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Trainer Tips For Buying Your First Set of Ankle Weights

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When you’re stocking up on at-home fitness gear, you obviously want to make the smartest purchase possible — not only because you shouldn’t waste your cash on something that falls apart, but also because each piece of equipment comes with its own set of unique best practices, benefits, and downsides.

If ankle weights are on your agenda, you’ll want to check out these trainer tips before clicking buy on what’s sitting in your cart. Sure, a set of ankle weights is a cheaper (and less involved) purchase than an at-home cable machine, but this fitness tool isn’t advisable for everyone — especially if you have an ankle or knee injury. From the exercises to never do with ankle weights to the importance of a strong core, this pro advice will help you in your search.

Start With a Lightweight Set

Attention, ankle-weight newbies: start with a lightweight set. Because even if you’re familiar with strength training, it’s still a brand-new piece of equipment — you probably didn’t load up your barbell the first time you laid eyes on one, right?

“If you’ve never used ankle weights before, start very light, maybe just one pound per ankle, to allow your body to get used to carrying an additional load at the ankle,” said Keegan Draper, a Mindbody Fitness Expert and NASM-certified personal trainer. “This will allow for your leg muscles to adapt to better support your joints while using them. You can also purchase ankle weights that are variable, allowing you to add weight as you become more comfortable.”

P.volve instructor and NASM-certified personal trainer Maeve McEwen also recommends starting out with a light weight (she suggests 1.5-pound ankle weights) to focus on mastering your form. “Especially when starting out, less is more — keep your range of motion small, and limit your use of the ankle weights. You do not need to wear the ankle weights for an entire workout to gain results!” she said.

They’re Not Meant For Every Exercise

Just because ankle weights are wearable doesn’t mean you should strap them on during every exercise. “Use ankle weights cautiously. They should only be used for exercises in which you are raising your leg — i.e. donkey kicks, leg raises, flutter kicks, etc.,” Draper said.

That also means you shouldn’t wear them during your runs or HIIT workouts — Draper said this is because ankle weights can add stress and strain to your joints. Draper doesn’t recommend ankle weights for walking, either. However, if you choose to wear them during walking workouts, Draper said to “use light weights and do not use them for every walk due to the added stress on your joints and potential gait cycle changes.”

McEwen added that heavy ankle weights shouldn’t be used in ab workouts on your back — especially when you’re in a tabletop position — because it could put strain on the low back and hip flexors.

If you’re purposefully buying ankle weights for booty gains, you’re on the right path. “Some of the most effective exercises I would recommend using ankle weights for involve glute toning — aka booty toning!” said Joe March, NCSF-certified trainer and founder of The Fitness Instructors. “Exercises like glute kickbacks, where you set up on all fours (or with both hands and one knee on a bench), and kick one leg at a time up and away from your body are great for building muscle in your glutes.”

If You Have Injuries, Check In With Your Doctor First

According to McEwen, ankle weights should be avoided in group fitness settings if you have an existing ankle or knee injury — unless your doctor gave you the official go-ahead. “If you are brand new to working out, I recommend mastering your form first with just your bodyweight, then gradually incorporate and alternate days between ankle-weight use,” she added.

Draper said those who have hip, ligament, and tendon injuries should also refrain from using ankle weights. “Increased downward force on your leg could make injuries like those worsen. People with lower-back injuries should also be cautious before engaging with ankle weights.” To prevent further pain, play it safe and be sure to check in with your doctor before adding ankle weights into your routine.

Test Your Core Strength

Sure, they do go around your ankles, but March said core strength is crucial for using ankle weights safely. In fact, if you have a weak core, March doesn’t recommend them at all.

“I would explain this the same way I would explain the danger of an exercise like a shoulder press to one of my clients. All of the force our body creates originates from our core,” March said. “The further a weight is from your core, the more difficult it will be to control and the more likely you are to injure yourself. Since ankle weights shift your body’s center of gravity away from your core to your ankle, you’ll need far more core control to make sure you don’t injure yourself, especially your lower back, while using them.”

March explained that if using ankle weights causes you to curve your lower back, you might not be ready to use them yet. To test if your lower back is curving, March recommended performing the following exercise: “Lying on your back, reach your hands towards the ceiling as far as you can and lift your legs, so your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle — lower legs making a tabletop. Place a towel below the small of your back. If a partner can pull the towel out from under you with minimal effort, you need to work on your core.”

