Best Women’s Hand Weights 5lb & Under for Your Home Workout

Ladies, if you are strength training for the first time, congratulations, you will love it and the changes in your body shape. Hand weights, or a set of individual dumbbells is a great place to start. You’ll be able to do a wide range of exercises with minimal floor space if home workouts are your personal preference. No designated weight room is necessary for a challenging and very successful fitness journey.

Lifting weights after 40, and anytime in your life, will increase your metabolism to burn more calories, and you’ll be slimmer and more fit looking than ever before.

There are a lot of different kind of dumbbells but rest assured, we have found some of the best hand weights for you to start lifting weights right away.

Hand weights are typically lighter weights ranging from a set of dumbbells or free weights to weighted balls and gloves that allow you to add more resistance to your workouts and even home workouts.

These simple additions to your home gym equipment can do everything from adding a bit of extra calorie burn to your favorite workouts to helping rebuild muscle after an injury or maintain it with aging. 

What’s The Difference Between Dumbbells And Hand Weights?

set of gold and black single dumbbells

Dumbbells are a very specific type of hand weight and the most commonly used hand weight on the market. Other forms of hand weights include kettlebells, weighted gloves, and small, light weights that you can attach to your hand to add resistance when performing low impact cardio like power walking. 

Most dumbbells and other forms of weights that range from 1 to 5 pounds are commonly referred to as hand weights. These lower weight resistance tools are great for physical therapy or just adding a bit of resistance to your favorite workouts to help with muscle toning and increase calorie burn and weight loss.

How Heavy Should Hand Weights Be? 

When referring to low weight, hand weights for adding light resistance to your workouts how heavy they really depend on your personal strength level. Most women using light hand weights are performing repetitive motions for long periods of time.

If your weights are too heavy they will leave you sore and at risk of injury after a very long walk. When first starting out adding hand weights to your daily activity, you should start at a lower weight and work your way up. 

If using your set of hand weights for an injury recovery, you will want to talk to your physical therapist to decide on the amount of weight for you. When you feel you are ready to advance to additional weight consult your PT again before moving up to prevent injury. 

Benefits Of A Ladies Hand Weights Set 

Ladies’ hand weights are good option for adding resistance to your favorite workouts when you have noticed it is no longer a challenge or you are no longer getting the same results as you have been from your workouts. 

Smaller weights can help to tone muscles in women that are weaker and have not built up the strength to use a heavier pair of dumbbells yet. Once a smaller weight no longer challenges you and produces results you will need to move up to a higher weight to see your results continue. 

Any time you add more weight and resistance to your workouts, even simple ones like going for a walk, you raise your calorie burn with each and every movement. For women looking to lose weight, every calorie burned counts, making using hand weights well worth the time. 

Hand weights do not require a large investment upfront, making them a top choice for beginners. Weights add up in cost rather quickly due to their weight. Hand weights, or pairs of dumbbells, usually refer to weights between 1 and 5 pounds.

This makes them cost less than larger dumbbells, or even a set of adjustable dumbbells, for starting to increase weight to your workouts while building muscle.

They make a great starter option for home fitness equipment due to their versatility. When learning to use weights and learning new strength training moves you want to start with lighter sets of weights to have good form for each move to prevent injury.

Hand weights can be used to add resistance to your favorite workout videos, a simple walk, or to start exploring classing and effective weight training moves.  

Are there wearable weights for working around the house?

Hand weights can also allow you to add more resistance training and burn more calories doing your everyday activities. Wearing wrist weights, ankle weights or weighted gloves is a smart and easy way to give you a small boost to reaching your health and fitness goals.

When it comes to seeing change every small step helps tone your body and burn off extra calories. 

lady holding red neoprene dumbbell and wearing a black wrist hand weight

What Size Hand Weights Should A Woman Use? 

Every woman is different and the size hand weight you would use depends on your goals, current fitness level, and the activities you plan to do with your hand weights. For the average healthy woman with enough arm muscle to perform everyday tasks, you will want to start at the upper range of at least 5 pounds for most exercises to get the best results. 

For women that are weaker from lack of exercise, health conditions, or injury, starting out with a lighter set of weights and working your way up is the best option for building strength and feeling great again while burning off more calories. 

Using a Kettlebell for Workouts

If you decide to give a kettlebell a try for full-body toning and calorie burning you will want to start at the max weight for typical hand weights. 5 pounds may seem like a lot but the power and speed put into kettlebell moves makes them easy to execute while kitting both fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers and forcing more muscles to activate for counterbalancing with each move.

A 5-pound kettlebell weight is perfect for beginners and those looking to safely learn the proper form with kettlebells.

woman wearing black gym shorts holding a blue kettlebell

Using different sets of weights for different muscle groups or exercises

Consider keeping a few different hand weights on hand to help make the most of every workout. Depending on the exercises, you’ll likely use a few different amount of dumbbell weight sets. Below are a few different upper body muscle groups you may need slightly different sets of weights for.

  • Bicep curls
  • Chest press
  • Lateral raises
  • Overhead should press
  • Bench press

From weighted gloves to weighted balls there are more hand weight options in a larger range of sizes and shapes allowing you to customize your equipment to your workout while toning and strengthening your muscles. 

woman sitting on blue yoga ball with single dumbbells in each hand doing bicep curls

Will lifting weights make me look like a man?

