How to Use Wrist Weights Instead of Dumbbells

portrait of a young woman exercising with wrist weights

Wrist weights that wrap around your lower arms are acceptable alternatives for dumbbells. Although the weights, typically weighing from 1 to 5 lbs, provide a lighter resistance than some dumbbells, the movements you do with them are the same. Some wrist weights are set at a weight limit, while others are adjustable by adding or taking away the steel, weighted rods. One of the biggest benefits of moving the weights from your hands to your wrists is the reduced stress on your fingers. If you experience arthritis pain in your knuckles, or are recovering from hand surgery, wrist weights are an affordable workout option.

Wrist Weight Exercises

Secure the weights snug around your wrists, but not too tight that you feel uncomfortable. Ensure the weights are tight enough that they will not twist around during your workout.

Stand tall with your arms extended down at your sides. Face your palms forward. Exhale, bend your elbows and raise your hands toward your shoulders. Keep your elbows close to your body. Inhale, straighten your arms and return to start position. Repeat this bicep curl 10 to 15 times. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat for a second set.

Sit on the edge of a chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Straighten your right arm over your head with your palm facing inward. Place your left hand on the back of your upper right arm. Inhale, bend your right arm and lower your hand behind your head. Exhale, straighten your arm and return to start position. Complete two sets of 10 to 15 elbow extensions on each arm.

Begin by sitting in a chair with your arms extended at your sides and your palms facing the wall behind you. Exhale, raise your shoulders toward your ears into a shrug. Inhale and lower your shoulders to start position. Complete one to three sets of eight to twelve shoulder shrugs.


Use the wrist weights in place of your favorite dumbbell exercises. As with all strength training, allow for at least one day of rest after your workout.


Speak with your doctor regarding the safety of adding wrist weights to your routine.