Top Ab Exercises With Ankle Weights

How to use ankle weights to strengthen your core muscles.

On this list, you’re going to learn some of the most beneficial ab exercises with ankle weights to add additional resistance to your core workout.

These practices are recommended if the traditional abdominal exercises such as crunches don’t work as you want. You feel they are getting easy for you, and they don’t support your development anymore. The benefit of ankle weights is that you can add additional resistance to the moves comfortably and safely.

What will you learn here?

  • Beneficial ankle weight exercises for core muscles and how to perform them.
  • Tips on how to shape and strengthen your abdomen at home.

#1 Weighted floor leg lifts

Leg lifts are great to target lower abs since we use the lower body as resistance. So, they help to get those V-cut abs.

  • Lie on the floor with straight legs that are close to each other. You can place your hands under your buttocks to avoid the load on your lower back.
  • Lift your legs about a 45-degree angle, but keep them straight and next to each other.
  • Slowly lower without touching the floor with your heels.
  • Do a least 15 reps.

#2 Weighted hanging knee lifts

Hanging knee raises are one of the best bodyweight strength training exercises to build abs. With the help of the ankle weights, we can add a boost to this practice. You can also use a dumbbell, but it's less comfortable.

  • Catch the pull-up bar and bend your knees, so your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Lift your knees towards your chest as high as you can. At the top, you can pause and squeeze your abs.
  • With control, drop your knees back to the start position.

#3 Hanging leg raises with ankle weights

This calisthenics exercise develops your entire upper body. It works the core entirely since it's activated continuously to avoid swinging and for the lifts.

  • Hang from the bar with an upright body.
  • Lift your straightened legs until they're parallel to the ground. Or, you can lift higher if your fitness level is better.
  • Slowly lower your legs but don't relax your abdominal muscles.
  • Do at least 8-10 reps.

Note: Use only the power of your core to raise your legs, and don't let your body swing to exclude momentum.

#4 High knees

This exercise is a great strength and cardio combo. It strengthens the lower abdomen and also boosts your heart rate, so it helps a bit with weight loss.

When you perform the high knees, try to keep your back straight and raise your knees as high as you can. Don't use heavy ankle cuffs a 2-3 pounds will do.

#5 Fluter kicks

Fluter kicks are similar to floor leg raises and shapes the lower part of the rectus abdominis.

  • Lie on the floor, place your hand next to your torso, or under your buttocks.
  • Lift both of your aligned legs a few inches from the ground.
  • Scissor your legs as if you were walking. You can perform longer or shorter moves.
  • Try to do at least 20 reps for each side, so don't use heavy weights.

#6 In Out

If you want to target your lower abs, this simple exercise with leg weights can help a lot.

  • Sit down and hold yourself with your arms behind you.
  • Bend your knees and crunch them towards your chest.
  • Drop them back without touching the floor with your feet.

#7 Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are excellent to work your abs, but also as a conditional exercise. Because of the ankle weights, it's much more challenging.

  • Get into a plank position, your body from top to bottom is straight.
  • Pull one of your legs towards your chest as much as you can. The best if your knee touches your chest.
  • Push your leg back to the starting position and do the same on the other side.

Note: To maximize the cardio benefits, make the mountain climber as dynamic and constant as possible. I recommend to include this exercise in your ankle weight workout.

#8 Alternating toe touches

This compound exercise shapes your rectus abdominals, waist, and obliques well. But, since you lift your legs and wear weighted wrist cuff, it strengthens your shoulders and leg muscles as well.


  • Lie on the floor with extended legs and arms.
  • Lift your right leg with the power of your abs and, at the same time, raise your left arm towards your right leg. Try to keep your limbs as straight as possible during the entire movement.
  • When your left arm and right leg reach each other, you can stop for a moment and squeeze your abs for maximum benefit.
  • Slowly lower your limbs to starting position.
  • Repeat the move for the other side.

Note: Don't use the momentum; use the power of your abdomen. There is no need to rush. Choose ankle weights that let you do at least 15 reps for each side.

#9 Scissors

Scissor is an alternative to flutter kicks and leg lifts, but it's always good to add some versatility to an ab workout program.

  • Rest on the ground and lift your arranged legs a few inches from the floor.
  • Move your feet under and above each other.

#10 Rotational side plank

Side plank is beneficial to strengthen the obliques, but with weighted rotation engages the entire core even better.

  • Get into the side plank position with your right elbow under your shoulder. Keep your body straight.
  • Move your left arm with the weight cuff under your torso as far as possible.
  • Then bring it back as if you want to point on the ceiling by twisting your torso.
  • Do as many reps as required and switch sides.

#11 Burpees

Burpees are perfect compound exercises that work the core plus boost the heart rate. This way, burpees help to burn belly fat and develop endurance. And, the ankle weights give an extra boost to the practice.


  • Get into a standing position with your arms next to you.
  • Squat while placing your hands on the floor.
  • Kick your legs backward and, at the same time, drop your upper body to the ground.
  • Push yourself back to the squat.
  • With the power of your legs, jump up with your hands, pointing towards the ceiling.

Note: Make the entire move a continuous as possible.

#12 Bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches work all the muscle groups of the midsection, but it's quite an underestimated abs workout. It's the most beneficial crunch variation of all.

  • Lie down, cling your fingers behind your head, and bend your knees to make your shins parallel to the ground.
  • Pull your left knee towards your chest while at the same time, turn your torso so that you can touch your knee with your right elbow.
  • Get back into the initial position, and do the same move now by bringing your right knee and touching it with your left elbow. Use the power of your stomach to rotate and crunch.

ab training Ankle Weights

Written by Imre

Imre has been working out for over 20 years. He likes all sorts of strength training and boxing. Since he's a busy father he works out only at home.