If you sense that you’re getting used to your usual workout routine — whether it’s walking, jogging, kickboxing, or doing yoga — popping wearable weights onto your wrists or ankles (or both) is a simple way to take the intensity up a notch and see more benefits.
“The added resistance of a wearable weight makes workouts more challenging, both mentally and physically,” says trainer and Rumble founding member Erika Hammond. While it might not seem like much, she says carrying around an extra pound or two really can help strengthen your muscles.
Wearable weights can also improve your cardio endurance simply by making your body work just a little bit harder, says personal trainer Erin Mahoney. Of course, the benefits all depend on which type of wearable you choose. Most attach to your wrists or ankles using velcro, and thus work the arms or legs, respectively.
There are also weighted vests, which Mahoney says are the best choice if your goal is to improve overall strength and endurance, especially if you’ll be walking, running, or hiking (think about how sweat-inducing it is to carry a heavy backpack uphill.) Read on for more info about wearable weights, including trainer-approved tips for incorporating them into your fitness routine.
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How To Use Wearable Weights
According to Marnie Kunz, a NASM-certified personal trainer, running coach, and founder of Runstreet, you can easily introduce weights to your workouts by wearing them while you walk. Wrap a set around either your wrists (if you want to work your arms) or ankles (for an added lower body burn), and aim for 20 minutes a day, Kunz recommends.
Another method is to use ankle weights during certain exercises in lieu of resistance bands, says Kunz. “For instance, you can do donkey kicks with ankle weights to increase the intensity of the exercise.” Translation: Your glutes will experience some extra resistance.
You can also incorporate wearable weights into your existing workout routine and fave workouts for an extra punch by wearing wrist weights during a cardio class, slipping on a weighted vest while you jog, or donning a pair of ankle weights while you do Pilates. The added resistance will work your muscles and boost your heart rate.
Wearable Weights Workout Ideas
For an example of how to use the fitness tools, check out this routine from Hammond, who loves wearing weights. Move through her go-to sequence three times to feel the burn in your upper body.
- 30 seconds of shadowboxing with straight punches.
- 30 seconds of hook punches, plus a squat.
- 30 seconds squat holds, plus straight punches.
Then try Hammond’s fave lower body workout wearing weights around your ankles. Repeat it two times.
- 30 seconds right side donkey kicks.
- 30 seconds right side fire hydrants.
- 30 seconds left side donkey kicks.
- 30 seconds left side fire hydrants.
- 30 seconds glute bridge.
Shop Wearable Weights
The Sleek Buy
Strap a pair of the super-popular Bala Bangles onto your wrists or ankles and your movements will magically transform into resistance training. These one-pound wearables come in sets of two and you can pick from a wide selection of fun colors.
For A 5-Pound Boost
For a sneaky way to make every movement a little bit harder, slip into this sleek vest by Omorpho. It weighs 5 pounds and is made out of ultra-soft and flexible material so you barely notice you’re actually resistance training.
For Your Arm Workouts
This set of wrists weights includes two 1.5 pound adjustable wearables that can add some spice to your upper body workouts.
For A Lower Body Burn
Grab this pair of 1.5-pound ankle weights to instantly intensify any workout. They’re filled with iron seed, coated in nylon, and come with an adjustable velcro strap for comfortable wear.
For Leg & Glute Day
If you want a heavier option, these 3-pound ankle weights will add a challenge to your thighs, calves, and glute muscles, whether you’re walking or moving through a lunge series.
For A Full-Body Challenge
This weighted vest adds 8 pounds of resistance to anything you do, making it easier to build strength and improve endurance. It’s made of breathable, sweat-resistant material so you won’t overheat. It’s also sleek, so it won’t hold you back from lifting, running, or jumping.