Are Ankle Weights Effective for Biking?

Ankle weights can help increase the intensity of your bike ride.
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Ankle weights are a quick, simple way to increase the efficacy of a variety of aerobic workouts such as walking. In addition to making your body work harder, which helps you burn more calories, ankle weights can also tone the muscles in your legs. Although ankle weights can be suitable for biking, making other changes to your biking workout is a more effective way to increase the benefit of the exercise.

Ankle Weights

Ankle weights are available in several styles, but typically are made of such materials as canvas or nylon and contain one or more straps that hold the item to your body. Ankle weights are commonly adjustable with several weight packs that you can add or remove to fine-tune the weight of the item. People typically place ankle weights over their socks and secure the weights in place with the device's straps.

Ankle Weight Risks

Ankle weights will force your body to work harder, which will generate more calorie-burning and muscle-building results. However, the American Council on Exercise warns that using ankle weights can negatively affect your mechanics during exercise, which can lead to injury. Excessively heavy ankle weights can also increase the strain on your joints, which is particularly serious if you already have issues in your knees or other lower-body joints.

Ankle Weight Benefits

ACE notes that ankle weights that weigh between 1 and 3 pounds will increase your heart rate by up to five extra beats per minute and your oxygen uptake by up to 10 percent. In an article in the "Los Angeles Times," University of California, San Francisco assistant professor Dr. Anthony Luke notes that using ankle weights during exercise will make such lower-body muscles as your quads, glutes and hamstrings work harder during the exercise.


Theoretically, wearing ankle weights during a bike ride can help increase the benefit of the exercise, and provided the weights don't negatively impact your mechanics, you should be able to exercise without injury. However, wearing ankle weights while pedaling a bike can be cumbersome and put you at risk of catching one of the weights in the chain or sprocket. Instead of relying on ankle weights to boost the benefits of the exercise, try increasing your speed or finding a path with several hills to ride. Changing gears can also force your lower body to work harder during a bike ride.

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