I Tried the Chic Bala Bangles That Are All Over Your IG Feed

Eufemia Didonato

Studio classes have always been my thing; reformer Pilates, kickboxing, barre, spin, cardio dance… the list goes on. So when the pandemic forced everyone to start working out at home last year, my equipment setup was lacking. I owned a yoga mat and resistance bands — sufficient but not inspiring. I […]

Studio classes have always been my thing; reformer Pilates, kickboxing, barre, spin, cardio dance… the list goes on. So when the pandemic forced everyone to start working out at home last year, my equipment setup was lacking. I owned a yoga mat and resistance bands — sufficient but not inspiring. I needed a better home gym setup, and started looking for gear that could improve my workouts without cluttering my tiny apartment. That said, my quest led me to Bala Bangles (Buy It, $49, verishop.com).



a close up of a womans face: Amazon


© Provided by Shape
Amazon

The sleek, wearable weights were all over my Instagram feed thanks to fitness influencers like Isaac Boots. I was immediately attracted to the modern color palette (think: blush rose and deep sea blue), but quickly noticed the design was just as current. The bangles have eight rectangular silicone weights attached to an elastic strap, and mold to the wrist and ankles like a sleek piece of jewelry. Unlike other ankle weights, they weren’t an eyesore, and I could even picture myself wearing them outside my apartment to make walks with my dog a little more challenging. (Related: The Best Ankle Weights, According to Customer Reviews)

FWIW, I wasn’t the only person impressed. The bangles were sold out everywhere for months, and I spent hours trying to find a pair that wasn’t on backorder. It paid off when I discovered a limited-edition set on Free People’s website. They cost $5 more than normal — the typical upcharge for these rare designs — but would arrive in under a week. And I can honestly say, it was love at first wear.

Buy It: Bala Bangles, $49, verishop.com and amazon.com

Before Bala, ankle weights always felt, for me, like clunky additions that got in the way of my movements — regardless of whether they’re Hailey Bieber-approved. Most versions also absorb sweat and are almost impossible to clean. Worst of all, they can be super uncomfortable to wear, which can actually distract from the workout itself.

Gallery: In 2021, I’m Getting Stronger Mentally and Physically by Recommitting to My Fitness Routine (PopSugar)

These weren’t issues with my beloved bangles. The 1-pound weights were the perfect addition to my P.Volve workouts and strength training exercises. (Note: I never wear them for intense cardio workouts because they can increase the chance of injury.) The biggest compliment I can give is that I could barely tell I was wearing them due to the non-bulky design. Sure, my muscles felt exhausted sooner because of the extra weight, but I didn’t waste time constantly adjusting them. 

Not to mention, Shape editor Elizabeth Bacharach is also obsessed. She suggested wearing the weights for chores around the house or walks around the neighborhood. Even though they’re not high-intensity exercises, she says the “bangles make it feel like I’m doing something for my body and muscles (even if super slightly),” while also tackling boring chores like laundry or dishes.

And if you love to hate on the ankle weight trend, rest assured, they’re actually trainer-approved: Simply walking around with ankle weights on can make a difference because they can add impact forces, which may help with maintaining bone density, Michele Olson, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist perviously told Shape. They’re also amazing for strengthening all the small-but-important muscles in your hips (since they allow you to move in all directions, unlike, say, dumbbells), and can help you target and isolate certain muscles that may be weak or injured, Holly Perkins, C.S.C.S., also told Shape.

Plus, you don’t have to load on the weight to rack up the benefits. Ankles weight as light as one pound can increase your heart rate by an average of three to five beats per minute versus unweighted conditions, according to The American Council of Exercise. But you’ll need to be selective about when you wear the weights; Harvard Health warns against using them during cardio or other everyday activities as they may cause unnecessary stress on joint or tendon injuries. Other experts consider ankle or wrist weights safe for walking as long as they’re under three pounds.

Buy It: Bala Bangles, $55, amazon.com

Beyond Instagram influencers and Shape’s team, Amazon shoppers are also huge fans. Yep, the bangles are actually available at the online marketplace and already the best-selling wrist weights (although you’ll have to wait for them to ship until February). Like me, reviewers adore how the weights look, feel, and fit. Plus, they also consider the design totally worth the expensive price tag. There’s a reason that I own two pairs.

If you’re ready to give the Bala Bangles a try, I suggest putting in your order ASAP. Many of the styles on Amazon are already back-ordered until February — and the shipping date just keeps getting pushed further out. Otherwise, you’ll have to start searching sites like Anthropologie, Bandier, and Verishop to secure your preferred color.

Buy It: Bala Bangles, $49, amazon.com and verishop.com 

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