Something as simple as a wrist weight couldn't possibly make a difference in your workout, right? Wrong. You'd be surprised at how a little extra resistance can significantly impact your training. The added resistance easily ramps up your cardio workout and boosts your strengthening routine to a new level. But, beware -- injuries can occur if not used properly. So, before you strap on a pair of weights and start working out, get some expert advice. An experienced trainer can clear up questions about technique so you can strap on your wrist weights and use them with confidence.
Benefits of Wrist Weights
One of the first things you’ll notice during your workout is that the additional resistance makes your muscles work harder and your heart beat a little faster. This helps strengthen your muscles, tone your upper body and burn a few more calories. Unlike dumbbells, you don’t have to hold onto wrist weights. So, if you enjoy fast-moving cardio workouts, your arms can move freely. If at any time your arms feel tired, you can easily remove the weights and continue on with your routine. Wearing wrist weights can intensity your cardio workouts. By wearing 1- to 3-pound weights, you can increase your heart rate up to 10 beats per minute and you can burn up to 15 percent more calories, according to the American Council on Exercise. One of the best things about wrists weights is that they are relatively inexpensive; they won’t break your budget.
About Wrist Weights
Wrist weights typically weigh 1 to 5 pounds, but for most exercises, you will only need 1- or 3-pound weights. The weights are made of durable fabric and can be filled with sand, gel or steel shot. Putting the weights on is easy, just wrap them around your arms and secure them with the Velcro closure or buckle You may also find some models that look like donuts; to put them on, you simply slide your hands through the hole. Other styles have pockets for adding additional weight bars.
You don’t have to go to the gym to work on your cardio endurance. Simply put on your wrist weights and go for a brisk walk, a jog around your neighborhood or try aerobic stepping or dancing. With cardio training, FitDay.com recommends using lighter weights, such as 1-pound weights. If you can handle it, use slightly heavier weights when doing strength training exercises. Strap on the weights and do biceps curls to target the muscles at the front of your upper arm. Try triceps extensions to work the muscles behind your upper arms. To strengthen your shoulders, perform lateral raises. Wrap the weights around your hand and perform wrist flexions and extensions to strengthen your forearm muscles. Perform two sets of 10 to 12 reps with each exercise.
Be careful when you exercise with wrist weights as there are some risks. Exercising too much and using too much weight could do a number on your muscles, straining your joints and leading to tennis elbow, according to Matt Briggs, a physical therapist at Ohio State University. Walking or jogging with wrist weights changes the way your body naturally moves; without proper technique, you could injure your shoulders and upper chest. Be sure the weights are securely strapped around your wrists, but not too tight to the point of being uncomfortable.
- American Council on Exercise: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks if Individuals Hold Dumbbells in Their Hands While Doing Step Aerobics or Other Cardio Activities?
- Galt Technology: Review: Improving Your Workouts With Wrist and Ankle Weights
- Fit Day: Working Out with Wrist Weights
- Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: Arm Strengthening Program with Wrap Weights
- ABC News: Ankle, Wrist Weights May Pump Up the Pain
- PBS: Using Hand Weights While Walking
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images