Narrow Down Your Search

Given the sheer volume of products that pop up when you search ankle weights, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Consider checking in with a certified personal trainer to see what they suggest. March typically recommends adjustable ankle weights that secure with Velcro, so you can add weight as you progress.

McEwen recommends P.volve’s ankle weights, which secure with Velcro and come in 1.5-pound and three-pound options. “The sand-filled ankle weights stay securely strapped around the ankle, and I never have to worry about adjusting them throughout my workouts!” she said. We can vouch that they do stay put, and the fabric isn’t irritating to the skin as you’re moving around.

While ankle weights that secure with Velcro are easy to take off, Draper said slip-on ankle weights could also be a good option, as long as they stay snug and don’t slip around. We love Bala ankle weights for this instance.

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Kristin Cavallari & Ex Stephen Colletti Cozy Up In New Pic — What’s Going On!?

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Kristin Cavallari just provided us with the ultimate dose of nostalgia!

On Tuesday, the recently single MTV alum posted a snap to her Instagram with her ex. No, not Jay Cutler! The one that got away, Stephen Colletti!!

Related: Kristin Enjoys A ‘Night Out’ With Friends Amid Her ‘Fresh Start’ In New Digs

Along with the grainy nighttime pic (above) where the Laguna Beach alums can be seen VERY closely embracing, the 33-year-old wrote:

“2004 or 2020?!”

That’s what we’re wondering!

Regardless of whether they’re hooking up or just reuniting as pals, this pic was provocative enough to get people talking in the comment section!! Take a look at a few of the responses (below):

“oh lord. here come the internet rumors 🤦🏼‍♂️ you two haven’t aged a day! ♥️”

“what does it MEAN kristin”

“STOP I WOULD DIE IF THEY GOT TOGETHER”

“Internet just broke”

“The moment we’ve all been waiting for 🙌🏻”

What do U think is going on here, Perezcious readers?? Let us know (below) in the comments!!

[Image via Kristin Cavallari/Instagram.] 

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A Soulful Tribute to Howard Ashman – /Film

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“To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful.”

The dedication to the lyricist behind some of Disney’s most beloved animated hits that runs in the closing credits of Beauty and the Beast is brief but beautiful — which is a fitting description of the life of Howard Ashman, whose amazing life was cut short by AIDS in 1991, right on the cusp of what would be his greatest and most lasting achievement. It’s a fitting description too for Howard, the Disney+ documentary directed by Ashman’s friend and colleague, Beauty and the Beast producer Don Hahn. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage of Ashman working on soon-to-be Disney classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, Howard is an all-too-fleeting snapshot of one of the greatest lyricists in musical history, the tragic circumstances of his death lending an air of melancholy and depth that is rare in a Disney-affiliated documentary.

“Howard was always a storyteller,” Ashman’s sister, Sarah Gillespie describes early in the film as the camera pans to candlelit figures of cowboys, Indians, nutcrackers, whirring fans and pearls — children’s toys that took on new life in the young boy’s immense imagination. Howard charts a fairly straightforward biography of the lyricist and director’s life, with with his sister and his mother Shirley Ashman describing his early years growing up in Baltimore as images of a smiling young Ashman roll across the screen. As the film moves on to his time at college and his formative years in New York City, co-founding the WPA Theater with his first partner Stuart White, more recognizable names pop up, with Alan Menken, Jodie Benson, and Paige O’Hara all talking about the man who made such an impact on the musical scene.

None of the interviewees ever appear as a talking head onscreen, with the documentary preferring to give the spotlight only to Ashman in grainy black-and-white photos — transforming from a shy youngster to a serious young drama performer through the few images compiled of Ashman, as his friends and family describe his life. Hahn’s approach is clearly in loving tribute to Ashman, without the noise of a typical talking-head documentary to distract from the man at the center.

But the effect is something like a half-remembered memory, an footprint left on the sand as his loved ones desperately try to remember the boot that made it. Some of the memories contradict each other: Ashman’s colleagues from his time at Disney speculate on his state of mind in his later years, wondering if he had injected his own life experiences into songs such as “The Mob Song” from Beauty and the Beast, while his family vehemently denies such “hooey.” Ashman’s partner Bill Lauch, who took care of him as Ashman’s health deteriorated, clearly hesitant to go into the details of those later years, somewhat bitterly muses that Howard “may have said goodbye” long before he got sick. Through this faceless depiction of his interviewees, Hahn — perhaps unintentionally — crafts a conflicting and flawed portrait of Howard, which makes the film much more fascinating than if it had only given us a rundown of his achievements at Disney and off-Broadway.

