Influencers are obsessed with Bala Bangles—but are the wearable weights worth it?
I tried them to find out if they're as good as they look.
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If you’re a fitness buff of a certain demographic, you’ve no doubt been fed ads over social media for Bala Bangles. These pastel wrist-or-ankle weights are designed to up the ante on the likes of barre workouts while looking sleek and being easy to store. And while they’re beloved by fitness and style influencers and Shark Tank alike, at $59 per pair, are they really worth buying?
As someone who's willing to try anything once, especially when it comes to fitness accessories, I decided to buy a one-pound set for myself. Here's my honest review of Bala Bangles, and whether or not they're worth the price.
What are we wearing?
What are Bala Bangles?
Upon their launch in early 2022, Bala Bangles quickly became the "it" wearable weights for home workouts and have sold out multiple times. With a modern, colorful aesthetic, the bands are touted as the perfect fitness gear for anyone and any workout. "Bala Bangles add a constant but comfortable resistance to your workout," the brand explains, adding that with the weights, "The world just became your gym."
Made of recycled stainless steel that's covered in soft silicone, Bala Bangles are sold in pairs and come in two load options: one pound for $59 a pair, and two pounds for $65 a pair. They have a velcro adjustable strap and can be worn on either your wrists or your ankles.
What I like about Bala Bangles
They’re attractive and appealing to use
Let's start with the obvious pro: their appearance. Bala Bangles are sleek and stylish (i.e., very Instagrammable) and come in a rainbow of hues from jet black to blush pink to seafoam green. The design also isn't the clunky sand-filled ankle weights of the '80s but rather a form-fitting style that looks more like a trendy bracelet than a piece of workout equipment (hence the name "bangles").
They’re easy to wear
Despite being steel weights, the Bala Bangles fit snugly against my wrist and don't chafe or irritate my skin—I never found them uncomfortable to wear. They're also easy to put on and take off, yet the Velcro never came undone while I was working out. I also didn't have to adjust the weights at all during my workout, which was a big plus.
What I don't like about Bala Bangles
They can get in the way
First, I like to wear my Fitbit while I work out. With Bala Bangles, that's impossible as they wrap around the same part of your wrist as a fitness tracker or smart watch does. Also, when I wore the bangles during higher-intensity movements (like jumping jacks or burpees in yoga sculpt, for instance), they slipped around a little bit once I got sweaty. They also seemed to make my movements feel jerky and "unnatural" with the added resistance, and I worried about tweaking my shoulders or hips.
They shouldn’t be used during cardio workouts
On that note, it's important to realize that while wrist and ankle weights—Bala Bangles included—are trending right now, they may not be as effective as people assume. Harvard Health warns that wearing wrist or ankle weights can increase risk of injury during cardio exercise (like running or dance class) or everyday activities (such as going for a walk) as it causes muscle imbalances. This is something I experienced when I was wearing my weights as mentioned above—they put more of a strain than a burn on my arms during cardio.
You may “outgrow” them quickly
These are very light weights as far as added resistance goes. You won't get much stronger from using them, though you may feel more of an intensity or a "burn" from slow, deliberate movements, but training-wise, they won't make a huge difference.
Are Bala Bangles worth it?
This depends on how you use them. If you want to add a little extra weight to dumbbells—say, to increase your overhead press from 10 pounds to 12 pounds—or wear the bangles for added resistance during a slow-flowing yoga sculpt or barre class, Bala Bangles are fine. They fit comfortably and are a convenient way to add a small amount of external resistance. It's also nice that you can use them on either your wrists and your ankles.
The Bala Bangles also look really cool. This might not seem like much, but if just having them in your house makes you want to use them and therefore do exercises or workouts that you would otherwise not have done, that's a huge tick mark in the W column.
However, because a lot of people use wearable weights incorrectly, there’s a risk of injury. Also, if you like to wear a watch while you work out or if you're someone who lifts with much heavier weight (i.e., two pounds is barely going to make a difference), these aren't a good buy.
Functionally, the same could be said for any sand-filled wrist/ankle weights, which can cost half or less the pricey Bala version and come in a greater range of weight options. (Those ones just aren’t as pretty.)
All that said, I still use the Bala Bangles when I take the occasional barre class and I'd suggest them for anyone who prefers lighter-weight workouts or for beginners looking for a hands-free weight alternative.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.