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What are the Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest?
Someone once asked me, “what are the benefits of wearing a weighted vest?”
That’s a great question because the benefits are vast and all-encompassing.
Furthermore, there are many vest options out there on the market, and you better believe people try them all.
We actually recently created a buying guide for the top 5 best weighted vests to buy.
And they all have different benefits…
Maybe you’re looking to intensify your training.
Maybe you’re looking to acclimate to new training styles.
Or, maybe you just want to try something different to change things up a bit…
The truth is, you can definitely get stuck in a fitness rut.
What will it hurt to try something different, something new, something interesting?
In today’s article, we’re going to be focusing on using a weighted vest and giving you a thorough break down on them.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll no longer need to ask what are the benefits of wearing a weighted vest?
So, no matter what your reasoning is for wanting to know more about weighted vests, we’re going to provide the information you need.
What are the Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest?
To get straight to the point, if you really want to know what are the benefits of wearing a weighted vest, they are explained below.
After reading the benefits of wearing a weighted vest below, continue to figure out the different types of weighted vests, their purposes, and which you should invest in.
Strength and Muscle Will Increase When Using a Weight Vest
But, to what degree will these benefits impact you?
Well, that is primarily based on your choice of exercises along with the amount of weight, stress, and resistance your vest provides.
The main reason for the increase in strength and muscle is due to the weight being something your body needs to adapt to.
When your body adapts to stress, it gets stronger and bigger.
Your muscle breaks down and it eventually rebuilds.
So, keep in mind that a weight vest can force your muscles to grow and your strength will increase due to the natural adaptation.
Bone Strength and Overall Health Will Increase
The additional weight (from the vest) will make your body assume it needs to become stronger by bulking your musculoskeletal system.
This leads to more dense, strong bone to form.
Whenever you see very skinny people, their bones tend to protrude and seem brittle or weak.
Overweight people often have less muscle, but due to the size of their bodies and the pressure it puts on their systems, their bones need to be denser and capable to withstand the impact of their movements.
Now, if you are muscular and adding excess weight, your bones will also adjust accordingly.
Weight Vests Can Help With Cardiovascular Health and Lung Capacity
Your weight vest works by not allowing you to become accustomed to the same, continuous responses to certain exercises or routines.
When the same workout is done with and without a vest – like riding a bike for example – your body will constantly try to understand the strain you put it through and have a hard time becoming acclimatized to the workout.
This variance allows for your lung capacity to expand because of the incorporation of weight resistance.
You will be able to walk, sprint, bike, climb or jump for longer stretches of time before reaching exhaustion than if you hadn’t trained with a weight vest.
Live Strong actually put out a great article on what happens when you wear a weight vest that I recommend checking out.
Introduction to Wearing a Weight Vest
To understand the benefits of wearing a weighted vest you’re first going to need to know why weighted vests are even “a thing.”
For one, they are great for when you hit a plateau.
The use of a weight vest will help elevate you over those plateaus you hit with normal, unweighted training.
All of this fitness accessories are intended to optimize your workouts.
You have products like sauna suits, which raise your body temperature and induce sweating to push your workouts to the max.
And finally what you’re most likely interested in – weighted vests.
Assuming of course that you are here to learn what are the benefits of wearing a weighted vest ;)
What are the Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest? What is a Weighted Vest?
As with ankle weights, weight vests are worn on the body to add supplemental weight, in order to produce a stronger degree of resistance for the wearer
Are accessories like these necessary for fitness?
Short answer: NO
long answer: NO
But why not?
As humans, we are always looking for the next best thing.
We look for something that will elevate us to another level, and products like these make us feel like we are going to reach that higher level.
That is why the weighted vest was created.
It is meant to help you push past your normal boundaries and achieve better results.
So are they necessary? NO.
But, they are beneficial and can definitely supplement your workout and help you get the results you want.
In my opinion, the greatest things about weight vests are that they build strength, increase endurance and can help with weight loss.
All of these things can be achieved without a weight vest, but as stated above, we always want to take it to the next level.