That’s not to say the documentary is perfect. While reading between the lines makes the imperfect portrait of Ashman quite interesting, the film begins to drag a little after 20 minutes of Hahn cycling through the same series of images and throwing on the Ken Burns effect. When we do get to see Ashman speak for himself, the video interviews of the lyricist promoting Little Shop of Horrors and Smile are not all that illuminating, mostly showing a soft spoken and sensitive man who minces his words. Which is an all the more fascinating image, coming just a few minutes after Ashman’s famous collaborator Alan Menken described his first impression of Ashman as a chainsmoking rebel.

Howard gets a jolt of energy from its archival footage of the recordings of songs from Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, as we get to see Ashman at work, laser focused but — as we soon learn — fast deteriorating physically. That the best work of Ashman’s career came during a period where he was suffering the most from his illness is a tragedy not lost on the documentary, but not one that Hahn too heavily emphasizes. Howard gives a brief description of the AIDS crisis, with your requisite news reels describing the epidemic that devastated the gay community, but it expects its audience to know the implications of the disease.

However, any concerns about a Disney documentary properly covering an important aspect of Ashman’s life — his sexuality, his AIDS diagnosis, and even, in part, his fear of being outed while at Disney — can be put to rest. Howard never shies away from Ashman’s sexuality and his love life, though it paints a rather simplistic picture as told by his acquaintances and his partner Bill. The coverage of Ashman’s sexuality mostly function in laying the ground for his later diagnosis, though the scant details about his relationship with White, who is ever-so-slightly villainized for his hard-partying lifestyle before his diagnosis, are, again, interesting.

The parts of the film that cover Ashman’s rise to success with Disney don’t add much to what we already know, but bring a triumphant energy to the documentary in a bittersweet climax. Seeing the classic conflict of then-Disney Studios chief Jeffrey Katzenberg wanting to cut “Part of Your World” while Ashman fought for its inclusion are still satisfying to watch, as are Menken’s little analogies — by far the most colorful parts of the documentary — with the composer describing The Little Mermaid directors Ron Clements and John Musker as “white bread” that got a little much-needed flavor from Ashman. These segments are the most entertaining part of the film, as Howard breaks up the monotony of its photo montages with the aforementioned archival footage, including the recording of the song “Belle,” which was another song we learn that Ashman had a heavy hand in, transforming a music-free opening to a full-fledged “operetta.” Hearing Ashman’s demos of iconic songs such as “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and “Belle” — his specific intonations almost exactly imitated by the singers — are a joy to experience. Footage of Ashman directing Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach during “Be Our Guest” is dynamite, tapping into the charged magic of creating something that everyone involved knows will be special.

The veneer of tragedy during this pinnacle of Ashman’s career makes this footage all the more bittersweet. The film descends into an almost dour tone as Ashman’s friends and family describe his deteriorating condition, of working long hours at recording sessions only to go home and get hooked up to intravenous fluids, of doing Disney World junkets while struggling to stand, of writing “Prince Ali” with Menken from his hospital bed. But Hahn makes sure to emphasize that Ashman’s dream of creating something that will last long after he was gone was realized, showing a montage of the beloved animated films, its stage adaptations, and (ugh) its live-action remakes. Howard feels like in-memoriam tribute from a friend: made with a rosy sense of nostalgia, and perhaps a few too many photo montages, but with love.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10

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The Oils You Should Add to Your Beauty Routine

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We love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!.

There was a time that adding oils to your beauty routine was thought of as a big no no… but we’re here to tell you that if you haven’t done so yet, you’re missing out.

Oils do a whole host of wondrous things for your skin and hair, like nourishing and hydrating, conditioning skin and preventing ingrown hairs, and even reducing the signs of aging. And did we mention they even come in the form of that stunning but sheer wash of lip color that everyone is wearing this summer?

If you’re ready to give an oil or two a try as part of your beauty routine, start with one (or more!) of our faves below!

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