Let me tell you, I was that person. Stuck in the past, simply unaware of the archaic accessories I had in my studio storage. Yes, I had those 1980’s wrist and ankle weights. You know the ones… that are filled with beads or sand, waiting for the inevitable snagged fabric to burst and leave a mess in their wake! I was living in this ancient wrist weight existence, until one of my beautiful clients gifted me a phenomenon. Enter the Bala Bangles!
My initial thoughts were towards my client. “Holy cow you’re so sweet” “How thoughtful” “You’re amazing”. Then this turned to “hang on how much are these” “they are too pretty to be cheapies!!”
A quick Instagram stalk of their page told me these fitness accessories were the real deal!
I was gifted with the blush colour, 1 pound (454 grams) Bala Bangles.
They come in both the 1 pound or 2 pound weights, and from here on end I’m going to jump back into the Aussie friendly metric system because 1 pound to me means about as much as a ripper, fair dinkum, arvo with a barbie and a stubbie means to the rest of the world!
So, what are they other than pretty things on your wrist?? Basically, they are a band, made of athletic elastic, held on your arm or wrist with Velcro. Cast-iron bars which are coated in a smooth silicone skin are slipped onto the band, with the ability to move the bars the space them evenly, no more uneven weights like the Jane Fonda days (bless her and her contribution to fitness!) You can choose the 454 gram set or the 907 gram set.
They fit well, are beautiful, but have a purpose other than being uber-cute. Adding weight to your wrists or ankles instantly increases the challenge to your workout. They help to increase your heartrate, elevate oxygen consumption, and increase calories burnt. Using the Bala Bangles on your wrists adds extra resistance to movements without interrupting flow of the exercise by picking up and putting down hand weights, and allows hands to be free to hold straps, bend and be expressive in the movement.
I tried the Bala Bangles with Pilates of course, yoga, running and some HIIT. I felt that vigorous movements where your shoulders are not stable such as running, star jumps etc, put added strain on your muscles, ligaments and joints of the shoulders, arm and wrists. Personally, I would not recommend high intensity cardio with the addition of the Bala Bangles, be them small in weight, this added weight could lead to some damage, in my opinion.
Okay the pros I found:
· As mentioned, you can still use your hands and they allow you to focus on movement and not interrupt your flow in Pilates and Yoga
· Increased heart rate, burns more calories and fat, build lean muscle
· The weights do not slip and slide like the old, clunky, loose weights
· Easy to clean with the Bala cleaning spray, good old water and teatree or, get ready, you can actually put the Bala Bangles in the dishwasher
· They are one size fits all
· They are balanced around the wrist as you can space the bars evenly to fit each individual person
· They look cute AF
· Either 454 gram or 907 gram size
· Can be comfortably and effectively used on wrists or ankles
· Several awesome colours including blush, sand, emerald, charcoal, cherry, bone, the swanky colour list goes on
Now for the cons I found:
· If you wear an apple or smart watch to track your exercise you cannot wear your apple watch with the Bala Bangles
· I felt they were not great for running, jumping, boxing
· I believe with a pre-existing injury, and without proper care or developed deep stabilising muscles, these weights could potentially cause some injury to the muscles, joints and ligaments of the shoulder, arm and wrists. A great pro is the ability to move your arm and shoulder any way you like, however an overstretch or extension with added weight could wreak havoc for your body
· They are a little more pricey than other wrist weights on the market. At USD $49.00 for the 454 gram, and $65 USD for the 907 gram they are on the steep side, but you pay for what you get and I believe they are worth the investment
Overall, I love these babies for a Pilates workout. I use them in the studio and personally use them in my own Pilates or yoga workout.
They can also be used in everyday life, around the house, cleaning, walking, out and about, and you might be thinking, what’s that little weight going to do? But let me tell you, try them out for an hour or so and you’ll see!
As with all things fitness and health related, if you are unsure if the Bala Bangles are for you, consult your allied health professional before starting any new exercise or accessory. This blog includes my personal opinion and nothing but respect is meant for the Bala company and their product.