If you reach a plateau in your fitness goals, I truly believe a weight vest can be a great addition to your workouts.
Whether you purchase one to own or borrow one at the gym – your exercises will feel more strenuous and rewarding.
So, before moving on to actually answering the question of what are the benefits of wearing a weighted vest, we should first look to see if you should even be wearing one.
This article has great information if you’re just starting out using a weight vest.
Should You Even Be Wearing a Weighted Vest?
The next focus when trying to answer the question of what are the benefits of wearing a weighted vest is should you even be wearing one in the first place!
That is the big question: Are you ready to wear a weight vest?
When you start working out you will often see people in the gym with a multitude of accessories that seem vital to maximizing results and naturally, this may motivate you to want to suit up to full capacity, but be careful.
It may be too early in your training and/or fitness to start adding in accessories.
If you are just starting out, build your strength foundation first.
Train and Invest in a Weighted Vest Based on Your Needs
You should never allow someone else’s training to influence your own.
We all have completely different body types and fitness goals.
As a beginner, I once made the mistake of following those around me.
I saw runners with knee braces, lifters using resistance bands on their weights and these glimpses – of what looked to me like necessities for progress – blinded me to my own fitness path.
I made so many purchases early on, before I even built a solid foundation, that most of those products went unused.
Once you have progressed to a level where your training is no longer causing you to constantly take breaks or lower weight/repetitions, then you may be in the market for a product like a weight vest to help increase intensity into your training.
If your cardio causes you to become winded, I suggest skipping the weight vest.
But, if you can do a half marathon on the treadmill, then try it with a weight vest!
You get the idea; be smart and train accordingly.
Hyper wear (one of the weighted vest companies) actually created a pretty decent article that goes more into detail if you’re contemplating whether or not you should get a weighted vest.
Below: Watch How to Increase Overall Strength with a Weighted Vest (Calisthenics)
What Type of Weighted Vest Should You Get?
With a weighted vest, you might be thinking: I’ll just buy the cheapest one.
If you want versatility, longevity and a comfortable fit – I suggest investing in a weight vest that suits your particular training goals and is designed accordingly – regardless of price.
That doesn’t mean spend hundreds recklessly.
But, also, do not plunge into your purchase because you saw a weight vest on clearance.
You should always be thinking long-term!
Every fitness product you purchase should equate to longevity.
With every added increment of weight, your resistance grows and your form will change and adjust.
Think about wearing a huge difference in weight and what must go into the design and production to factor in the stability of the vests.
Do your research first and then decide on your purchase!
What are the Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest? THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WEIGHTED VESTS
Now let’s go over some benefits of the styles and weight levels.
There are many weighted vests on the market.
The ranges of weight can vary from as low as 10 pounds all the way up to around 150 pounds.
Obviously, as stated earlier, you will and should be purchasing your vest according to your fitness goals.
Some vests are made to only come in one standardized weight, where there can be no addition or reduction of weight.
Below: Learn About Weighted Vest Benefits and How to Use them for Specific Training Goals
Many of these types of weight vests are slim fitting.
They are marketed towards walking and contain things like sand as their source of weight.
Usually “walking” weight vests will range up to around 10 pounds and can be safely worn during walks to increase resistance.
These lower weighted vests are perfect for those trying to stimulate their cardio and help burn some extra calories.
As for training, this may not be your best choice, unless you are truly a beginner in the gym.
INTERMEDIATE VESTS (MEDIUM WEIGHT FROM 20 TO 45 POUNDS)
Next in the chain of weight vests are what I like to call the intermediate vests or the “standard.”
In my opinion, these weight ranges are perfect for those who are already comfortable in the gym.
Typically, with weight vests starting at 20 pounds, you will begin to have removable weight bars that will dictate your chosen weight for your workout sessions.
I would recommend this level of vest to anyone who is healthy enough to withstand wearing the vest for the entirety of their workout.
Many will benefit from the high intensity attached to using this league of weight vest.
