Is Wearing Wrist Weights While Doing Your Hair Really a Good Workout?

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Anytime I actually put in an effort to “do” my hair, I always feel super accomplished. Not only because I look far more put together than when I just let my hair air dry, but also because after all that time I spend blow drying and curling it, my shoulders are seriously burning. It makes me feel like I got in a little upper body workout without even trying.

I’m clearly not alone in this. TikTokkers are turning up that arm and shoulder burn even higher by adding wrist weights to their daily hair routines. It might look a little silly, but also kinda hard, honestly. I couldn’t help but wonder, if you don’t have time to hit the gym, could curling your hair with weights strapped to your arms actually be an effective workout?

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Kelly Bernadyn, CPT, is a Michigan-based group fitness instructor at Life Time clubs.

Can Wrist Weights Make Doing Your Hair an Effective Workout?

“It does make sense,” says Kelly Bernadyn, CPT, a Michigan-based group fitness instructor at Life Time clubs. “You do have your wrists above your head for a majority of the time while you’re curling your hair.”

Although scientists haven’t tested this exact strategy, in 2016 researchers from the Universiti Sains Malaysia had 89 people wear wrist and ankle weights for 20 minutes three times a week during daily activities like chores and gardening. The findings: it actually increased their skeletal muscle mass.

If you’re curling your hair with wrist weights strapped on, Bernadyn says you’ll feel it in both your biceps and your shoulders. “That burn feel is telling you that that muscle is engaged, and it’s definitely being put under stress, which is what we do when we lift weights,” she says.

However, feeling a burn doesn’t necessarily mean you’re really building serious upper body strength. Since you’re only putting the muscles under a light load for relatively a short period of time, the results will be pretty minimal compared to doing a targeted arm and shoulder workout. “You would have to curl your hair every day for like a year to truly say, ‘I gained strength from curling my hair,'” Bernadyn says.

Hairdressers’ arms are one of the strongest parts of their bodies, thanks to all the time they spend constantly pulling hair through blow dryers and curling irons several days a week — even without wrist weights attached, Bernadyn points out. But people in a different career would have to spend hour after hour drying and curling their own hair to replicate those results — and would likely fry their strands in the process.

Still, Bernadyn gets why this strategy would be trendy. We’ve all got busy lives, and sometimes you just need to get both of those birds with one stone, y’know? It can’t hurt to add a little extra arm challenge to your morning routine.

A word of warning, though. “Having that heating tool in your hand with an added load that you’re not really used to — I would just be very careful to not accidentally burn your face,” Bernadyn cautions. That’s not the kind of “burn” anyone needs to be getting out of their workout.

For anyone trying a weighted curling sesh: Move slowly, and if you feel your arms getting a little shaky at any point, take off those weights. Truly, it’s okay (and healthy!) to not work out every day. Save the strength training for a time when you can actually concentrate on your reps and form — preferably, a time when you don’t have a hot piece of metal right next to your face.

Jennifer Heimlich is a writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in fitness and wellness journalism. She previously worked as the senior fitness editor for Well+Good and the editor in chief of Dance Magazine. A UESCA-certified running coach, she’s written about running and fitness for publications like Shape, GQ, Runner’s World, and The Atlantic.

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