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How do you feel about ankle weights?

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NGL780309

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I have always heard and read that they were bad for kids from an injury standpoint. DD used them for conditioning at her old gym, just 1.5lbs per leg. Today DD worked on her floor routine and they had her use them to work on her leap and split jump. OMG what a difference it made. Still I've heard and read many times that they are bad for them. How do you feel about them and in what situations do they lead to injury?
 

Coach.Simon

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Everything in moderation, ankle weights can be dangerous if they're too heavy or are used too much (especially for younger kids)

But while they can be dangerous, when used properly, with the right amount of weight for the athlete and being sure to not overtax their knee/ankle, ankle weights can help tons

So to be more concise, I think they're great when used properly, and when too much weight is used in conjunction with it being used to often, that's when it starts being problematic.
 

gymdog

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Well I think that depends on the use, how long, and how heavy. Just once in awhile for a few things probably isn't likely to cause injuries in my opinion. Now if they're using 5 lb weights per leg on a 6 year old for every conditioning and training session, then of course you're upping the risk of injury.

We have to keep in mind is that in really young kids (though this is less of a problem by the age most kids are on team at 6 or 7) the joints haven't fully stabilized. The reason a little kid can partially dislocate their elbow (nursemaid's elbow) is because the bones have a different shape allowing for this to occur (in an adult an elbow dislocation is much more severe). Pulling on the wrist can cause this. Shoulder dislocation is also possible. Some kids are more prone to this than others though they usually seem to outgrow it around 5 or 6. But I would still be a little concerned. So with young children we need to be careful about additional stress on the end of the end of the limb.

But the growth plates aren't closed (or anywhere close to it) so there's some concern there, that they could damage this cartilage. But I think that low resistance has not generally been shown to cause this damage. Officially I would still exercise caution and focus on flexibility and muscle quickness to improve jumps using the body weight at this age (i.e work on kicking exercises, leaping exercises, leg strength).

However if weights are used I would say there are some rules to follow. It is my understanding that running with ankle weights is generally not recommended. So this would be a no with children presumably. I would say that rather than "landing" exercises it would be preferable to practice dynamic kicks with the weights at this age and this is what I hold to. Sets of jumps with ankle weights could be done on the trampoline or tumble track. I would not have a 6 year old perform plyometric exercises with weights or repeated jumping or landing on the gymnastics floor.
 

gymcoach26

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Sep 23, 2009
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However if weights are used I would say there are some rules to follow. It is my understanding that running with ankle weights is generally not recommended. So this would be a no with children presumably. I would say that rather than "landing" exercises it would be preferable to practice dynamic kicks with the weights at this age and this is what I hold to. Sets of jumps with ankle weights could be done on the trampoline or tumble track. I would not have a 6 year old perform plyometric exercises with weights or repeated jumping or landing on the gymnastics floor.
I have been saying this for almost a year now since our team kids have been using wrist and ankle weights for almost the entire practice - every practice!! The head coach is persistant and stubborn about the issue and is not listening to my concerns- since I only teach the preteamers and non competitive level 4's what do I know anyway :rolleyes:
Seriously though, they are using them for the minute they do warm up (a ten min jog, arm circles, stretching etc) to just about the minute they leave (3.5 hours). They do jumps, turns and leaps all on both floor and beam, plyometrics, handstands, back walkovers and BHS. On bars they use the ankle weights for pullovers, kips, casting, leg lifts, chin ups etc. Even on vault they keep them on the entire time.

The only time I see them off are for back tucks and anything harder, occasionally for full bar routines, and if they are doing cartwheels, handstands, backwalkover on the high beam. If they are just doing them on low beam, the weights stay on.

Am I right to be concerned about this? In moderation I'm sure it's fine, but this just seems excessive.
 

Coach.Simon

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I have been saying this for almost a year now since our team kids have been using wrist and ankle weights for almost the entire practice - every practice!! The head coach is persistant and stubborn about the issue and is not listening to my concerns- since I only teach the preteamers and non competitive level 4's what do I know anyway :rolleyes:
Seriously though, they are using them for the minute they do warm up (a ten min jog, arm circles, stretching etc) to just about the minute they leave (3.5 hours). They do jumps, turns and leaps all on both floor and beam, plyometrics, handstands, back walkovers and BHS. On bars they use the ankle weights for pullovers, kips, casting, leg lifts, chin ups etc. Even on vault they keep them on the entire time.

The only time I see them off are for back tucks and anything harder, occasionally for full bar routines, and if they are doing cartwheels, handstands, backwalkover on the high beam. If they are just doing them on low beam, the weights stay on.

