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Do you use ankle weights?

Posted by Nancy B.

I have a knee joint that sometimes hurts when I exercise too much, particularly if I’m climbing steps a lot. I wonder whether workouts with ankle weights is a good idea to strengthen my leg muscles or a bad idea because it puts stress on the knee joint. What do you think? I found a story online in the Los Angeles Times in which two doctors debate the practice, one says its OK if you are healthy and don’t have a pre-existing condition and the other prefers people find an alternative. What do you think? See the LA Times story
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Hi Nancy,

Here's what I think about ankle weights. First of all, if you have a comprehensive exercise program, then adding ankle weights will probably not be necessary. If you look at this from a more natural perspective, then you realize that most of the weight in our legs is in the upper portion. Our hips, knees, and ankles are structured to carry the load based on those facts. If you think about your legs being very long levers, than that information suggests that there are three fulcrums; your hip, your knee and your ankle, respectively. By adding weight to the very end of the lever arm (so to speak), you are increasing the stress on the nearest fulcrum (in this case it is the knee, because the weight would be placed directly above the final fulcrum--the ankle; which would take it out of the equation). This isn't conducive to natural movement, and therefore would create a downward pull that would create a constant stretching in the tendons of the knee. This would negate the efficiency of the knee to stabilize itself in a normal range of motion. So my advice to you is; if you want to burn more calories, then slowly build up the strength in your knee and find a way to minimize the rest time between exercises. Another thing that you might look into is glucosamine. I have had very good results with its use. Always, of course, consult your physician first. Thanks for your question and I hope this helps.

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