Another Question about Ankle Weights

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Bluebird

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Feb 5, 2013
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I’ve seen a lot of discussion here about the dangers of ankle weights and the stress they can put on the knees/hip flexors. I just had a question about a particular exercise: I’ve seen a few different gyms use a drill where the gymnast sits in a pike or stag and taps her foot against the floor while wearing weights - like in the second part of this video (actually, I’m curious about both exercises, but especially the second one):

Leg Tightening Drills - Mary Lee Tracy - YouTube

I was wondering what people’s opinions are on this one. Safe? Or not a good idea?
 
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JBS

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Look like excellent exercises to me. We do many of these on a regular basis...with ankle weights.

I would probably make the weights a bit lighter on the one girl...she seems to be having a hard time.
 

dunno

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some gyms athletes...never mind. ankle weights...bad idea.
 

JBS

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Ankle weights are not dangerous at all unless they are used improperly. Many factors to look at...age...weight...exercise...body type...etc.

I'm sick of listening to all the threads about how ankle weights are super dangerous...wearing heavy boots is dangerous...wearing ice skates is dangerous...wearing snow ski boots around the lodge is dangerous. Kids can't lift weights...but the same parent will tell their kid to go grab a gallon of milk at the store??? What about swimming?...ever kick through water...lots of resistance there.

Banning ankle weights because they are used incorrectly 90% of the time is not the way to go...education is. The 10% of the people using them correctly are seeing great results.
 

dunno

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agreed. depends on who and how they are used and using them.:)
 
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bookworm

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Ankle weights are not dangerous at all unless they are used improperly. Many factors to look at...age...weight...exercise...body type...etc.

I'm sick of listening to all the threads about how ankle weights are super dangerous...wearing heavy boots is dangerous...wearing ice skates is dangerous...wearing snow ski boots around the lodge is dangerous. Kids can't lift weights...but the same parent will tell their kid to go grab a gallon of milk at the store??? What about swimming?...ever kick through water...lots of resistance there.

Banning ankle weights because they are used incorrectly 90% of the time is not the way to go...education is. The 10% of the people using them correctly are seeing great results.
And this is exactly the problem, the 90% using them incorrectly don't think they are in that 90%...sorry, my kid need abdominal surgery after using ankle weights for a month with coaches who thought they were in that 10% so I will stand by my statement...no ankle weights, period.
 

Flossyduck

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Have to say that I have seen the girls at our gym do the ones where they are sitting down and tapping on a mat and this was 'tip of the week' in the magazine of the British Gymnastics Association recently as a way of helping encourage the knees to lock out. Never seen them used for anything else.
 

gymnastbaby15

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Just from my experience, I've used ankle weights as strength builders for my pike, straddle, and split jumps, as well as my press handstands. They've worked well and have shown great results, but I'm not entirely sure what other people use them for.
 

JBS

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And this is exactly the problem, the 90% using them incorrectly don't think they are in that 90%...sorry, my kid need abdominal surgery after using ankle weights for a month with coaches who thought they were in that 10% so I will stand by my statement...no ankle weights, period.
Sorry that your child was injured.

When used correctly...ankle weights can improve core strength...thus reducing low back issues.
 

JBS

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Hanging extra weight on your legs and swinging it around is very different than a controlled strength building movement. Here is another great article on ankle weights...

Making Use of Ankle Weights in Soccer | Discover Soccer

Some of what we seem to be getting into here sounds as if it revolves more around lifting too much weight in general. Anytime lifting weight causes the athlete to lose technical form...they are lifting too much weight. In many cases...body weight exercises are actually too much weight and weights...machines...or spotting has to be used to lessen the load.

For example...an athlete that cannot do a proper pull up could use a lat pull down machine to lift less weight than their body...or they could be spotted.

An athlete that is jerking themselves helplessly around on a bar trying to do a pull up could actually be loading their joints in a dangerous fashion also...right???
 

JBS

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And this is exactly the problem, the 90% using them incorrectly don't think they are in that 90%...sorry, my kid need abdominal surgery after using ankle weights for a month with coaches who thought they were in that 10% so I will stand by my statement...no ankle weights, period.
Alright...I have to give the whole story here. bookworm has a very good point...nothing is worth an injury to a child. However...I truly believe that in modern gymnastics...weight training can help lessen injuries when done correctly.

We actually did ban the use of all weights in our gym due to the coaches not using them correctly. We have now slowly started to bring resistance back into our training. We first started with resistance bands and have now added some light free weights.

