Strong legs protect your knees and hips from injury.
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Wearing ankle weights allows you to increase the intensity of normal workouts such as walking. Ankle weights are also versatile, as they can intensify stationary workouts and cardio. Adding the resistance of ankle weights to your workout helps you build muscles in the legs, which can make them grow larger. Although they are effective, they can cause muscle strain and pulls when you don't use them correctly. When it comes to developing larger legs, do strength-training exercises with your ankle weights for the best results.
Ankle weights add resistance to leg exercises to further challenge your muscles.
Start off Light
Wearing ankle weights that are too light won't provide enough resistance to build muscles and when they're too heavy they can cause injuries. With heavy ankle weights, the undue stress to your ankles can lead to ankle joint and leg muscle strain, according to MayoClinic.com. The American Council on Exercise recommends ankle weights between 1 to 3 pounds to avoid joint and muscle injuries. Ankle weights alter your walking and running form and are not recommended for aerobic activity.
Do Some Knee Extensions
Knee extensions help target your quadriceps and develop your hamstrings. Sit on an armless chair and strap on your ankle weights. Keep your back straight and position your buttocks all the way up the seat so your feet slightly touch the ground. Place towels under your lower thigh, just above your knees if the chair is too low. Place your forearms on your thighs and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Point your toes forward and raise your lower leg by flexing your knee. Hold your leg up for about four seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat the same on your other leg and aim for 10 repetitions in two sets.
Try Knee Curls
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends knee curls to strengthen your hamstrings. With your ankle weights, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab hold of a support beam or a chair. Raise your right heel toward your buttocks and hold your heel up for about four seconds. Return your foot to the ground and repeat the same on your other leg. Aim for 10 repetitions in two sets with a 60-second rest between sets.
Additional Leg-Building Options
What you feed your leg muscles is just as important as giving them a workout. Have a source of lean protein with complex carbs such as vegetables and fruits with every meal. Aim for three meals and two snacks daily. The safety limit of 3 pounds on ankle weights may not offer enough resistance to build muscle for younger adults. Therefore, perform compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts to strengthen your legs as well as other major muscle groups in your body.