The use of wrist weights when training!
I have always considered myself an athlete. Since young, whenever there is a sporting event I volunteer to compete. I played every sport and quite well at that.
My main sports was badminton which required a lot of wrist work. My coach used to start training sessions by doing a 5km run then multi level drills and skill sessions. This would go on for 3 hours and then in the final hour we would play off against each other to improve our on court performance. Those were the days when I was unbelievably fit but I didn’t have the presence of mind to breakdown my movements and improve them incrementally. My results were generally born out of sheer will power and brute force, something that the body can only take so much of.
Badminton is a multi joint full body work out. Particular attention is paid to the wrist, knee and ankle joints as they are key in such a fast paced, abrupt directionally changing sport. I used to do strength training with wrist weights. First it was 500gm of weight on each wrist gradually increasing to 1kg. My wrists did get stronger but what I didn’t notice was that I was sacrificing speed, agility and graceful movement for the sake of power.
Hindsight is powerful and I wanted to share my own experiences with you so that you can save yourself a lot of pain and agony…not to mention rehab. The advice I am about to give you comes from a fundamentally sound model of the body. So it can easily be applied to any sport or athletic endeavour.
Physical training at its very core requires no tools and is best done outdoors. However, with urbanization and us living in boxes with little access to a good park, this is becoming more and more difficult. Weather changes which are increasingly unpredictable is also causing a lot of people to look for alternatives such as indoor exercises and body weight exercises.
There are tonnes of reviews on the internet about different training equipment. They often focus on the design details of the equipment, informing you about which muscle groups to build or what fat loss you can expect to achieve.
What to look when purchasing wrist weights?
The way I look at weights, sports, training, exercise or any sort of equipment whether it be free weights, adjustable ankle weights is not about the equipment itself but looking at how the equipment can help you and I towards the end goal and that is psychomotor skill development and functional health.
I bet this concept is new to many of you and there is a reason for this, most of the fitness industry is biased towards an end goal, having those big gun biceps, the washboard abs, the slim hour glass figure and so on.
Rarely do you see an integrated system that looks at exercise as a tool to create functional outcomes. I would like to introduce the concept of psychomotor development. As a doctor, I see many patients throughout my day and I notice something striking. The young ones who come into my surgery move 300-400% more than the parents who brought them in.
When I do my rounds in the paediatric ward, the children are rarely in bed. They might be sick as a dog but they are crawling up the walls, running down the corridors and moving their bodies. The adult ward on the other hand just lie in bed the whole day and as a result of their disuse of muscles, they become weak and start to suffer from a whole host of muscle aches and pains.
The contrast is stark.
Movement is the foundation of health. Stagnation causes infection, stasis is the basis for a good infection, this was a mantra I was taught in medical school yet trying to get people to move is difficult at the best of time.
So what is the basis of my ‘revolutionary’ interpretation of exercise and fitness equipment?
The answer is simple, start with the end in mind. Have the largest goal as your main focus point and multiple sub goals that support the ultimate one. It’s like having a stool (your main goal) with 4 legs (supporting sub goals). The end game should always be health, fitness, physique and function will follow, if that is your overarching philosophy.
We start by looking at movement as a way of moving blood and shifting tension from one part of the body to another. Think of your body as a rubber band, stretching one side invariably has impact on a different side. Movement is exactly the same, moving one part of the body impacts other parts just as much.
Once we understand movement then we progress towards links. Links are simply the linking of 2 or more movements. Go one step further and you have movement chains which is the coupling of 2 or more links.
So when exercising, health is the first priority, next is breaking down the skill you want to learn into its component movements, then link those movements together until they form a chain. Once you are proficient in a chain then you can freestyle, moving from chain to chain, in essence having a functional body which as a by product will help you lose weight, build muscle, burn fat and give you the physique you’ve always been looking for.
And the best part of it is that every skilled movement you develop opens up a wider range of other skills you can develop on top of it. This is a process of sophistication.
I digress, back to the strength training equipment. I was talking about training with wrist weights during my badminton career and how that caused a loss of grace. Sure the weights were adjustable but what I didn’t realize is that I went too hard too fast. Even though I didn’t get injured, I was un-developing fine skills and replacing them with broad arm movements which later would also cause upper torso imbalance and put strain on my knee and ankles.
As a fanatic and highly competitive perfectionist my goal was to be the best at all cost. Started off with simple wrist weights and then I decided to use ankle weights. Each ankle weight was 2kg…I was going all out. I even bought hand weights on top of the wrist weights…again a fatal mistake.
The story doesn’t end in disaster but had I realized my error in training and philosophy earlier, I could have become a much better badminton player. The incorrect use of fitness equipment can seriously hamper the progress that you are looking to make.
Before embarking on a spending spree and purchasing the latest and greatest equipments, consider your end goal very carefully. Are you doing this for health or are you doing this for a secondary vanity driven reason. If health is not your focus, you are likely to embark down a slippery slope of self destruction which will end in suffering in the later years of your life.
We cannot escape the damage that we inflict upon our bodies, it is merely stored up and released when there is no longer any reserves left. Use wrist weights that you can carry and do not overexert yourself.