Yes, They’re Chic Workout Accessories — But, Seriously, How Do You Use Bala Bangles?
More than just an Instagram phenomenon.
They’re all over TikTok, Instagram, and perhaps your friends’ wrists and ankles: Bala Bangles. They’re exactly what they sound like, bangles that resemble a chic chunky bracelet, so they don’t even look like a workout accessory. But they are, in fact, just that ... and quite useful once you put them to work. If you’re wondering how to use Bala Bangles — which celebs from Reese Witherspoon to Maria Sharapova have gotten into, too — it’s actually quite easy. You can simply wear them around the house as you go about your day or incorporate them into your existing workout routine, whether that includes cardio, dance, yoga, or your daily walk or run. And you can choose from one- or two-pound versions. There’s literally something for everybody here.
Married couple Natalie Holloway and Max Kislevitz came up with the idea for the versatile accessories back in 2018 and shipped every pair out themselves from their Los Angeles garage for two years. “We were inspired to create Bala Bangles initially because we wanted a way to really control the intensity of the workout,” Holloway tells TZR in an email. “It dawned on us that added resistance can do this and we knew wrist and ankle weights existed, but for some reason they were not as popular as they were in the ‘80s.” She says they knew they had to redesign them for the modern world. “So we sketched out the idea on a napkin right then and there,” she says. “We realized immediately there was a huge gap in the market and we went to work!”
After an appearance on Shark Tank in February 2020, the rest is, as they say, history. Seemingly overnight, the bangles became social media gold, embraced and photographed by celebrities and influencers alike. “I am surprised daily at the popularity — I truly still cannot believe it,” says Holloway. “Early days, we would say, ‘If only we could sell 10 pairs of Bala Bangles a day!’ Flash forward three years and we are approaching our millionth pair.”
Perhaps the key to the Bala Bangles’ success lies in their ease of use as well as their ability to double as a chic accessory. Flo Elkins of F.L.O. Life Fitness, based in Los Angeles, says they are more convenient and less distracting than lightweight dumbbells that are often used during exercise. “Bala Bangles can be used to add extra resistance to many workouts, and for functional training for older adults,” she tells TZR in an email. “When adding them to strength training exercises, they can be beneficial because you don't actually have to hold the weights themselves. Plus, the lightweight nature of them can add an extra burn to slow-paced exercises, high-intensity exercises, and/or isometric exercises.”
Want some more tips on how to put these bangles to good use so their purpose serves beyond Instagram? Ahead some pro tips on how to incorporate Bala Bangles into your regular fitness routine.
Bala Bangles For Walking, Running, & Everything In Between
Everyday Exercise, From Walking To Yoga
Bala Bangles serve as an additive to most workouts, says Holloway. “I personally love them for my daily walks with my dogs,” she says. “Another idea is to add them to a yoga class — you don't have to wear them the whole class and can take them on and off, depending on your comfort level, but just adding that one pound will make a difference to your flow.” For added sweat to your daily run or hiking session, wear the bangles around your ankles to create some friction.
Karisa Karmali, personal trainer and nutrition coach at Self-Love and Fitness, says Bala Bangles are fantastic for all fitness levels, especially for adding challenge to bodyweight-based movements, such as arm circles. “I would ensure that the amount of weights selected (whether it is one or two pounds) is heavy enough for challenging yourself,” she tells TZR in an email. But she warns that adding even subtle weights on top of any workout can add up quickly, so you may want to start with the one-pound set first.
Once you add the Bala Bangles to your wrists, she says to stand straight up with your arms extended out to each side, parallel to the ground. Then move both arms in circles of five to 10 inches. In terms of reps, it depends on the person and fitness level, but starting with 15 reps is a good challenge, she explains.
Front Shoulder Raises
When you have Bala Bangles on your wrists, Elkins suggests incorporating them into front shoulder raises. “Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides,” she says. “Then raise your straight arms up to shoulder height in front of you with your palms facing the floor. Repeat 10 to 15 times.”
Lateral Shoulder Raises
For another shoulder workout, you can try lateral shoulder raises with the bangles on your wrists, Elkins says. “Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms out from the sides of your body to the height of your shoulders, your palms facing the floor,” she explains. “Repeat 10 to 15 times.”
Overhead Arm Presses
For overhead arm presses, once you have the Bala Bangles on your wrists, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle with your palms facing forward and hands toward the ceiling, Elkins explains. “Lift your arms straight up overhead and then return them to the starting position,” she says. “Repeat 10 times.”
Fire Hydrant Lifts
A fairly simple way to incorporate Bala Bangles into a leg workout is through fire hydrant lifts, says Elkins. With the bangles on your ankles, “start [in a tabletop position] on your hands and knees with a neutral head,” she explains. “Then lift one bent leg out to the side. Repeat 10 to 15 times.”
For another ankle workout, Karmali says adding Bala Bangles to V-ups is a good go-to exercise. You do so by lying on your back and extending your arms behind your head. (Make sure to keep your feet together and toes pointed.) Keeping your legs straight, lift them up while raising your upper body off the floor, creating a V-shape with your body. (Keep your core tight while reaching your toes with your hands.) Then slowly lower your upper body and legs back down to the starting point. “V-ups should be slow and steady, so two sets of six with correct form is a good place to start,” she says. “And if a full V-up does not work for you, it is possible to lift your legs lower and do a half V-up.”
When using the bangles on the ankles, glute kickbacks are another optimal exercise to do, says Elkins. “Start [in a tabletop position] on your hands and knees with a neutral head,” she says. “Then kick your leg straight back, parallel to the floor, and focus on squeezing your glutes with each rep. (You can also bend your leg toward the ceiling at a 90-degree angle and pulse the leg continuously up toward the ceiling.) Repeat 15 times [before switching to the other leg].”
Single Leg Deadlifts
For single leg deadlifts, with the bangles on your ankles, start with your feet a little less than shoulder-width apart, says Elkins. “Bend forward at the waist and lift one leg behind you,” she adds. “Then reach down with the same arm toward the floor like a pendulum. Make sure your back remains flat and parallel to the floor, then return to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times.”
Ready to put these moves to action? Shop the Bala Bangles below, as well as the brand’s other IG-famous fitness products.
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