One way to use wrist weights is to wear them throughout your daily life. Find out if this is a good idea and what your other options are.
In terms of injuries, most people can work up to wearing light and compact wrist weights all day without issues if they use a light pair and build up the duration very slowly. On the other hand, you can definitely also overdo it.
Additionally, the decrease in hand coordination when you stop wearing the wrist weights can cause issues in certain situations like driving a car.
Using wrist weights for extended periods of time (in a safe way) is mostly helpful for burning a few extra calories and improving arm muscle endurance. You likely won’t see any actual muscle growth from this.
That being said, you can achieve similar positive effects and more from short workouts with or without wrist weights too. These are generally recommended since they mess less with hand coordination.
Even if you don’t want to do anything more than wearing weights during your daily activities, something like a light weighted vest may be more effective, safe, and convenient.
Can you wear wrist weights all day?
The first question many people have is whether it is even possible to wear wrist weights all day without negative consequences. Something to note is that there are different ways to get to this point.
If you have been relatively inactive up until now, going from nothing to wearing somewhat heavy wrist weights all day can cause issues in areas like your joints and tendons and cause sore muscles.
On the other hand, you can also gradually get there. For example, you can start by wearing light wrist weights during 10-minute walks, see how that goes, and gradually build up from there if everything goes well.
Individuals who still have enough strengthening potential, give their bodies enough nutrients, and give their bodies enough rest, could in theory get to wearing wrist weights all day without injuries when taking it slow enough.
That being said, keep in mind that you will still change your hand coordination somewhat. This is because your muscles learn to exert more effort to move your hands the same distance as without wrist weights.
When you do take off the weights you may misplace your hands. In some situations like driving a car, this can cause negative consequences.
Something else to note is that wearing wrist weights while sleeping does not offer positive effects. Only bad hygiene and potentially discomfort.
What happens if you wear wrist weights all day?
Assuming you are slowly and safely working towards wearing wrist weights all day, this practice can still be good in a few ways.
Some of the most important benefits of wrist weights you can expect from wearing them around the house are burning some extra calories, improving muscle endurance to some extent, maintaining or improving bone density a small amount, and getting your heart rate just a bit higher.
You should not expect any crazy results from wearing light wrist weights all day. Additionally, there are other tools that you may prefer anyway that can offer similar effects.
However, because wrist weights are hands-free and can’t be dropped, you can get just a bit more out of the daily activities that you have to do anyway.
If you decide to wear wrist weights more often, make sure you keep things safe. Stop wearing the wrist weights in time to avoid injuries and to give yourself enough time to get used to the feel of the regular weight of your hands.
Study about wearing wrist weights often
The information above is helpful but you may also want to see how these things translate to real-life situations. Wrist weights are not the most well-studied subject but there is one interesting study that takes an in depth look.
This study had 138 participants and divided these people into 2 groups. The first group did dumbbell exercises 3 times a week with a pair of 1-kilogram (2.21 pounds) dumbbells.
The individuals of the second group got a pair of 500-gram (1.1 lbs) ankle weights and a pair of 500-gram (1.1 lbs) wrist weights and were told to wear these during their daily activities for at least 20 minutes 3 days a week.
They measured a variety of things at baseline, week 6, month 3, and month 6. Of the individuals who started, 89 participants completed this study (this includes dumbbell training participants).
The people behind the study measured that the remaining ankle and wrist weight group participants (and dumbbell training participants) had significant improvements in waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratios, and body fat percentages but no significant difference in BMI after 6 months (1).
This does of course not say everything. For example, the queue of putting on the wrist and ankle weights could have reminded individuals to be more active.
On the other hand, even if other factors played a role, this study may motivate you enough to try wearing wrist weights around the house.
Alternative ways of using wrist weights
Something important to keep in mind is that just wearing light wrist weights all day is not the only way to use this type of fitness equipment. You also have other options that may align more with your fitness goals.
First of all, there are wrist weight movements that focus more on building muscle instead of burning calories in the short term. By building muscle you also burn more calories in the long term.
A few examples of exercises like this are shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, etc.
Something to keep in mind if you want your wrist weights to tone your arms is that you need a pair that is heavy enough. If you can do an exercise more than about 30 times in a row you likely won’t see any growth.
Additionally, you will have to give your body the right nutrients and rest to repair and grow the muscles you work.
Another way to use wrist weights instead of all day is just adding them to other shorter movement sessions like your daily walks.
Other ways to get similar benefits
Besides using your wrist weights differently it is also good to remember that there are other ways to get similar benefits. These can often offer more benefits in a shorter amount of time.
The first thing you can consider is other wearable weights. For example, most people find they can add more weight with a weighted vest without it becoming annoying.
Some people also like the feel and different muscle focus of ankle weights more.
More importantly, there are a wide variety of short HIIT workouts that can help you burn more calories than wearing wrist weights would. Some examples include step aerobics, dancing, high knees, marching in place, etc.
You can potentially even use your wrist weights during these workouts and exercises for extra effects.
One thing you do want to keep in mind is that similar to having to work up to being able to wear wrist weights throughout the entire day, you likely also have to gradually increase workout intensity to avoid issues.
Wrist weights good or bad
Wearing wrist weights for longer amounts of time does not necessarily lead to injuries if you build up slow enough or stop when needed.
The main benefits of doing this are burning a few extra calories and increasing arm muscle endurance.
However, the decreased hand coordination when you stop wearing the wrist weights after extended periods of time can cause issues.
On top of that, the positive effects of adding wrist weights to your daily routine can often be replaced by doing short workouts. Potentially with wrist weights.
If you are very careful and really don’t want to spend any extra time on anything besides putting on your pair of wrist weights, you could consider wearing them around the house.
However, even for this, other weighted clothing like a weighted vest is likely better.