The Science

What are the benefits of wrist and ankle weights? 

INKA BAND review written by Emilina Lomas, Nutritionist & Exercise Scientist (MSc, BSc, A.Nutr.), Health Writer

Let’s be real. This year we’ve all been pretty sedentary. We’ve spent most of the year on lockdown with gyms closed and we’re all counting down the moments until life is back to normal. But who knows when that will be - so it’s time to start making adjustments to your new life. One such adjustment is how you workout. Many people are switching to home workouts after realizing how easy and effective they are, and it’s time you do the same.

We’re INKA BANDS. A brand that wants to bring you the best of home workouts. We don’t believe in gimmicks or false advertising, we base our brand on science-backed truths, to help you reach your fitness goals with ease and enjoyment.

Can you even get a good workout without weights?

This is probably a question you have asked if you’re stuck at home without gym access. Can you even get a sweat on without lifting weights? Can you lose weight without a range of workout equipment? What if you’re used to benching PRs, can you still increase your strength? The answer is absolutely.

Bodyweight training is one of the most popular forms of exercise and can help you get fit, lean and muscular - whatever your goal may be. This is enhanced if you have access to light resistance, in the form of resistance bands or INKA BANDS wrist and ankle weights.

In a 2012 study, exercise scientists at Wayne State University conducted an experiment that examined the effects of wearing ankle or wrist weights on muscular fitness, body composition and how it impacted the participants mental state and habits.

Researchers found that wrist and ankle weights increase the amount of calories burned during an aerobic exercise, particularly if they are worn throughout the duration of an aerobic workout. What that means is that if you wear your INKA BANDS weights during your hour long walk, you’re going to be way more calories. If your goal is weight loss or toning up a bit, this is going to have a massive impact when consistently done.

Another study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation conducted a study on the effects of wearing ankle and wrist weights in a group of participants who had been asked to run. The researchers found that energy expenditure (calories burned) and heart rate increased as a result of wearing the weights. This led them to conclude that wearing weights increases your training intensity, which results in “greater increases in cardiovascular fitness and greater weight loss”.

How do INKA BANDS weights actually work?

According to Terry Downey, a Harvard Health physical therapist, “the weight places a greater load on the muscle group being targeted. The muscles have to work harder to move this increased load against gravity, and in turn this will increase strength,". What this means in simple terms is that when you wear ankle or wrist weights, you’re forcing your muscles to make a greater effort. This can help them to activate and contract during an exercise, particularly in a strength training exercise, which can enhance the effects.

"They're great for targeted exercise if you can't grip a dumbbell," Downey says. For example, you might have a weak grip from arthritis or a stroke. In that case, Downey recommends using wearable wrist weights for standard arm exercises, such as biceps curls, or shoulder exercises, such as rows. "Lean over a ball or table with your arms free to the sides. Bring your arms back, like you're rowing a boat, and squeeze the shoulder blades together," she says.

Thus, over time and with repeated use, INKA BANDS weights can help to improve muscular tone and definition.

To support this, a study published in the Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences in 2016 conducted a randomized community trial to evaluate the benefits of ankle and wrist weights in an overweight group.

The participants were given one pair of 500 gram ankle weights and one pair of 500 gram wrist weights and were asked to wear them three days per week for at least 20 minutes, whilst doing their daily tasks. The researchers measured the participants' body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist to hip ratio, body fat percentage and muscle mass regularly for 6 months.

The researchers noticed significant improvements in all the health markers measured, leading them to conclude that wrist-ankle weights are an effective way to reduce your cardiovascular disease risk.

Essentially, these weights work the same as a dumbbell would - forcing your muscles to work harder. Plus, ankle-wrist weights are considered hypergravity training. Hypergravity training was invented by Dr. Carmelo Bosco while he was researching cures for muscle atrophy in astronauts due to Zero G. This technique basically involves wearing weights - adding a force greater than the force of gravity - for aerobic and strength advantages.

Without going into too much more science, here’s the summary of the main benefits of wearing wrist and ankle weights: 

  • More calories burned - numerous studies have shown that these weights increase energy expended during an exercise, or even not during an exercise, as in the case of non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) activity like household cleaning.
  • Increased strength - anything that involves carrying extra weight will over time increase your strength, as your muscles are tested under resistance.
  • Increase bone mass - extra loading can increase bone mass by stimulating osteoblasts cells, which produce new bone material.
  • Improved endurance - extra weight requires extra oxygen. The more you require oxygen, the better able your body is at coping and the fitter you get.
  • Increased speed - strength improvements + endurance improvements = speed improvements.
  • Easy to use - literally strap on and you’re ready to go. Let’s develop this point a bit more!

 Exercises to do using INKA BANDS wrist and ankle weights?

 After strapping them onto your wrist or ankles, you’re ready to go! And now, for the exercises - here are the top recommendations that when combined is a full body workout:

  1. Side lateral raises
  2. Side lying hip abduction
  3. Front lateral raises
  4. Squat to kick
  5. Cross body punches
  6. Squat jumps
  7. Lying leg raises
  8. Standing leg curl
  9. Plank to shoulder taps
  10. Donkey kicks

Perform these exercises for as many reps as you can before moving onto the next exercise, or complete in a circuit format - performing 25 reps of each, repeating the entire circuit at least two times.

If you’re not into strength training, you can also just strap on INKA BANDS and go for your daily walk or run for an added resistance.

These ankle and wrist weights are a no brainer! Get yours today.