Wearing ankle weights while you're cycling adds resistance that helps strengthen your lower-body muscles, particularly the hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. Additionally, wearing ankle weights while performing aerobic exercise can increase your heart rate by about three to five beats per minute, according to the American Council on Exercise, and that means you'll burn extra calories. Nevertheless, always use caution when you add ankle weights to your cycling routine, because the greater intensity can increase your risk of injury.1.
Warm up and stretch your legs before you strap on the weights and begin cycling. Do five to 10 minutes of light cardio exercise, then perform some dynamic leg stretches. Stretching options include walking lunges, front-leg kicks, running with high knees and running butt kicks, in which you bend your knees and raise your heels up toward your butt.2.
Use light weights of no more than three pounds each. If in doubt, start with lighter weights than you think you can handle. If your legs feel good after about three weeks, you can move up to heavier weights -- but still no more than three pounds.3.
Place the weights on your ankles. They'll typically feature a Velcro strap. And be sure they're secure. The weights should fit right above your feet.4.
Begin pedaling slowly and observe the weights to be sure they won't contact the bicycle or get caught in the bike's chain. Also, be certain the weights aren't altering your normal cycling mechanics, which can lead to injury.5.
If you're riding a bike outdoors, pay close attention to your balance. If you're wearing ankle weights for the first time, try them out on a stationary bike first, where balance isn't an issue. When you take the weights outside, place a thin athletic sock over your feet and the weights to help prevent them from moving around and possibly throwing you off balance.
- Bike helmet
- Ankle weights
- If you find it more difficult to maintain your balance with ankle weights, select smoother routes when you're wearing the ankle weights.
- Consult with your doctor before you start wearing ankle weights while you're cycling.
- Wearing ankle weights while you're cycling can strain your ankles, knees and hips. Don't wear the weights if you have any joint problems. Stop using the weights if you begin experiencing joint pain.
- If you cycle often, don't wear the weights during every session.
- Wear a helmet if you bike outdoors.
About the Author
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.