We have seen extremely positive results from weight training in a couple of our 15+ year olds that were having too many random injuries. We actually sent them to a local weight training club that specializes in high performance youth training. Their strength increased drastically and their injuries slowly disappeared. The secret was that we sent them to people that know exactly what they are doing.
 
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Hayleigh

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At our club we wear different weights depending on how well we can cope training in weights and we do 8 full bar routines with weights then 2 without. We also practice things like press handstands and muscle ups wearing ankle weights to make the task harder. My group also do vault wearing weights for 1 hour a fortnight. But we choose to our coaches don't make us.
 

Jenny

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At our club we wear different weights depending on how well we can cope training in weights and we do 8 full bar routines with weights then 2 without. We also practice things like press handstands and muscle ups wearing ankle weights to make the task harder. My group also do vault wearing weights for 1 hour a fortnight. But we choose to our coaches don't make us.
I personally see no point in doing bar routines with weights on as I think they affect your centre of mass which will affect your timing on bar skills.

There are other ways to build endurance. They are good for strength work though at times if people know what they are doing.

The thought of a child running full pelt down a runway and onto a springboard wearing ankle weights make me go YIKES! My knees hurt even thinking about it. But maybe there is a reason for doing it I don't know about!
 
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Jenny

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Anytime lifting weight causes the athlete to lose technical form...they are lifting too much weight. In many cases...body weight exercises are actually too much weight and weights...machines...or spotting has to be used to lessen the load.
This is so what I think too.
 

iwannacoach

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We just tie cinder blocks around each ankle. :)
I enjoyed that so much I'm going to cooperate, and go along with your request to "Pull my finger" and will beg the question....... Are you weighing in on the side of some is good, more is better, and too much is enough? I can't tell, because it could also be a drip of sarcasm on the thinning hairline of coaches that advocate for unbridled use of them.

I gotta tell you that I spent a very uncomfortable month in a gym owned and run on the floor by a person who was, politely worded, challenged with respect to technique, use of progressions, technical knowledge, and anything else you want to chip in with. Worse still, this person had two solutions to help solve this problem.

The first one is the coach would blame the kids for not making progress even though the coach knew had little more than a clue how to teach the skills they were having trouble with. The worst of this is the coach either totally believed he/she knew how to coach, or was purposefully deflecting the shame he/she should have felt.... onto these kids. Please don't think for a moment that I have no patince or respect for coaches trying to learn how to teach skills, but I have nothing but disdain for coaches who spend energy being critical of their kids work habits, ability, and commitment, while (the coach) spending no energy to get him/herself up to the standards expected of the kids they coach.

The second thing compensation was train the living snott out of the kids in hopes that they'd somehow magically use their strength gains to convert his/her ignorance into skills. Hey, I love the idea of a strong, well conditioned and prepared gymnast. It's a pleasure to work with kids who are equal to a skill's demands for strength, but kinda frustrating in this case as just about half the optional group had low back pain that kept them from working in meaningful numbers...... like five reps and hit the ice bag.

The conditioning was done with the kids wearing ankle weight, as were their their warm-up drills and simple skills. If this coach had a pet goldfish..... it would have been outfitted with ankle weights.

My suspicion is that these kids with low back problems were heading in the direction of spondylolysis from their back muscles and lumbar system being subjected to the forces created by these weights..... especially those with rapid movements and turns..... like round offs, front handsprings, back handsprings, split leaps, switch leaps, cast handstands, and glide kips. The worst of it is these skills were done incorrectly, causing even more stress forces.

I'm a big fan of resistance and 'free weight' training, and credit my prior participation in weight lifting to my success as a gymnast. I think strength exercises done correctly with an awareness of range of motion can do more for a gymmnast than anything else, other than a coach who knows what they're doing. Ankle weights just don't fit that model because the idea in weigth training is to concentrate on how to move the weight, as if that was the skill, and I don't think that's a gymnast's focus when working with ankle weights.

I can't really think of any use for these weights, but I'll agree that some coaches can find a proper use for them, but doubt that even 10% of all coaches could devise, put into place, and monitor for safety and effectiveness a beneficial use of them. I doubt that 10% is even close.
 
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bogwoppit

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I use ankle weights to weigh down my towel when sunbathing. Very effective.
 
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JBS

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We tie our climbing ropes up with a small rope and pulley system. On the end of this small rope is an ankle weight...it helps in come back down to the floor when an idiot coach pulls it all the way to the ceiling.
 
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