to safely do the exercises. It’s important to ease into any form of exercise after an injury and a good PT can make all the difference in avoiding another injury.

  9. Hi Susie:

    Well, you gave me that advice in August and somehow it took awhile to find the right PT. But I did, and it’s making a big difference in my getting regular with the strength training. Just bought ankle weights (discussed it first) and am starting with 1 pound on each ankle and then will see how it feels.

    If you have any additional advice in this regard, I’m all ears!

    Thank you so much again for your excellent programs.

    Barbara in Baltimore

  10. I’m glad to hear of your progress, Barbara!
    Slow and steady wins this race. Keep listening to your PT, stay regular with the exercises, and you’ll do fine!