‘I tried the Internet’s most popular wearable weights, and I’m converted’
They’re the biggest Instagram trend of the moment, but are they worth the hype or just another bouje fitness accessory? Juna Xu puts them to the test.
There are very few things I have the patience for in life: perfectly cooked cauliflower, al dente pasta and… Bala Bangles.
I’ll explain the first two at a later date, but I am proud to say I sat semi-patiently for three and a half months for my Bala Bangles to arrive at my door after placing my order.
If you’re a little confused with everything that you’ve just read in the past 10 seconds, lemme explain.
Firstly, I must preface that I’d like to think there are very (like, VERY) few Instagram trends I fall victim to. But when Australia went into coronavirus lockdown, my Pilates studio closed down and I was left to fend for my lonely-self at home, I – along with the rest of the world – decided to frantically Google all the at-home gym equipment to buy in an effort to save myself from the damage I’d be doing over the next few months from eating too banana bread.
So in return, my Instagram algorithm decided to feed me ALL the home gym equipment content.
Pretty soon I noticed the same chic bracelet-weight-looking-thingamajig kept popping up on my feed. Enter: Bala Bangles.
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What are Bala Bangles?
They’re these stylish one or two-pound weights that can be strapped to your wrists or ankles, and get this – they fit ALL sizes. Never have I ever been able to comfortably strap weights to my bony ankles or wrist.
They also come in a variety of aesthetically pleasing colours such as blush pink, matcha green, jet black, neon melon, white and even a special edition Pride mix.
Bala have also recently released Bala Bars – chic weights that fit perfectly in the palms of your hands.
Back to the bangles – these retail for USD$50 or $65, depending on the weight, which definitely places them on the exxy side of the spectrum.
But price aside, I wanted a set. I needed a set. Scratch that – they were an essential need for my at-home workouts.
Unfortunately I soon discovered Bala doesn’t directly ship to Australia, and even after hours of some heavy Instagram stalking, I couldn’t pin down a stockist in Australia who had them in stock. Bummer.
However, I soon came across Free People – a US based company that ships to Australia – who were taking pre-orders for the weights.
I quickly put my order through for a blush pink one-pound (0.5kg) set and three looooong months later they arrived on my doorstep.
Bala Bangles: Comfort
I excitedly opened the parcel and strapped the weights to my ankles. They fit better than a glove. I did some jumping jacks. They stayed in place. I even did a few burpees. They didn’t budge.
Then I took them through their first workout. Through every mountain climber, squat jump and bicycle crunch, they just… stuck.
And look, call me crazy but I’ve been strapping them to my wrists when I go for my daily runs and they even stay in place through that.
I also wear a lot of jewellery and an Apple Watch, and have found they don’t get in the way.
Bala Bangles: Weight
I didn’t expect a single pound per arm/ankle to make a difference, but the added weight really does make my muscles work so much harder – especially when you decide to do a full 45-minute boxing session with them strapped to your wrists (yeah, probably not my smartest move).
They’re also great for ab work when you’re doing jack-knives and crunches as they add that little bit of “umpf”. The same goes for barre and Pilates workouts.
People have said they don’t recommend wearing them while running because it weighs them down and takes the spring out of their stride but TBH, I feel as though it almost helps me run faster (?).
I do have to admit that after a few weeks of using them every day, my body has most-definitely adapted to the weight and they’re probably not having any major impact. I’m guessing (fingers crossed) this is a sign that my arms and legs have become stronger because of them.
Bala Bangles: Easy to clean
I’m lucky I don’t sweat when exercising so was never nervous about them sliding off at any point. They do stay relatively clean, however, been the clean freak I am, I do wipe them down every night with an antibacterial wipe.
Are Bala Bangles worth it?
They definitely tick the aesthetics box and I have found myself wearing them 24/7 – at home, outdoors, to the shops. Literally. Everywhere.
Although I find they’re comfortable enough to wear through every type of workout, I understand that will differ for everyone. Plus, it’s important you factor in risk of injury and only use them when you feel confident enough to add in extra weight.
The biggest downfall I would say is that they may become more of an accessory overtime as your body adapts to the weight. I do wish I had purchased a two-pound set as well, but maybe I’ll keep that for my next purchase/pay slip. That, or I’ll be investing in the new Bala Bars.
While the price might make you think twice, think of it this way: three months into using them and I’d say cost per wear comes down to approximately 10 cents, so basically they’ll become an investment after a few more weeks.
And again, they’re a ‘need’, not ‘want’. You’re welcome.
This review is the unbiased opinion of the author and free from commercial influence.