7 PTs Reveal The Kit They Swear By

Whether you’re a regular at the gym or prefer your local Pilates studio, the secret to seeing results often comes down to using the right equipment. Here, we tapped a handful of PTs to tell us their favourite pieces of kit for optimum sculpting and toning, as well as how to use them.
By Tor West /

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Louisa Drake

Founder Of The Louisa Drake Method

The Kit: Resistance Bands

Bands are just as effective as weights. Knowing what equipment you need to use to build strength can be daunting, and owning a set of ten dumbbells isn’t always necessary. Studies show the muscles respond to strength training with resistance bands just as well as they do with dumbbells, making them a simple and easy way to tone at home or at the gym. 

A loop band will work the lower body. Sitting securely around the ankles and thighs, it’s a fool-proof way to activate your glutes and lower-leg muscles – use when performing a clamshell, shoulder bridge or squat. 

A long band is a great way to stretch. Use a long, flat band to release tension in the thighs, hamstrings, hips, inner thighs, ITB (great if you’re a runner) and upper back. Take five minutes after an intense workout to stretch with your band, using your breath to deepen and ultimately increase flexibility – no foam roller required. 

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Carly Rowena

PT

The Kit: Kettlebells

Kettlebells sold out in lockdown for a reason. Not only do they take up minimal space, they offer an incredible workout, whether you want to build strength, endurance or fitness levels. Using one ticks multiple boxes, providing a fuss-free, full-body workout.

Ten minutes is all you need. Pick three moves and do them on rotation. Start with 20 swings, ten deadlifts and five overhead presses. If you nail one move, make it the kettlebell swing – a great way to build strength and endurance in the lower body, tone the arms and raise the heart rate. Just be sure to swing by thrusting your bum and hips, not just swinging your arms, for the best results. 

Visit CarlyRowena.com & Kettleboobs.co.uk.

Kirsten King

Founder Of Fluidform

The Kit: Gliders

They offer two-in-one training. Gliders bring together strength and cardio, making them an essential piece of kit if you’re looking for results but are pushed for time. Discs provide a low-friction surface for your hands and feet to bring fluidity to your movements, increase the speed of movement and raise the heart rate. Incorporating them into your workouts will shape and tone your lower abs, hips and inner thighs. 

Expect a full-body burn. My favourite way to use gliders is with a mountain climber, placing the discs under the balls of your feet. It’ll instantly fire up all the muscles from your hips to your feet. Lunges – with the gliders under the balls of your feet – are just as effective. Incorporate them into your workouts three times a week and you’ll reap the results.  

Visit FluidformPilates.com

Maria Eleftheriou

Head Of Barre At Psycle

The Kit: Barre ball

A barre ball works in many ways. Not to be confused with a Pilates ball, it’s smaller in shape and thicker in material, so it’s a fantastic tool to build endurance and co-ordination. It also awakens under-used muscles and can be used to increase intensity and burn.

It’s a must for a stronger core. A barre ball mimics the C-shaped curve we make with our spine. Placing the ball to the lower spine during core work switches on muscles you didn’t even know you had. It also keeps movements contained, precise and intense. 

You can also target the inner thighs and glutes. The inner thighs tend to be the weakest area of the legs, but using a ball with pulsing movements and isometric holds will switch on and engage these hard-to-reach muscles. Ultimately, this will lean and lengthen and improve hip stability. To work the glutes, place the ball behind your hamstring and hug the ball to your bum, using small pulses. 

It's a good WFH companion. After a day sat at a desk with hunched shoulders, our backs can feel tight. To release tension and open the chest, lie on a mat and place a ball between your shoulder blades. Let your body melt into the ball. 

Visit PsycleLondon.com

Bryony Deery

Founder Of Pilates By Bryony

The Kit: Bala Bangles

Bala has redefined workout gear. Gone are the days of clunky equipment. Bala’s bangles – ankle and wrist weights – are a streamlined solution that are not only functional and comfortable, but stylish. 

They’re so versatile. Made from baby-soft silicone, athletic elastic and a simple hook-and-loop fastener, the weights are a joy to wear and add a constant but comfortable resistance to your workout. You can easily slide them off and transition their placing to add extra burn to sculpting work. You can even wear them on your wrists when walking. Using them on your ankles will also help you engage your core whilst targeting the lower body. Or, layer up with light hand weights on the days when your body needs an extra challenge. 

Start with the triceps and glutes. These are my two favourite muscle groups to tone with the weights. Perform a series of fire hydrants on all fours to target the muscles in your glutes or alternate between tricep kickbacks and overhead work to fire up your arms.  

Visit PilatesByBryony.com

Nathalie Clough

Pilates Instructor

The Kit: Pilates ring

This prop provides resistance and promotes good form. It adds a layer of moderate resistance to countless Pilates movements. If you only have a couple of minutes, it’s great for an ab blast, but it’s also a results-driven way to work the midline, core and arms. It’s even more effective when it comes to the legs, inner thighs and bum. 

It may not look intimidating, but don’t be fooled. The ring can leave you just as sore as a pair of heavy dumbbells. Placing it between the thighs during a glute bridge; between your ankles in a side-lying lift; or between your wrists for a behind-the-back tricep burn are some of my top moves. 

Know what to look for. Many cheaper rings are too bouncy and therefore don’t give enough resistance, or they’re the wrong size and tricky to move. You don’t need to spend a lot, but quality matters – I recommend Mad HQ

Visit Lifebody.io

Monique Eastwood

Founder Of Eastwood Fit

The Kit: Dumbbells

Many of us are still afraid to lift weights. But using dumbbells doesn’t need to be complicated. If you’re a beginner, use a lighter weight (think 1kg-3kg) paired with faster movements to stimulate smaller, supporting muscles. It’s the secret to toned, sculpted muscles. As you build strength, lift a little heavier to keep the body challenged. Or use heavier weights (4kg+) at a slower pace. Play with a variety of weights and speeds to see consistent results. 

Focus less on how your movements look, more on how they feel. What matters is the connection you’re finding in your body. Using dumbbells doesn’t need to be overly prescriptive – try resting a heavy dumbbell on your thighs when squatting or doing sidekicks or lower-impact jumps. Even holding a weight in each hand while doing squats and lunges is effective – don’t overthink it.

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