Wearable Weights: Do they Help or Hurt?

Wearable weights are popular items these days, as they intensify your workout or add some strength training to your daily workout routine. However, just because they are trendy does not mean that you should just strap them on without thinking about the risks.

Ankle Weights

One of the most common types is the ankle weight, which is normally strapped around your ankle and attached using velcro straps.

There are, however, situations when wearing them is not recommended, specifically when you are walking or while doing an aerobics workout. This is because you are forced to use your quadriceps (or the muscles in front of your thighs), instead of the hamstrings (muscles in the back of your thighs).

The end result is muscle imbalance plus these weights will pull on your ankle joint, increasing the risk of ligament or tendon injuries in your hips, back, and knees.

However, they are a good idea to use when you are doing exercises that work on the muscles in the legs and hips. Leg lifts are a good example of these. The ankle weights will increase the load on the muscles you are targeting so that you can work on strengthening these muscles.

Wrist Weights

These weights are also wrapped and attached with velcro to the wrist. The most popular use is for cardio workouts or while taking a walk. However, this may also lead to muscle imbalance while you are swinging the arms back and forth. It might cause tendon and joint injuries in the elbows, shoulders, neck, and wrists.

However, when used while doing targeted exercise, it may be a good thing, especially when you have problems gripping a dumbbell. Thus, it is good for the usual shoulder and arm exercises like biceps curls and rows.

Weighted Vests

These products are put over your head and hang from your shoulders. There is a wide strap that you wrap around the middle to keep it in place. There are pockets all around the vest as well, which is where you can put the weights depending on the amount you want to wear.

A weighted vest is a good idea for a walk because it puts pressure on the bones that will stimulate new bone cell growth and fight bone loss. However, it is important to not put on more than 10% of your body weight.

Still, weighted vests are not good for those who have problems with their back and neck like significant disc degeneration or spinal stenosis. It will put pressure on the spine and even cause neck problems.

Wearable weights are a good idea if you know when they are appropriate and beneficial to use and when they are risky. It is definitely not smart to just use it because it is trendy, especially without consulting your doctor. It is important to get clearance if you have issues with your joints, back, or balance.

Once your doctor gives you the go signal, work with a physical therapist to create a strength-training plan, starting off with the least amount of weight and gradually going up.