Am I right to be concerned about this? In moderation I'm sure it's fine, but this just seems excessive.

Have you heard from the athletes or their parents of them complaining about ankle/knee pain? How much weight is this coach having them practice with?
 

gymcoach26

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They practice with 1.5lb weights, so an additional 6 lbs on them. It probably isn't alot for the older girls, but for the small 7 year olds, I wonder what damage it is doing in the long run.

The kids complain about being tired, but nothing specific to their knees or ankles. The head coach has the parents thinking it is wonderful because the kids have improved ALOT.
 

gymdog

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Personally I would not want my own (hypothetical) 7 year old to do what you described, so I would not do it with other kids either.

I kind of come down on the same side of the reaosning that USAG used in their recommendation to avoid focusing on bridging or bridging skills under age 5. No one is saying if the kid randomly does it once in awhile, there's going to be severe consequences. However, we have reason to believe over the long term there could be negative consequences, and there are other things we can be doing to have them improve their physical fitness, strength, and coordination at this age. So there is no good reason to do this and potentially reasons not to.

I generally would fall on the same side here, there are other things a 7 year old could be doing in preparation in gymnastics to improve than doing a 3.5 hours workout with wrist and ankle weights and doing things generally contraindicated for adults (running). They may improve but at what cost? and there are other ways to improve.
 

dunno

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any additional weights should be at or near their center of gravity. anywhere else and you're playing with matches. and you all know what smokey the bear says about that...:)
 

Aussie_coach

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They can cause problems if they are used to much, if the weights are too heavy and if they are used too often. The problem isn't just young kids, pre teens who are growing through major growth spurts can also have problems.

But light weights every now and again to work on dynamic flexibility and leaps and jumps are really not a problem.

One thing coaches need to be on the alert for is when the weights affect shapes. I knew of a coach who would insist her girls wear weights all through conditioning and the shapes were becoming very poor. After a while this crossed over to all aspects of their training.
 
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cher062

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Our gym uses them but puts the 2 weights together and the girls wear them around their waists. Usually during conditioning or working on a skill like jumping higher. Maybe a total of 20 - 30 min during the entire practice. My DD was using them when they practiced on the spring board so she would hit the spring board harder.
 

bookworm

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I would never let my daughter use weights again...she ended up with an abdominal HERNIA (yes, you read correctly) after wearing ankle weights and a weight vest for two weeks...she had to have surgery to repair it and we have never used the weights again, needless to say
 

gymdog

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A weight vest is basically a vest with weights...worn like you would wear a vest. They are usually pretty heavy and not used on the women's side very frequently. I have seen men's NCAA programs mostly use them for conditioning (obviously different than a pre-pubescent child using them).

The best way to do this yourself I've seen is to get some like 1 in diameter flexible tubing which you can fill with sand to make relatively light weights that can be tied around the core.

Again ankle weights are not for running...so to use them for bounding skills is not a great idea either in my opinion. I've seen some studies of using weights for plyometrics but that's a) not children and b) not ankle weights in most cases.
 
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NGL780309

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So sorry about your DD bookworm. How scary.

DD's old gym used them during conditioning every practice. They were told to get 5lb ankle weights. I ignored that and bought 1.5lbs. She barely weighed over 30lbs so that was not okay in my unprofessional opinion. They also vaulted with them on sometimes and did bars a few times with them on. I didn't like it at all. For one thing DD's weights wouldn't stay on. They were too big to be secured tightly enough to stay in place.

At the new gym they haven't used them at all until yesterday. She used them to work on her leap in her floor routine a few times. I didn't find it bothersome since she did just a few leaps with them on and then took them off. It helped for the moment at least. I have seen the older girls use them on beam mostly walking while kicking their front leg and then back leg.

Good information to have.
 

CoachAngela

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I agree with the center of gravity thing as I have heard this at my gym as well. We used them once, girls LOVED them. All we did was like 0.5 - 1 pound weights on our ankles while doing handstands.
 

gymdog

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DD's old gym used them during conditioning every practice. They were told to get 5lb ankle weights. I ignored that and bought 1.5lbs. She barely weighed over 30lbs so that was not okay in my unprofessional opinion. They also vaulted with them on sometimes and did bars a few times with them on. I didn't like it at all. For one thing DD's weights wouldn't stay on. They were too big to be secured tightly enough to stay in place.
:eek: 10 lbs of ankle weights for a 30 lb 5-6 year old??? No...I'm glad you left and glad you didn't get the ones they asked for. And using them for vault...not a good idea as far as I can tell. Besides I don't see any reason why this would be used, better to do mat pushes/pulls if you're going to go that route for run resistance.
 
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