If you want to train with a weighted vest, this article will show you weighted vest benefits and the best weighted vest workouts.
A weighted vest is a great equipment for people who work out at home. It can make your workouts more fun and rewarding. I recently bought one and I’m already enjoying the benefits.
A weighted vest is a heavy training vest. It can be made heavy by using heavy clothing material or adding weights into its pockets.
Most weighted vests have small pockets where you can add sand bags. These are called ‘adjustable weighted vests’ which means you can adjust the weight to match your strength level.
Wearing a weighted vest has many benefits. It can boost your endurance, increase strength, promote weight loss, and much more.
But realize that a weighted vest can cause injury for people who are out of shape or overweight. If you haven’t been working out, build strength with regular bodyweight exercises before you start using a weighted vest.
Weighted vest benefits
1. Builds muscles faster
A weighted vest won’t just make you look like a SWAT officer, it’ll also increase your muscle mass fast.
Wearing a weighted vest while doing strength training adds resistance and this forces your muscles to work harder and grow bigger.
A weighted vest will strain muscles more. As a result, the muscle fibers will be torn. After workout, the body repairs the torn muscle fibers and makes them thicker than before, research shows.
Note that muscle growth occurs when resting, not when we are training. That’s why it’s always important to get enough rest.
To put it simply – you’ll build more muscles if you do pushups with weighted vest compared to doing them without weights.
2. Increases endurance
Wearing a weighted vest while doing squats, burpees, running or jumping rope can improve your endurance.
It takes more strength and energy to perform exercises while wearing a vest and this will eventually boost your endurance.
In this 10-week study, participants did heavy resistance training three times a week. The results showed that their running and cycling endurance increased by 11 to 13 percent. Note that their endurance training remained constant during this period.
3. Prevents exercise plateau
Exercise plateau occurs when our bodies get used to exercises after we perform them repeatedly.
If you do lunges every day, your body will get used to them and start burning fewer calories and building less muscles than before.
Changing your workout routine can prevent exercise plateau. It’s always advisable to add new (challenging) exercises to your routines after every 4 to 6 weeks.
But you don’t have to change your routine if you have a weighted vest. Simply use a heavier weighted vest to increase resistance. This is equivalent to lifting heavier weights in the gym.
4. Helps burn more fat
We can all agree that exercise is good for weight loss. After all, research shows that people who exercise weigh less than those who don’t.
Well, wearing a weighted vest during strength training or cardio will help you burn more calories and boost your metabolism.
Weighted vest increases intensity of exercises and as you may know, high intensity exercises burn more fat than low intensity ones.
5. Increases strength fast
Wearing a weighted vest during your regular workouts will make you stronger.
The vest will add resistance and force your muscles to work harder. If you’re used to air squats, wearing a weighted vest while doing squats will make your legs stronger.
In this study, participant’s leg strength increased by 30 percent after they started doing weighted training.
In fact, exercise that were challenging before will become easy when you take off the vest.
6. Your posture will improve
Wearing a weighted vest challenges your core and strengthens it.
Having a stronger core will improve your posture. Most people slouch due to weak abdominal, back, neck muscles.
Doing core exercises like the plank while wearing a weighted vest will also build core strength fast.
7. Strengthens your bones
You probably know that strength training improves bone density. But did you know that increasing resistance builds more bone mass?
Our bones react to exercise the same way our muscles do. When we put more weight on the bones, the bones create new bone mass which makes them stronger, denser, and bigger.
Stronger bones will prevent fractures, osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
8. Increases your VO2 Max
VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use in a certain duration. When your VO2 max increases it means your body is using oxygen more efficiently.
Maximizing on your VO2 can help you run and swim faster.
One study found that the VO2 max of long distance runners who trained with weighted vests improved more compared to those who didn’t wear a vest.
9. Improved athletic performance
Training with a weighted vest improves many aspects of athleticism – strength, endurance, speed, and explosiveness.
Take this study for example, the results show that the sprinting endurance of the athletes increased by 25 percent and their speed increased by 3 percent when they trained while wearing a weighted vest. I may note that the participants wore weighted vest all day during the study.
Another study found that walking on a treadmill while wearing a weighted vest can improve speed.
10. It’ll improve your balance
We lose balance as we grow older. But wearing a weighted vest can improve your balance and prevent falls.
A weighted vest puts extra weight on the upper body which forces you to gain more balance to stay upright.
Wearing a weighted vest now can improve your balance and lower risks of falls as you grow older.
Now let’s see how you can incorporate weighted vest into your workouts.
Weighted vest workouts
Running with weighted vest
Do you want to build endurance and become stronger at the same time? Running with a weighted vest can help. As we saw earlier, a weighted vest will improve your endurance and athleticism.
But realize that wearing a heavy vest will increase risk of knee or hip injury. So wear a 5 or 10lb vest then can add more weight once you get used to running with weighted vest.
Walk with weighted vest
In the study I mentioned earlier, researchers found that walking while wearing a weighted vest can improve metabolism and speed. The results show that you’ll experience more benefits when you walk at fast pace.
Wearing a weighted vest all day
Wearing a weighted vest all day may be a little extreme but it can help. Carrying extra weight throughout the day will make you stronger, burn more calories, and improve your balance.
Weighted vest and bodyweight exercises
You can do your bodyweight workout while wearing a weighted vest. It’ll make push ups, squats, lunges, glute bridges, and other bodyweight exercises more rewarding.
Here’s a beginner full body weighted vest workout:
5 Lunges (each leg) x 3
10 Wall pushups x 3
30-second plank x 2
5 glute bridges x 3
Wearing a weighted vest has many benefits. But don’t use a heavy vest that may cause injury. Start with a light vest then gradually add weight as you get fitter and stronger.
Have you ever trained with a weighted vest?