Many people understand that wrist weights can help with fitness to some extent. However, it is not always clear how to use them for this goal.
You can get some of the best wrist weights but if you don’t use them the right way for your training goals, you could miss out on some of the benefits.
There is one important thing to note before you get started. If you were relatively inactive until now, especially in terms of arm exercises, you want to start with light wrist weights and short sessions and build up from there.
Even in the right activities, using too much weight too fast can be uncomfortable and potentially lead to injuries.
1. Certain cardiovascular workouts
Cardiovascular workouts are movements that focus on training your heart and lungs. By adding some weight in one way or another, this system will have to work harder.
Two of the benefits of wrist weights that make them helpful for these cardiovascular exercises are that you can’t drop them and that your hands are still free.
For example, it can be good to walk with wrist weights if you don’t like other no-handed weight options and don’t want to hold something. Additionally, wrist weights still allow you to do things like drink from a water bottle.
Other examples of cardiovascular workouts you could potentially do with light wrist weights include shadow boxing, step aerobics, and jumping jacks.
Something like running with wrist weights is typically not recommended since it can influence your gait. For these types of cardiovascular workouts, something like a weighted vest is generally a better choice.
Additionally, even if you choose one of the better cardiovascular exercise options you want to use wrist weights that are light enough to not cause any issues.
A rough general wrist weight guideline for cardiovascular workouts is between 0.5 pounds to 2 pounds (0.23 to 0.91 kg) on each side.
Lastly, keep in mind that while wrist weights can work, they are not a miracle tool either. They make these cardiovascular workouts somewhat harder but the main benefits will still come from doing this workout in the first place.
2. Daily life
Some people feel like they are missing out on some potential ways to increase activity levels throughout the day. Wearable weights like wrist weights can help with this to a small extent.
Again, the benefits of having your hands free to do other things and not being able to drop wrist weights are useful in this area.
For example, you can wear wrist weights during sessions of household chores to get your heart beating just a little faster and your muscles working just a bit harder.
One important thing to note is that individuals who were relatively inactive up until now don’t want to go from 0 to wearing wrist weights all day. Start light and with short sessions and build up from there.
Additionally, while small amounts do add up to some extent, you should also not expect crazy results from only making this change. Lastly, other fitness equipment options like a weighted vest can be more effective.
3. Resistance training
Resistance training comes down to doing exercises that require your muscles to work against resistance. Often in ways where the muscles have to go through a large range of motion.
If you challenge your muscles with enough resistance, the right number of repetitions, and the right number of sets, this can lead to muscle growth and strength progress in combination with the right nutrition and rest.
In short, wrist weights can tone your arms and other areas if you do the right exercises with enough resistance. Do keep in mind that other pieces of fitness equipment are often more effective for this.
A few examples of exercises with wrist weights include:
- Bicep curls: A bicep muscle isolation exercise where you keep your upper arms by your sides and raise your lower arms with wrist weights as far as comfortable.
- Tricep extensions: A tricep muscle isolation exercise where you keep your upper arms pointing upward and raise your lower arms with wrist weights as far as comfortable.
- Lateral raises: A side deltoid (side part of main shoulder muscle) isolation exercise where raise your slightly less than stretched arms with wrist weights sideways until they are horizontal or as far as comfortable.
- Front raises: A front deltoid isolation exercise where raise your slightly less than stretched arms with wrist weights forward until they are horizontal or as far as comfortable.
- Shoulder presses: A deltoid, tricep, and trapezius (upper shoulder muscle) exercise where your hands with wrist weights start at about shoulder height. To do the exercise push your hands upward with upper arms pointing somewhat forward as far as comfortable.
- Shrugs: A trapezius isolation exercise where you raise your shoulders as far as comfortable while staying upright and holding your arms by your sides.
- Bent-over straight arm kickbacks: A latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back muscle) isolation exercise where you stand bent-over with a straight spine and raise your slightly less than stretched arms until they are in line with your upper body.
An important thing to note is that light wrist weights are not always challenging enough in these exercises for everyone to grow and strengthen muscles. Especially for stronger individuals.
In turn, you may need to use more challenging pieces of fitness equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands, and a barbell to see significant progress.
Tips for using wrist weights
Using your wrist weights in the ways above can offer some positive effects but there are also some things to keep in mind. Both to avoid certain things and to get the most out of your wrist weight sessions.
Some of these tips include:
- Only add weight if your current workouts are easy enough: Wrist weights are a way to make your workouts more challenging but you can also overdo it. This can lead to negative consequences.
- Don’t wear your wrist weights while sleeping: For most people, wearing wrist weights while sleeping does not offer any benefits. At the same time, you still get the downsides in terms of discomfort and hygiene.
- Don’t use your wrist weights for stretching: Wearing wrist weights while doing dynamic stretching exercises like arm swings is typically only good for increasing the risk of going too far.
- Focus on improving your workouts in other ways too: Wrist weights can be a simple way to increase workout intensity but things like increasing speed and duration often offer more benefits.
- Improve other lifestyle areas to see a lot of results: Even with an intense workout program, someone can be overweight and unhealthy. Other lifestyle areas like nutrition and sleep have a big impact.
- Increase the wrist weight in safe amounts as you get stronger and fitter: In a normal situation, your body adapts itself to be better able to deal with the challenge of the wrist weights you wear. To keep seeing progress, you have to keep increasing the challenge of your movements in safe amounts.
Keeping these tips in mind and implementing them can make your wrist weight sessions safer and more effective and help you become healthier.