How To Properly Run With Weights

Holding the Weights in Your Hands

This is the best way to run with weights if you are an athlete, especially a sprinter, to benefit the upper body. Weights help strengthen the upper body by pumping the arms such as at the end of a race.

Running with hand weights may result in some positive and some negative outcomes.

  • Benefits arm muscles (biceps and forearms).
  • Strengthens the shoulders.
  • Boosts metabolism.
  • Do not use more than 3 lb weights as you may end up affecting your stride and style of running as well as increasing blood pressure and risk of injury.

Considerations when running with hand weights :

  • Warm up first without the weights in order to avoid muscle cramps.
  • As a beginner, use 1 lb then gradually increase to 3 lb as you become comfortable.
  • Do not hold the weight too tight in your hands but ensure you have a firm grip on them.
  • Do not swing your arms beyond your normal swing as you run.

Wearing the Weights on Your Ankles

This method is best for your heart. Your legs work harder and benefit the cardiovascular system.

However, ankle weights should not be used if you have any problems with joints. They should not be used frequently or during all workouts since frequent use may lead to injury.

You can increase your pace or improve running routine by wearing ankle weights when doing leg exercises.

Considerations when running with ankle weights :

  • Ensure that the weights are well fit and comfortable. They should not move in any direction.
  • Start with 1 lb and gradually increase your endurance level before increasing to 2 lb.
  • Wear socks to prevent irritation.
  • Overheating may occur due to increased effort.

Wearing Weight Vests

A weight vest has pockets that can be filled with sand bags, steel bars or other weighted objects. They are mostly used by the military for training but can also be used by other runners in training.

Weight vests are made of non-breathable material so overheating and constricted breathing could be an issue.  Avoid dehydration and take regular breaks to reduce any risks.

A simple weight vest is not expensive. The amount of extra weight depends on the individual, starting conservatively up to a maximum of 20 lbs for most people.

Running with weight vests is safe walking, hiking, cycling or house chores and:

  • Improves power
  • Increases core stability
  • Increases acceleration and power
  • Strengthens your legs.

Guest Post – Authors Bio

I am the “Fitness Crab“, a Toronto-based fitness coach. I’ve been helping my clients improve their health and set up their home gyms for over a decade. Running is part of the reason I got fit in the first place and I look for new ways to make it interesting. I teach people how to achieve perfect form with bodyweight exercise as well as machines like rowers and climbers.