Pilates is a popular form of exercise that focuses on strengthening the centre of the body, improving flexibility and improving overall posture. It is known for its low impact on joints and its ability to target specific muscle groups. Many people who practice Pilates are constantly looking for ways to improve their workouts and take their practice to the next level. One question that often comes up is whether ankle weights are a good addition to Pilates workouts?


Weights are a type of fitness equipment that can be strapped to the ankles or wrists to increase resistance during lower or upper body exercises. They are commonly used in various forms of physical activity, including walking, running and strength training. However, when it comes to Pilates, the use of weights can be contentious.

The use of ankle weights in Pilates can have both advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider these factors before incorporating them into your practice. Let’s take a closer look at the potential advantages and disadvantages of using weights in Pilates.

 Advantages of using weights in Pilates:

Increased resistance: Ankle weights can increase resistance during leg exercises such as leg raises, kicks and spins, which can help to strengthen and firm lower body muscles. This extra resistance can make muscles work in new ways, leading to greater muscle engagement and potential strength gains.

Increased Muscle Activation: Adding weight to the ankles can result in increased activation of the muscles in the legs and centre of the body in Pilates practitioners. This can help improve overall muscular fitness and endurance, as well as influencing greater stability and balance during exercise.

Progressive Overload: Ankle weights, or wrist weights, can be a useful tool for introducing progressive overload in Pilates workouts. Progressive overload is a gradual increase in resistance or intensity to continuously trigger muscles and stimulate their growth and development. By gradually increasing the weight of the loads, you can gradually trigger muscles and still see improvements in strength and endurance.

Variety and Flexibility: incorporating weights into Pilates workouts can introduce variety and flexibility into training. This can add a new dimension to traditional Pilates exercises, allowing individuals to modify and intensify their practice depending on their fitness level and goals.

However, it is important to note that weights on the ankles or wrists may not be suitable for people with certain health problems or injuries, such as joint pain, arthritis or osteoporosis. It is important to consult a healthcare professional or certified Pilates instructor before incorporating weights into Pilates practice, especially for those with existing health problems.

Ankle weights have the potential to increase the risk of injury, especially if they are used incorrectly. The extra weight can put pressure on the joints, particularly the knees and ankles, which can lead to injury from overloading or incorrect body positioning during exercise.

If you are considering incorporating ankle weights into your workouts, it is important to do so carefully and mindfully. Here are some tips to help you use weights effectively and safely:

Start Light: Start with lighter loads on your ankles to allow your body to gradually adapt to them. This can help reduce the risk of injury or overload as you get used to the increased load.

Focus on correct posture: Make sure you maintain correct posture and activate your centre to support lower or upper body movements.

Listen to your body: Be aware of how your body reacts to the extra weight. If you experience pain, discomfort or instability, stop using weights on your ankles or wrists.

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