From cardio to calisthenics to lifting and more specific routines found in CrossFit – these vests will be optimal.
For an in-depth list of calisthenics exercises, including ones you can perform with a weighted vest, check out this awesome article by our friends over at Calisthenics-101.
INSANE VESTS (HIGH WEIGHT FROM 50 TO 150 POUNDS)
Lastly are the vests that are considered insane.
Well, they are just that, insane!
Any vests weighing from 50 pounds to 150 pounds would fall under this category.
For health and safety reasons, I would only recommend these to seasoned gym veterans.
Due to the overall weight in this category of vests, I would suggest against anything overly strenuous.
I would avoid things like long-distance running – as adverse effects may occur.
Heavier weight vests may be beneficial for variance in movements.
They could also work well during certain low-intensity cardio situations.
However, you should proceed with caution.
Training with a 100-pound weight vest should not be a daily activity.
You can get a quick view here of all the different types of weighted vests out there.
What are the Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest? The Different Styles of Weighted Vest
As far as styles go, many weight vests are short and only cover the upper torso.
- Some brands offer long vests
These vests typically reach down to your belly (often the case for higher weighted vests that require more room for weight bars).
- Walking vests are often full upper body coverage and utilize a slimmer profile
Certain companies also have vests with various designs, which will be mostly up to personal preference.
You also have to think about vest construction and factor that into what your goals with the vest are.
- Bulkier vests will be harder to do versatile movements in
This is due to the restrictiveness of the design and lack of mobility.
Vests with too much mobility and not enough strict secureness can lead to sliding and moving during walking and less demanding exercises.
- Vests with thinner shoulder straps will allow for more movement
This is especially true for overhead movements and will be suitable for things like pull-ups, lifting with arms, punching, pulling, climbing things and anything with free weights like dumbbells and barbells.
- Wider shoulder straps on your vest will be optimal for your standard cardio-based exercises
Things like the Stairmaster treadmill, calisthenics exercises or outdoor activities like running, walking or hiking on uneven terrain because these will be more supportive and comfortable on your body, especially the shoulders.
- And finally, the choice between a preset weight vest and a vest with expandable weight through weight bars
Every detail and benefit that the different styles of weighted vests offer is up to personal preference and can be determined by the amount you use the vest and if you intend on moving up in intensity or changing the way you workout with your vest over time.
What’s Best for You?
If you are a beginner, you’re probably better off with a preset weighted vest.
However, if you are planning to vary your workouts from day to day and intend to gain more and more endurance and strength, you will most likely require an adjustable vest.
Implementing weight changes between exercises is something you can strive for.
It all comes down to what your goals are for using a weighted vest.
Aside from just wearing a weighted vest, there are several different types of weighted clothing that you could wear to simulate the same experience.
Final Thoughts: What are The Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest?
Now that you know what weight vests are out there, you should know which you would use and purchase.
Keep in mind that these vests are not cheap.
Intense training with a heavy weighted vest is in the cards for you, you could be spending some big bucks.
Furthermore, always remember that adding resistance to your training and certain exercises can cause the training’s blueprint to completely change.
Your pull-ups and push-ups can completely change.
What are the Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest? More Things to Consider
Also, the heavier you go on the weighted vest, the more pressure you are putting on your joints.
Be aware of this fact when you attempt weighted vest exercises.
Certain movements can be overly strenuous on your joints.
There is no denying that a weight vest can be a great opportunity to expand and extend the reaches of your fitness potential.
However, do not strap one of those vests on without fully understanding the effects of using one incorrectly.
If you are interested in a weight vest, I suggest you start off light and work your way up the proverbial ladder of fitness to reach your strength and health goals safely – adding one extra weight bar at a time.
If you’re really in the market for buying a weighted vest then I suggest checking out our buyers’ guide:
Hopefully by now after reading all of this it gave you sufficient information on answering the question: what are the benefits of wearing a weighted vest?
Lastly, check out our weighted dip belt to complement your weight vest.
Until next time, stay tuned!