Running with Weights: Tips, Cautions, and Benefits

Have you ever tried running with weights?

If not !!!! Then nothing to worry about.

If you’ve been running for a little while, or if you want to make your running a little more fun.

You might be thinking about running with weights.

The reasoning is self-explanatory: if you will work out with a heavier weight load, then you will experience the benefits later while running without weights.

In this post, we will discuss the benefits of running with weights, as well as the various options available if you are confused about choosing the best weight for you.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea about running with weights and which type of weight is right for you.


Running with ankle weights

Ankle weights increase the heart rate by 3 to 5 beats per minute, and calories burn by 5 to 10 percent, which is lower as compared to other weighted running options.

One study revealed that ankle weights might make you run slowly.

Additionally, since ankle weights may affect your running form and pace by putting pressure on the lower leg joints, muscles, and tendons, you are more likely to suffer from ankle weight injury as compared to other weights.

Running with weights on your legs will increase your calorie burn slightly, but only if you keep running. 

They might cause a variety of injuries. For example:

  • Place pressure on the ankle, knee, and hip joints, resulting in multiple injuries.
  • Alter running mechanics.
  • The feet will land harder, with each move with extra weight.
  • Changes in your running form can lead to the pulling of tendons and ligaments.

The ankles are already a delicate part of the body, and the extra weight will place a lot of extra pressure on them, making them very dangerous.

They’re only safe during resistance training.

Runners who still wish to use ankle weights should do this very carefully.

Before involving in ankle weights, they should contact a doctor or trainer.

As in all weight training, it is better, to begin with, low weight and works steadily to the target weight to prevent injuries.

While carrying ankle weights, athletes must be careful to maintain their normal pace of work.

A study has shown that many athletes prefer to slow down their pace by wearing ankle weights to compensate for the increased energy they burn.


Benefits of running with ankle weights

If the ankle weights used the right way, they’re good for you.

If you know how to use them, what workouts are secure, when to avoid exercising with them, then you’re completely safe.

However, if ankle weights are used the wrong way, they’re going to be horrible for you.

Make sure you don’t have any ankle or knee injury.

As a consequence, this could make the situation worse.

If you are not sure, consult the doctor.

In addition, if you are unaware of what workouts to do and how to use ankle weights, contact a personal trainer for the right expertise.

The benefit of ankle weights is that it’s a convenient way to add load to workouts where you lift your leg.

Because the ankle weights are securely attached to your ankles, it prevents the clumsiness of trying to hold a dumbbell or other normal workout equipment for your lower limbs.

They can also be used to make aerobic workouts more difficult due to the extra weight.

With proper use, ankle weights will do a lot to improve the workouts.

Here are the other benefits of the ankle weights:

1. Tones Your Legs

If you lift your leg without any resistance, you already have a lot to shape your legs, so visualize what your legs would look like when you incorporate weights.

In fact, it is advised that you add weight resistance when it comes to tone your legs, as it proves to be much more successful than merely doing more squats.

Of course, for every workout routine, variety is recommended and required.


2. Burn More Number of Calories

Ankle weights will help you burn a couple of calories, too.

This is because applying more stress response in more energy consumption, which causes the body to burn more calories.

Ankle weights are a good way to add incremental overload.


3. Extra Resistance to Abdominal Workouts

Believe it or not, ankle weights will help you move your abdominal exercises to the next level.

Especially since abs are a difficult area to exercise and can be best targeted by compound movements.

Ensure that the pelvic tilt is maintained all the way around.

A nice workout to do with ankle weights and one of our favorites is a raise leg.


Running with hand weights

Running with hand weights
Running with hand weights can interrupt stride length, so this may not be the best option for you as a runner.

If you run with 1-3 pound weights, you will raise your heart rate by 5 to 10 beats per minute as compared to your run without weights.

In comparison, you will also burn 5 to 15% more calories.

Experts mention that hand weights are effective because they stimulate greater muscle movement in the arm.

Another option that can be safer for some runners, is to wave the arms more, which will also improve their running speed.

Although you will be able to strengthen your upper body muscles, be aware that carrying weights will not allow you to fold or rotate your shoulders this is something that runners are still struggling with.

Running with hand weights might enhance the running form issues if you already have them. Additionally, hand weights can interrupt stride length, so this may not be the best option for you as a runner.


Running with weights in a backpack

Running with weights in backpack
Running with weights in a backpack

Now, we will talk about running with a backpack with extra weight.

As compared to other approaches, if the weight is too heavy, this will put extra pressure on the joints, such as your knees and ankles.

As a result, this impacts your running form and your gait. And yes, you’ve guessed right !!! this also raises the chance of injuries.

If you chose this method, please ensure that you do not carry too much weight.

Benefits of running with weights include increased workout intensity, increased heart rate, and the ability to burn more calories in a short time.

This method of weight training can make sense for people with functional objectives, such as backpackers or military people.

But weights in the backpack are not as secure as other methods because of the possibility for flipping and bouncing of weights.


Running with wrist weights

Running with wrist weights
Running with wrist weights is beneficial in boosting your workout intensity, increasing the heart rate, and burning more calories

Wrist weights, if lightweight enough, will be beneficial in boosting your workout intensity, increasing the heart rate, and burning more calories.  

For eg, if you’re trying to become better at running longer distances, then running with wrist weights is probably not for you.

However, if you are trying to burn more calories in a short period, then you should go for running with the wrist weight method.

