Pilates is great to help tone and strength your body. But what happens if you add hand weights to your workout?

I love to add weight when I’m working out at home because they can help to tone the arms and shoulders. But you have to remember to only use a light weight; so for women 1-3lbs is plenty, but men can use slightly more. It’s important not to use a heavy weight as it can create leverage and momentum challenges that can pull you out of alignment and take away the focus from the core to the extremities.

Pilates workout with hand weights

Weight should be used to bring more focused attention to the core abdominal muscles, creating controlled movement with extra stability for the shoulders and pelvis.

Weights can add some variety to you regular workout, so it’s probably best to use them occasional and not all the time. You can also include ankle weights in some of your workouts to tone the hips and legs. But again, a light weight is best.

My favorite hand weights are from Fitness Mad. They offer excellent grip due to the neoprene coating and the added bonus of being soft to the touch. The edges of the dumbbells have a hexagonal shape, so when you put them down they won’t roll away. They come in a great range of colours and are available from 0.5kg – 5kg. The lighter are great value for money start at £7.59 for a pair. Because they are only a small business, they do occasionally go out of stock, but you don’t normally have to wait too long before they come back in stock. For me, it’s worth the wait.

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DTX Fitness also have a great range of hand weights for women. Again they have a neoprene coating so are comfy to use and won’t mark or scratch your floor. These are nice looking weights and slightly more expensive, starting at £9.99.

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Pilates workout with ankle weights

If you’d like to try out some ankle weights, Fitness Mad offer a really comfortable neoprene pair that could also be used as wrist weights. When you’re not using them for Pilates, you could wear them when going out for a walk to strength the legs even more. The lighter weight pair are great value at £9.99 for a really good quality product.

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DTX Fitness have a bigger choice of weights, up to 5kg. Remember it’s best not to have your weight too heavy. One size fits all with simple Velcro fastening.

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Have fun and use your weights safely.