Bala Bangles
CNN  — 

Would-be at-home fitness buffs were hard-pressed to get their hands on a set of weights at the start of lockdown back in March. Of course, this problem was decidedly not the biggest one that we, as a society, were grappling with at the time, but nonetheless, the chaotic scramble to secure some dumbbells, kettlebells or hand weights was on — and had many turning to household items like containers of laundry detergent, canned goods and bottles of wine when their hunt for gym equipment came up short.

It was sometime over the spring or summer that Bala Bangles subsequently rose to social media prominence. Could their domination of our Instagram feeds be attributed to our collective nostalgia for a simpler time when weights were readily available, or just a response to the fact that these weights are sleek, unobtrusive and downright pretty? The answer is unclear, but I, for one, was hooked as soon as I saw them, despite being one of the lucky few to actually snag a pair of 2-pound weights before stock ran out.

Bala Bangles

Now, just a few months since they made their colorful splash onto the scene, Bala Bangles are somehow easier to secure than regular weights; they’re sold at major retailers like Amazon, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nordstrom and others, along with Bala’s own site. In light of this ultra-fast proliferation, I was pumped to try out these weighted bracelets for myself: As it turns out, they’re worth all the hype they’ve received of late.

The rundown

Bala Bangles

Though Bala Bangles seem to have been everywhere for only a few months, it turns out the brand was actually founded back in 2018 on the concept of weighted, wearable bands. For the first two years of the company’s existence, its co-founders, married couple Natalie Holloway and Max Kislevitz, packaged and shipped all orders by hand. Now, however, Bala boasts Bangles in three different weights (.5 pound, 1 pound and 2 pounds) and more than a dozen colors (including rainbow and glittery variants), not to mention their other fitness-friendly offerings: Bala Bars, The Power Ring, Bala Bands, Sliders and a cleaning spray — all of which are available as a bundle via the $195 All In Kit.

But back to the Bangles. The weights are made from recycled stainless steel wrapped in soft silicone, while the elastic band they’re affixed to boasts an ultra-strong Velcro to allow for a customized fit. They’re also versatile in the sense that you can wear them on your wrists or ankles to add a boost to your training session, but they’re not just for workouts. Wear them while running errands or taking care of household tasks; they’re cute enough that you’ll actually want to show them off.

The lowdown

Bala Bangles

That versatility is what impressed me most about Bala Bangles when I received my own blush-colored pair from the brand to try out. Unlike regular hand weights, Bala Bangles allow you to add hands-free resistance to any workout. Everything from planks and push-ups to yoga poses are that much more challenging without the addition of any cumbersome equipment.

I also used my Bala Bangles in conjunction with my hand weights to up the combined weight of my HIIT workouts. Similarly, I strapped the Bala Bangles to my ankles while holding onto my hand weights for core-centric pilates sessions. Turns out, they’re a welcome addition to any at-home workout that might be starting to feel a bit tired after nearly a year of lockdown.

My one gripe with the Bala Bangles: If you’re a fitness tracker or Apple Watch wearer, it’s a bit awkward to wear the Bangles on your wrist too. This is where the adjustable nature of the bands comes in handy, of course. I ended up just wearing the Bala Bangles further up on my left forearm to allow space for my Apple Watch during workouts. The unevenness wasn’t ideal, though it certainly wasn’t a deal breaker.

The bottom line

Bala Bangles

If you’re looking to add an extra challenge to your quarantine fitness routine — or your day-to-day activities — a set of Bala Bangles is a worthwhile investment. And at $49-plus for the 1-pounders, they certainly are an investment. But even though the price tag is on the higher side, the bands will pay for themselves in all the use you’ll get out of this versatile piece of fitness equipment that can seamlessly be incorporated into any workout. Opt for a pop of color that sparks joy for you, and get ready to hit the home gym with renewed enthusiasm.