When you include running as part of your workout, you're burning calories while building and toning the muscles in your core, legs and backside. But despite these benefits, your upper body might not be getting the attention it deserves. Adding wrist weights to your cardio-rich workout, whether it's running, aerobics or inline skating, helps target specific muscle groups.
Most people like the idea of toned biceps, and wrist weights will help you work toward that goal. The weights you choose don't have to be heavy; the American Council on Exercise recommends staying within the 1- to 3-pound range. Strap on the wrist weights and ensure you're pumping your arms intensely while walking, jogging or running. During breaks, stand with your arms outstretched to each side with your palms up and bend your elbows to draw your hands toward your shoulders.
When you pump your arms, extending your forearm and then bending it again, you're working your triceps. With wrist weights, you're increasing the resistance and helping build this muscle faster. Although wearing weights while doing a cardio exercise will work your triceps, you can add a little more burn to the exercise by reaching both arms high above your head and bending at the elbows until your hands are behind your neck. Then, extend your arms until they're straight.
Women aren't as fond of getting thick, wide shoulder muscles as men, but having toned shoulders might make you more likely to get excited to wear tank tops and thin-strapped dresses. Whenever you run with wrist weights, your shoulder muscles are receiving benefits because of the back-and-forth movement. For an extra workout, allow your arms to hang at your sides and, keeping them straight, use your shoulder muscles to raise your arms until they're parallel with the ground.
Despite the fitness benefits provided by wrist weights, the American Council on Exercise warns that wearing weights that weigh more than 3 pounds can cause injuries to your muscles and joints. If you're an accomplished bodybuilder and 3 pounds isn't enough to benefit you, try a higher weight. Otherwise, stick within the 1- to 3-pound threshold to build your muscles safely.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.