There are many benefits of using a weighted vest. If you’ve never used a weighted vest or even heard of one, then now is a good time. Learn how they can be extremely beneficial as a workout device. But also as a tool to help you reach new heights and break new records quickly.
The advantages of using a weighted vest are plenty, and the rewards are quick and satisfying. If you’re ready to explore how weighted vests can help you, then keep reading and be enlightened.
What is a Weighted Vest for Workouts?
The weighted vest is a wearable device that you can fit over your shoulders and is worn like a vest but with additional weights. The weights provide added resistance while keeping your hands and arms free to use for many different sports activities and training events.
With most weighted vests, you have the option to add or subtract weights to and from the vest. Some use metal plates, while others use sandbags to fit into pockets or sleeves in the vest.
A weighted vest’s primary purpose is to make your workout harder by adding extra resistance. The advantage of using a weighted vest over most other fitness equipment is that you can wear it on the body. This helps free up your legs, arms, and hands to perform your usual fitness activity.
Some top weighted vest workout benefits are for training to get stronger and increase your performance levels. They are also great to use when running to increase your leg and calf strength and improve your running distance and speed.
That said, use the vest to increase your performance while training for basketball, tennis, baseball, football, volleyball, or any other sport.
Weight vests are also ideal for performing exercises such as air squats, lunges, calf raises, jumping jacks, push-ups, and pull-ups. Or even use on a treadmill, vertical climber, stair climber, or other fitness equipment.
Getting The Full Benefits of a Weighted Vest
If you want to get the full benefits of using a weighted vest, you must know how much weight you will require for your particular workout routines.
For some, an 8 to 10-pound vest is sufficient without ever changing the weight. While for others, it may be more important to have an adjustable weight vest. This vest could be from 10 to 50 lbs or as much as 80 to 100 lbs.
Quickly accelerate your gains by adding a weight vest to your workout routine!
Some of the best fitness vests for women and men come with multiple straps and adjustments to better fit various body types, sizes, and genders.
The women’s weighted vest, for instance, is designed to conform better to the female physique while making it much more comfortable to wear.
When fitted snuggly around your core and upper body, a weight vest can be used during most CrossFit exercises and is also great for walking and running. In most cases, the weight vest will not hinder your movements. Thus, performing activities such as running, push-ups, pull-ups, or jumping, to name a few, can be done freely and without restricting movement.
Whether your goal is to increase your strength and endurance or maybe shed some extra pounds, the weight vest is the perfect device. You can add the right amount of resistance to just about any exercise in your routine.
Top 10 Benefits of Using a Weighted Vest
Weighted vests have many benefits and advantages, of which other devices cannot compete. To see exactly how beneficial weighted vests can be in your training routines, let’s take a closer look at our top 10 list below.
#1 Hands-Free – Ease of Use
Unlike most exercise equipment and weights, the top benefit of using a weighted vest is that it does not require you to hold or grip anything.
The vest will conform to your upper body and add resistance to just about any exercise or training regimen. These vests are ideal for adding resistance while keeping your arms and hands free to perform your exercise routine.
#2 Reach New Heights – Quickly!
There’s no easier way to increase your performance levels and reach new heights than by using a weighted vest.
No matter what activity, this is the easiest and quickest way to achieve new goals and set new records. It will amaze you to see how adding only a few pounds of resistance can quickly improve your skill levels.
#3 Increase Strength
Weight training vests are perfect for adding resistance to workouts that strengthen your body’s core area and help with compound exercises such as pull-ups, squats, lunges, jumping, and more.
#4 Improve Cardiovascular Health
You can benefit by wearing a weighted vest while running, walking, using a treadmill, or performing pretty much any cardio exercise. By increasing the intensity, you will also increase your heart rate while working out. Thus, resulting in a stronger and healthier heart in the future.
#5 Improve Endurance
Another weighted vest benefit is improving your endurance. The added resistance a weighted vest provides will strengthen your heart and, over time, will result in easier and longer workout sessions.
#6 Increase Speed for Runners
Training vests can quickly improve your speed. Simply wear the vest while training, but remove it for the actual event. Your mind will adapt to the additional weight, and your muscles and joints will become stronger over time.
This method is perfect for CrossFit, runners, sports training, basketball or football, military exercises, and firefighter training.
#7 Weight Loss
The benefits of wearing a weighted vest are much the same as increasing the elevation on a treadmill.
When adding weight, you also increase the resistance, increasing the amount of energy your body requires to execute any given activity. This, in turn, equates to you burning more calories and thus more weight loss.
