Shopping for hand and ankle weights

You have many options when shopping for hand and ankle weights. Following are some alternatives and suggestions we provide for your shopping spree.

Hand weights

Sometimes hand weights are sold in sets, and you may be able to find a 1-, 3-, and 5-pound combination. Hand weights are often priced by the pound, with 1 pound costing about $1.50. A 3-pound hand weight, for example, should cost about $4.50.

Recently, a new kind of glove-style hand weight has appeared on store shelves. You can slip your hand into these weights, which gives you an advantage because you don't have to grasp the weight as you lift it, and you can stretch out the fingers of your hand as you move through each exercise. Glove-style weights give you the opportunity to stretch and lift at the same time, and you may even get more of a stretch without the hindrance of carrying or gripping the weights and balancing at the same time. (Look in the appendix for advice for finding glove-style weights on the Internet.)

You have other options if you want to stick to hand-held weights. Weightlifters are accustomed to wearing special fingerless grip gloves that secure the weights in their hands and prevent calluses. If you like grip gloves, by all means use them in yoga-with-weights exercises; just be sure to air out the gloves when you're finished using them.

Never drop a hand weight. When you're done with it, place it carefully on the floor where no one can step on it. And keep weights away from children. You can buy special weight racks for storing weights on the cheap.

Ankle weights

We recommend keeping 1-, 3- and 5-pound ankle weights on hand as you perform the exercises in this book. At most, wear 5-pound ankle weights when you do an exercise. The weights should range in price from $15 to $25 a pair.

Changing ankle weights is considerably more trouble than changing hand weights, so you may want to find ankle weights that strap on and off with ease. Ankle weights with Velcro closures are the easiest to get on and off. You can also try to find ankle weights that come with little pockets for inserting metal slugs of different sizes (see the appendix for information about buying these ankle weights). These pocket-pouch ankle weights make it easy to change weight sizes because you don't have to unstrap the weights and put on a different pair.

Dumbbell timeline

People have been lifting weights, or dumbbells, for several centuries. The first dumbbells weren't made for exercise, but for ringing cathedral bells. These bells were quite large and heavy, and some required several men to operate. To develop their skills, bell-ringers practiced with a dumbbell, a weight as heavy as a cathedral bell suspended from a rope. Because this false bell made no sound, it was called a "dumbbell."

Later, the word dumbbell was applied to weights that people used for exercise. The first recorded use of the word dumbbell in weightlift-ing occurred in 1711, when the Englishman

Joseph Addison wrote in The Spectator: "For my own part, when I am in Town, I exercise myself an Hour every Morning upon a dumb Bell that is placed in a Corner of my Room, and pleases me the more because it does every thing I require of it in the most profound Silence. My Landlady and her Daughters are so well acquainted with my Hours of Exercise, that they never come into my Room to disturb me whilst I am ringing." Addison was making a pun. His exercise apparatus was called a dumbbell, and when he used it for exercise, his landlady and her daughter (the belles with whom he lived) were silent (they were dumb).

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