With the release of the hit VR rhythm game, Beat Saber, I’ve seen lots of talk about adding wrist and ankle weights to increase the workout, or to “take it to the next level”. Wrist and ankle weights for VR is a really bad idea. It’s will provide marginal benefits while greatly increasing your chances of injury. Weight should to be lifted with correct and specific form, you don’t want added weight when performing random wild motions that most VR games requires. It will wreck your joints and back. Runners and tennis players frown upon ankle and wrist weights for similar reasons.
Increasing resistance will be met with a decrease in motion, so you’re not going to get much out of it for the risk you’re taking. VR is great and I love that it helps people be more active. It’s great for light cardio, which has very tangible health benefits. Just don’t expect to get in shape from playing VR games, enjoy it for what it is. Nothing replaces actual hard resistance training.
I want to make it clear that I’m not saying ankle/wrist weights are inherently bad. They are good for certain kinds of workouts, VR just isn’t one of them.
Here are bunch of sources for further reading:
- The Risks of Wearing Ankle Weights During Your Run
- Could ankle weights help me get more out of my usual walking routine?
- Walking with ankle weights? Stop!
- Ankle, Wrist Weights May Pump Up the Pain
- Wikipedia entry about weighted clothing
- Huge collection of articles on the effect of obesity on joints. Similar mechanics that lead to injuries
- Are Ankle Weights Bad for Your Knees?
- Testimony on increased risk of immediate injury (Reddit)
- Testimony in increased risk of injury over long periods of time (Reddit)
Bonus: If you like Beat Saber you should check out Sound Boxing.