Well-fitting wrist weights of 1 to 3 pounds can be a good way to improve workout strength and calorie-burning ability.

Dumbbells are somewhat similar to wrist weights, but they have more scope for injuries when used.

If used inappropriately, this can result in a change in your running form or gait, muscle imbalances, extra pressure on the body, and an increased risk of injury.


Running vest with weights

The weighted vest is a recent addition to the weights scene.

They act on the same principle as ankle weights, but with the extra pressure focused on a person’s core rather than on their ankles.

You should use weighted vests with complete precautions. However, they are a better alternative to ankle weights.

Running with a weighted vest is considered to be the safest and most powerful method.

For example, a 2012 study revealed that wearing a weighted vest during aerobic training sessions improves both stamina and speed. However, strength and power will not be affected that much.

When buying a vest, make sure it weights not more than five to ten percent of your body weight.

This decreases the chance of injuries thus allowing you to enjoy benefits of both stamina and speed.

You will experience the greatest fitness benefits when you wear your vest.

It’s also a perfect way to increase bone density and reduce the chance of fractures. Also, the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport has discovered that warming up with a weighted vest will improve your performance during your actual exercise.

Make sure you have the right size vest, though.

Experts say that you should wear a weight vest that is between 5% and 10% of your body weight.

This means that if you weigh 150 pounds, your vest should be between 7.5 and 15 pounds.

Benefits of Running With Weighted vest

Now, let’s discuss some of the major benefits of running with a weighted vest:

  • Help increase bone density, especially in postmenopausal women
  • Increased cardiovascular performance (most helpful for those doing Spartan where they often need to carry heavy weights)
  • Improve balance if correctly worn (again most helpful if you need to move quickly with weight)
  • Distributes weights more equally as compared to hand or ankle weights.

Safety Consideration While Running With Weighted vest

Let’s have a look at some of the safety considerations while running with a weighted vest.

  • The weight vest does not exceed 10% of your body weight.
  • Those with back and neck issues should limit the use of weighted vests because it can impose pressure on the spine and cause disc degeneration.
  • Ensure the distribution of weights across your body is even. Unequal weights can cause injuries by supporting or overcompensating on one side or by knocking off balance and causing a fall.
  • Make sure the vest fits well and comfortably. Shifting can throw away weight and create imbalances.
  • Start with 1-2 lbs and progressively increase the amount of weight over a couple of weeks.
  • If you experience pain in your joints or any nagging pain at some time, stop using your vest and visit your doctor.


Running with weights benefits

Running with weights benefits

Running with weights is a smart way to get extra fitness benefits.

As you are changing your daily fitness routine by increasing your workload, and your muscles will have to work harder.

It will result in maximizing the number of calories burned during a specific workout.

Now let’s have an in-depth discussion on the benefits that you can get by running with weights.

1.  A Healthy Heart Rate

Checking your heart rate is one way to calculate your workout intensity.

Running with a wrist or ankle weight of between one and three pounds per side can increase your heart rate by 5 to 10 beats per minute, according to ACE.

A higher heart rate can be a positive thing or a bad thing for you to exercise, depending on your goals.

If you’re just starting out, you’re not going to have a hard time hitting a high enough heart rate.

But if you’re an experienced runner, you might want extra weight to improve your workout intensity.

You can measure the optimal heart rate zones for your targets using a number of online calculators, but field testing of the maximum and resting heart rate is the most reliable.


2.  Calorie Burn

Running with extra weight means that your body has to consume more energy than usual to run the same distance at the same pace.

That means you’re going to burn more calories.

Moving your body weight over a certain distance at a certain pace requires a certain amount of energy. When you add weight to that amount, the energy you need will increase.

According to ACE, doing physical exercise by carrying one-to three-pound arm or hand weights will help you burn about 5 to 15% more calories.


3.  Building Your Strength

Running with weights will help you gain more strength than running on a daily basis, but not all of them.

Different types of training can benefit different varieties of muscle fibers.

Steady-state endurance training, such as moderate-intensity running with low or no added weights, can help to strengthen slow-twitch muscle fibers.

These are the most significant kind of sustained running.

Running with weights is not necessarily a healthy way to strengthen the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are the kinds of muscles associated with explosive or higher-intensity resistance.


What Researches Say?

  • One research conducted among young men who used weighted vests of 5 to 10% of their body weight during daily activities. Researchers have found that wearing a weighted vest during aerobic training sessions will increase speed and agility. Strength and power, however, were not significantly affected.
  • Another study, observed improvement in postmenopausal women’s isokinetic strength after 12 weeks of using weighted vests.
  • In the 2012 study on adults with overweight and obesity, aerobic exercise was less helpful in enhancing lean muscle than some aerobic training paired with some targeted resistance training.

More study is required to determine exactly how much physical strength and muscle mass is expected to improve with weights.

There are currently no comprehensive human trials that measure significant differences in strength and mass before and after starting to run with weights.


Final Verdict

Anything that changes your training would make you a better runner, so running with weights every so often might be a perfect choice.

Your legs will have to work harder, making you run more quickly, making it easier to run longer.

Running with weights is not the most efficient way to build muscles.

It’s a good idea to maintain your overall health and fitness and do a combination of aerobic and resistance weight training.

It is important to consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness program.

A fitness or wellness specialist, such as a personal trainer, will also make sure that you exercise consistently and efficiently towards your goals.

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