The use of smaller hand weights is popularized by the myth that using heavy weights can add a lot of muscle mass and leave them with a manly body shape.

This myth holds many women back from using a heavier weight, allowing them to build and tone muscle faster and more efficiently. You can not bulk up simply from lifting heavier weights.

Bulking muscle up like a professional body builder or a man, takes a lot of work both nutritionally and in the gym. Without going too in depth, it would take much more concentrated effort to sculpt and build muscles to the point of looking like a man.

That said, to tone and have a lean, younger body, women do need to lift weights that put enough stress on the muscle so that results are possible.

If 5-pound weights do not provide you with enough challenge or the results you are looking for consider going up beyond small hand weights to large-sized dumbbells for better results. 

Adjustable weights such as the Bowflex Selecttech (which is what I use) could be an option to consider for the flexibility and a tight budget than something like a large set that uses weight plates. They are also a good choice for smaller spaces.

What Size Weights Should A Woman Use For Toning Arms?

Smaller weights will tone your arms in the beginning if you have not regular workouts or have a physically demanding job where you lifts heavy objects. For a healthy adult female, you will want to give a higher weight of at least 5 pounds a try when beginning to work on toning your arms for most exercises.

You will know it’s time to move to a heavier weight when you don’t feel as much muscle fatigue during your workout set.

If you are not able to lift 5-pound weights for the reps for the dumbbell exercises during a 20 to 30-minute workout then that would be an indication you are using too much weight to start with. Perhaps you should start out with a lower weight and allow your arms to tone and strengthen before moving up to a 5-pound weight set.

four single colored dumbbells 2 lb red hand weight, pick 3 lb hand weight, 4 lb blue hand weight, gray 5 lb hand weight sitting on a black surface

What Are The Best Women’s Hand Weight Sets? 

Gaiam Hand Weights

Walking weights like (Amazon affiliate link) these Gaiam weights are what most women think of when they think about hand weights that are 5 pounds or less. These small weights are designed to be held in your hand with a small strap to wrap around your fingers. These weights are perfect for adding extra weight to your cardio exercises like walking, jogging, and even kickboxing to help tone and burn more calories faster after your body has adjusted to the activity. 

Bala Bangles Wrist Weights

If you are looking for a hand weight that works well for helping burn off more calories while doing everyday activities like cleaning your house, (Amazon affiliate link) these Bala Bangles are a great option. Simply slip on these stylish wrist weights and dive right into your day to help tone your muscles and burn calories faster. These are stylish enough to wear out of the house if you want to add a little something to your regular errands. Bala bangles also work well for ankle weights giving you even more possibilities.

teal and yellow hand weights with strap for hand

Amazon Basics Dumbbells

(Amazon affiliate link) Amazon Basics dumbbells have a neoprene coating and perfect for adding resistance to your favorite workouts. The neoprene dumbbell helps you get a good grip and provides a coating that protects surfaces if you need to drop them down to move on to the next move in your favorite workout video quickly. These are great starter dumbbells for women in building strength.

Pro Strength 5 lb Kettlebell

Kettlebells are often overlooked as an option for hand weights. These little powerhouses can touch calories and provide you with a full-body workout with just a few standard moves like the kettlebell swing. The (Amazon affiliate link) Pro Strength 5-pound Kettlebell is perfect for the woman that is new to kettlebell workouts and wants to start with a good size weight that will allow her to see toning results without risking injury while learning new moves. This kettlebell has a good grip on them to help keep you from dropping the weight while swinging it. 

Prosource Fit Weighted Gloves

Another great option for hand weights is weighted gloves. These (Amazon affiliate link) Prosource Gloves slip onto your hands and wrap around your wrist to help give your wrists some support as well. For women looking to add light weight resistance training to their workouts for everything from yoga to kickboxing weighted gloves are a great option. With nothing to hold on to you have no risk of dropping them and the shape of the glove means they are less likely to get in the way of your favorite workouts without adding stress to your joints. 

TheraBand Soft Weight

(Amazon affiliate link) TheraBand Soft Weight is a great soft weighted ball that can also be used to help tone your body during your workouts. They make a great addition to dynamic resistance workouts like Tai Chi or adding to your favorite pilates workout to increase your calorie burn and toning. These are a great weight set for sitting on your desk at work to encourage you to pick it up and toss it back and forth between your hands while you take a phone call or do another hands-free activity or even at home while watching TV to help add more toning exercises into your day in a fun and calming way.  

Get started with your fitness journey

Now that you know how women’s hand weights can help kick your workout into a higher gear, pick some up today and start toning those muscles! 

two ladies wearing purple gym pants and jackets walking with hand weights

Hand weights are a great beginner’s option for those that are looking to add in resistance training for the first time to improve overall health. They can help add toning and calorie burning to your favorite low-impact workouts to help increase your results faster.

Hand weights are among the best options for beginners with the understanding that you will want to graduate to a larger weight set to see the results keep coming after your body has adjusted to the stress of the lower weights. 

If you are still unsure about the best workout plan to start using dumbbells for home or gym workouts, you could hire a personal trainer or take a look at the collection of workouts for women over 40 I recommend.

Comment below if you still have questions!

about stephanie

About Stephanie

Just an everyday stay at home mom who one day decided I didn’t want to become the stereotypical overweight, middle-aged, out of breath, mom anymore. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time and I became the athlete I never knew existed. Read more...

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