How to Use Wrist Weights Instead of Dumbbells

Wrist weights are safer than dumbbells during cardio exercises.
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Visit a step aerobics class in any gym and you're bound to see at least one member of the class holding small dumbbells as she hops and bounces around. People often use dumbbells during aerobics to provide more resistance to help tone their arms and shoulders, but the strategy can be risky. If you have access to wrist weights, they provide a safer way than dumbbells to tone your muscles during aerobics.

    Step 1

    Select wrist weights that weigh between 1 and 3 pounds. Gyms occasionally have wrist weights for their members to use. Otherwise, many sporting goods stores sell these common accessories. Although you might be tempted to select a heavier weight, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) cautions against using anything heavier than 3 pounds, as it can stress your muscles and joints.

    Step 2

    Strap the weights to your wrists directly at the base of each hand. Wrist weights commonly include adjustable straps so you can customize the fit. Avoid tightening them so much that you cut off the circulation in your hands, but keep them tight enough so they don't slide around as you move.

    Step 3

    Perform your typical arm movements while wearing the wrist weights instead of holding the dumbbells. During step aerobics classes, in which wrist weights are common, movements often include clapping your hands, swinging your arms and even throwing punches.


    • Adjustable wrist weights are ideal, as they allow you to add or remove ounces or pounds to adjust the accessory's overall weight.


    • ACE reports that wearing wrist weights during aerobic exercise will increase your heart rate by up to 10 beats per minute and boost your oxygen consumption up to 15 percent when compared to someone who isn't wearing wrist weights.


    • ACE recommends wrist weights over dumbbells, as the tight grip you use to hold hand weights can cause your blood pressure to rise.


    • Avoid using wrist weights if you have soreness in your arm or shoulder muscles, or your wrist, elbow or shoulder joints.

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