If running is a staple in your daily exercise regimen and you think it’s becoming monotonous to the point of it being a regular chore, why not add a new dimension to it by incorporating weights? There are a variety of weights suitable for running. While some choose to run with hand weights, it’s generally discouraged as it can adversely affect your stride length. Seasoned runners often prefer ankle weights, wrist weights or weight vests.
Aside from the usual benefits of running exercise, you can receive much more benefits when you run with weights. But be warned, there are also disadvantages and risks of injury when you do this, so you have to take necessary precautions and weigh your option before you decide if you will run with them or not.
Benefits of Running with Weights
Wearing weights while running can improve some of the aspects of your fitness. Running is one of the usual cardio exercises you can perform with your routine or training. Add weights while running. It becomes endurance and strength training upping the challenge for you and adding fitness advantage.
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Improves Cardiovascular Performance
The heavy you work, the higher the demand for your body to perform until it gets used to it. Apart from increasing speed when you run, you can heighten the challenge to your body with a weighted vest or ankle weights to improve your cardiovascular performance. This promotes your ability to run with longer endurance, which is useful when training for Spartan races, military drills, and any endurance races you’re joining.
Burns More Calorie
The concept here is the more effort you exert as you run, the more calories you will burn. When you add resistance as you exercise, you will lose more weight. You can try high-intensity interval training if you are committed to losing some pounds. Interval training will help you burn more calories than a regular gym session or standard run.
Helps in Strength Training
Working with weights, in general, helps you build strength and sometimes build muscle mass when used in other workout routines. In the case of running with weights, it mostly affects the strengthening rather than building mass.
Types of Weights You Can Use for Running
Not all weighted exercise equipment is suitable to be partnered for running. Well, you can try, but it may cause injury to you. Here are some effective weights you can use while running:
Wearing a weighted vest during your run focuses on your core. According to some studies, it is convenient to use because it’s hands-free, you can wear it on your body, and it is the safest weight to run with. Ideally, you should start wearing a vest weighing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. The time duration of wearing the vest also varies on how much you want to achieve.
Runners wear this while training with treadmills. It is easier that way with consistent speed and less air resistance to focus on their breathing. Because the weighted vest is located on the chest area, there is chest pressure to be felt while wearing and running with the weighted vest. Although weighted vests are safe, you still have to use them with precaution and not overwork your body.
Naturally, when it comes to running, there are two major areas of your fitness that are affected by this exercise, first is cardiovascular. Second are your legs. When running, the initial weight you’ll have in mind is the ankle weights. Since you will be using your legs to run, you look for a resistance directly working them. As close as the relationship you think of ankle weights to your feet, this equipment is not as beneficial and not really necessary the best choice to run with.
One to three pounds of ankle weight strapped on your ankle won’t seem too much. But, there are still risks of injury as they might alter the running mechanics. Since it puts all the weight on your ankle, there are chances that you could lose your balance, stride, and form. It’s always best to seek a doctor’s advice before using ankle weights.
Strapped in wrist weights while running can help ramp up the heart rate, increase workout intensity, and burn more calories. Find yourself a pair of wrist weights that you can carry enough through your workout. However, wearing these will vary to your workout goals. If you’re running to burn some calories, then these weights can do the job. But, if you’re looking to run long distances, this equipment is not for you.
Running with dumbbells is a bit challenging in the aspect of carrying. It also has a high risk of injury, muscular imbalance, fatigue, and stress.
Weights in Backpack
Another weight with a high risk of injury is running with weights on a backpack. It can put stress on your ankles and knees that will affect your running form and gait. But if you’re hardcore and the kind of person with functional goals to train running with a weighted backpack, make sure you do it as safely as possible and take a piece of advice from experts and doctors.
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Yes, injuries happen, but that doesn’t mean you can just let it because it’s part of the fitness life. When running with weights, you should always consider safety first to prevent avoidable injuries. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re running with weights:
- As much as possible, use weights that are safe for your joints.
- A weighted vest is the safest among the weights for running but does not exceed carrying more than 10 percent of your body weight.
- Make sure that the weights are evenly distributed to avoid losing balance.
- Do not rush into adding more weights. Start with the doable amount of weight, then gradually increase over a few weeks.
- Do not over-exert your body. When feeling uneasiness or pain, stop the routine and consult with your doctor.
Not all weights are effective to use to collaborate with your running exercise. It has a high risk of causing injury so take necessary precautions. The weighted vest is the best option to build your strength, enhance your cardio workouts, and improve endurance.