#8 Adjustable Weights
Gradually increasing resistance by adding more weight is the quickest way to improve your performance. Setting new goals and reaching them is almost effortless when using adjustable weighted vests.
Weights come in iron plates or iron ore sandbags. You can easily remove or add these weights as needed to adjust your workout intensity as needed.
#9 Portable – Use Anywhere!
You can comfortably take these weight training vests on the go as they easily fit into most gym bags. Take your weight vest to the gym, the park, or on a vacation or business trip.
The only restriction you may have when traveling would depend on the weight of your vest. As you will see, some vests can weigh as much as 150lbs.
Considering the sheer versatility and speed at which you can achieve results, I find these vests a considerable value and a tremendous bang for your buck.
In most cases, prices are determined by the weight of the vest. Vests start at around 8 to 12lbs and can go up to as much as 150lbs. For most, a 40lb to 60lb vest is more than enough to satisfy your training needs and is still very affordable.
Moving up to 100lbs and more may be a bit more costly. But that is to cover the added weights and stronger and larger vests to support the added weight.
5 Most Common Uses for Weighted Vests & Which Vest to Use
The most significant advantage of weighted vests is its versatility and how you can use them for various training events and physical activities.
Let’s find which type of weighted vest is most suitable for your activities.
Many athletes use weighted vests during training sessions to increase endurance and maximize strength. If you’re looking to up your game in basketball, football, hockey, baseball, or track, to name a few, then using a vest can help you tremendously.
Try training with a bodyweight of 220 pounds by wearing a 20lb vest and then dropping back to 200 pounds for the real game. After dropping that amount of weight, imagine how much lighter you will feel on your feet, and how much faster you will be.
It would be wise for this type of activity to find a weighted vest that fits snuggly and a lighter 8lb or up to 20lb vest. A softer fixed weight sand-filled vest may be the right choice.
Otherwise, an adjustable weighted vest may benefit you more. You can adjust the intensity by adding or subtracting weights. What’s most important is that you find a vest that gives you a free range of motion, is not bulky and fits close to the body.
Hard Core & Heavy Duty Weight Training
Any heavy resistance training will require heavier weights. For this type of activity, you will prioritize the amount of weight and less the range of motion.
These vests may be somewhat bulky, but they offer a weight range that is more suitable for heavy training. I would suggest a weight training vest with a weight range of 20lbs up to 100lbs or more.
Running, Hiking & Walking
An effective way to burn more calories or even increase your endurance is by wearing a weighted vest while running, hiking, or just walking. For runners, this is a great way to increase your speed or increase your running distance.
The best weighted vest for running is one that fits closely and snuggly to the body. Most will be content with just an 8lb to 12lb weight vest. The softer vests are sand filled and usually fixed weight, but much more comfortable than lead vests.
Weighted vests are very beneficial and very popular in the CrossFit community. These vests help add resistance to your workout routine without limiting your arm or leg movements. This free range of motion makes it possible to participate in many different exercises while keeping your hands, arms, and legs free to move naturally.
The best weight vest for CrossFit should have adjustable weights up to 60lbs or more and be snug and fit high on the body to keep your core area free. Also, look for even weight distribution on the front and back for better balance.
Bodyweight Exercise (Gravity Training)
Like CrossFit, bodyweight training may include such exercises as lunges, squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and jumping. Or maybe even just something as simple as walking your dog, mowing the lawn, or cleaning your house.
Gravity training is a great way to tone and strengthen muscles but also shed some extra fat. I would suggest any of the sand-filled fixed-weight vests and the heavier vests up to 60lbs, depending on your workout activity and fitness goals.
We can all appreciate a good workout and the satisfaction we get when achieving new goals or setting new records. But at some point, we all seem to hit a wall, where no matter how hard we try, it seems impossible to achieve further progress.
I have found that incorporating a weighted vest into your training can make all the difference.
The beauty of training vests is how easy they are to wear and use with just about any exercise routine or training event. And most importantly, how quickly you will see results.
The benefits of using a weighted vest are many. If you are considering purchasing one, I would recommend looking at the Rogue Fitness site. They have a good selection of high-quality vests.
With over 30 years of experience in strength training and fitness, Mark LaRue is the founder of Fitness Mastered, a blog to help educate fitness enthusiasts of all fitness levels, ages, and gender. We write topics that range from weight training tips and exercise routines to home workout machine and fitness related product reviews, to name a few.