Are you new to Pilates or just looking for a way to spice up some moves? Incorporating hand weights into your workout could be just the trick to adding a little something “extra.” If you are a beginner, adding hand weights is a fairly small modification that is still definitely doable!

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Let’s be clear: The point of hand weights is to promote muscle activation without causing an imbalance that could throw off the exercise. Hand weights should range from only one to three pounds for that reason. You can find them online from $4 to $15, but trust us, you don’t need anything fancy.

Let’s check out some Pilates moves you can do with hand weights.

Spine Twist with Hand Weights: This move increases range of motion in the upper body. Most people have a compromised range of motion in their trunk. By rotating the trunk with a stable pelvis, the spine twist allows for increased flexibility of the spine and surrounding muscles. By adding hand weights to this move, you are increasing the difficulty, and thus employing stabilizing muscles to aid in the movement. While sitting upright with your legs out in front of you and your toes pointing toward the ceiling, pull your abdominals in to keep good posture. Raise your arms out to each side, holding the weights in each hand, with fingertips even to your shoulders. Using your trunk, not your shoulders, twist your entire upper body to one side, keeping your pelvis stable. After slowly returning to center, repeat the movement on the other side. For more information on this move, click here.

spine twist pilates

Photo Credit: Video Jug

>> Read more: Pilates vs. Yoga

One Leg Teaser with Hand Weights: Flatten your abdominals and strengthen your core by incorporating balance and symmetry into this move. By adding hand weights, you’ll further core activation and feel the burn. To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Relax as you lay your arms at your sides with palms up. Extend one leg, while keeping knees at the same height. Bring your upper back off the floor, reaching your arms overhead, while looking straight ahead. Maintain relaxed shoulders, while employing your core. Now bring your arms over head as you look forward and bring your back up off the floor. Reach forward with the hand weights and slowly go through the movement. With as much control as possible, roll back down to your original position. For more information on this move click here.

one leg teaser

Photo Credit: About Pilates

>> Watch: Pilates for Two [VIDEO]

Roll Up with Hand Weights: As a superior core exercise to moves like crunches and sit ups, the roll up is great for toning your abdominals, especially with the addition of hand weights to further core utilization. Lie flat on the floor with your legs straight. Hold your arms over your legs with fingers pointed towards your toes and hold your head between your arms, looking towards the floor. As you lay backward, allow your knees to bend. Stop halfway down before you reach the floor. Coming back up, lift your arms straight up and use your core to pull yourself up into the beginning position, while lowering your arms. For more information on this move click here.

roll up pilates

Photo Credit: Pacific New Pilates

What kind of Pilates moves do you use hand weights? Share with us in the comments below!

Interested in learning about other equipment you can use in Pilates? Click here to check out the Pilates ring!