Another popular home and studio accessory, Pilates weights come in two different forms, the traditional dumbbell-like handweight and the weighted soft ball. Both allow you to add weight to your matwork exercises, fitness training, rehabilitation or toning workouts. Easy to grip, the hand weights vary in weight, allowing you to carefully build your hand and wrist strength to suit you. Sold as pairs, you can choose from 0.5kg through to 1.5kg per weight, allowing you to choose the perfect weight and intenstity.
These hand weights and weighted balls are not used in the same way as you would in non-Pilates exercise. They tend, for example, to be very light. Why is this and why use weights at all?
The advice for women is to use hand weights that are between 1-3 lbs and for men the advice is to only go a little heavier. The reason you shouldn’t go as heavy as you would in a weights workout is that you could lose your alignment and end up focusing on the extremity rather than the core, which is what Pilates is all about.
Hand or wrist weights can help with muscle toning. Adding some weight will cause your muscles to work that bit harder. The key thing to remember is that resistance has to happen on both the exertion and release. Adding weight to an exercise will also help to increase the energy used and burn calories. We need to be honest, you are not going to see massive weight loss using Pilates weights but it will all help. Weights can also add in extra stability and give you a greater awareness of your core. And finally, as with all the Pilates accessories, one of the biggest benefits is that weights will add variety to your Pilates regime, keeping you involved and interested.
Hand weights can be used with most of the classical Pilates exercises including the hundred, roll up, double leg stretch and spine stretch.
Look for specialised Pilates weights which are made from a soft material which makes them safe.
Many also come in a spherical shape which helps to create functional grip strength. Or a good pair of neoprene coated dumbbells can do the trick as the coating provides a really good grip. Another choice is to buy some Pilates hand weights which come with straps so they fit snugly in your hand. This ensures that, as we have said, you use the weights but don’t lose that alignment.
Relates to grip - but also for storage and for actual use you may not want to have traditional dumbbell shape.
Again, depends on your bidget as hand weights can go from £10 to £100 depending on style, material or brand.