What are ankle straps?
Resistance equipment is often a feature at gyms; an excellent example is the rowing machine. Ankle straps attached to resistance cables are no exception, as they aid fitness and body-building enthusiasts in lifting heavier weights and hanging onto them for longer. Besides helping people lift heavier weights and making their strength training more challenging, lifting straps also make a big difference to the level of resistance training.
Ankle straps with cable attachments are often used for exercising legs, glutes, and the core. However, most gyms do not supply these; if they do, the regular commercial-grade straps are not always suited to everyone. Thus, it is better if you are going to exercise using ankle straps to purchase your own to use in conjunction with your preferred cable machine at the gym.
The best quality ankle strap would be one that is considered non-rigid yet stable and comes with extra-strong stainless-steel d-rings for attaching the resistance cable. These are often made of neoprene material and supported with lightweight canvas or vinyl laminate for comfort and stability, easy to put on or take off for your resistance training workout.
Why the hype over ankle straps?
Including the use of weightlifting ankle straps in your routine has numerous advantages to the toning and strengthening of the lower body, for example:
- Improving balance
- It makes you more agile
- Could reduce pain
- Helps build stamina
- Improves athletic performance
- Firms and tones leg muscles
- Supports core strength
Parts of the body that have the most benefit from using ankle straps to define them in the gym would be:
- And glutes
Types of exercises using ankle straps
People looking to tighten up and get toned abs can often be seen using cable pulleys and ankle straps during their workout at the gym. However, professionals will usually advise you not to simply strap on your ankle straps and start going crazy. A proper schedule should be followed, and several tips can be found via trainers and coaches at the gym for exercises that can be done using ankle straps.
These may include:
- Standing cable leg extensions
- Cable hip abductors
- Lying cable hamstring curls
- Cable crunches
- And more
How ankle straps differ from other cable equipment
Ankle straps wrap around your ankles and are usually bought in pairs to exercise unilaterally, but you can also use each ankle strap individually for single-leg movements.
Unlike your rowing machine or other cable equipment that you may use during your workout, ankle straps require quite a bit of core strength when performing leg exercises since you would have to keep your head, neck and back as well as hips in alignment while crunching the abs to pull the resistance cable out and away from your body using the power of your leg muscles for the most part.
Back pain and other limitations
Many coaches and professional gym instructors also offer advice if a person has lower back pain issues that they should not go straight to the ankle straps but first do some core-strengthening exercise like bicycle kicks or crunches and then begin their workout with the straps and resistance cables.
How to use ankle straps correctly
The way to use ankle straps properly:
- Look for an exercise machine that has an adjustable pulley system
- Adjust the cable according to the length you would like to pull
- Put your ankle strap on your ankle
- Attach the strap to the D-ring locking carabiner
- Adjust tension if necessary
- Pull slowly and carefully initially to ensure it is the correct tension for you
Ankle straps come in many different colours and material textures. Some have extra padding for movements such as cable kickbacks, glute workouts, curls and booty shaping tension moves. Whichever you choose, make sure you research the best kind for your training and comfort.