What’s A Weighted Vest For – Build Strength, Endurance, And Cardio

What’s a weighted vest for?  Number one, for increasing athletic performance.  Adding additional weight to your body when doing any type of physical activity will bring more overall benefits.

Wearing weight vests have proven to improve strength, speed, and even burn fat faster.  We will discuss “what is a weighted vest”, along with providing some exercises and uses to get the most out of this piece of exercise gear.


What Is a Weighted Vest

Shaped in a true “vest” style, it’s is worn as regular clothing (some can even be worn under your shirt).  It’s generally made from heavy duty material and most are equipped with small pockets.

These pockets are made to be filled with small steel bars, standard plates, or even sandbags.  The many small pockets allow the amount of weight to be adjusted as you get stronger or according to the activity performed.

Low profile “thinner” vests can allow them to be worn under clothing without being noticed.  This makes it easy to wear at work or play to get extra resistance during a normal day.

There are larger vests that can hold up to 150lbs or even more.  These are definitely not for the beginner, but even these can be adjusted in increments for an easy way to work up to “heavy”.


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What’s a Weighted Vest For?

What's A Weighted Vest For - man doing pullupsAn easy answer would be, almost anything because there are no rules on this.  You can reap the benefits from a weighted vest whenever you want.

In a short period of time, the body becomes stronger and more stable from adjusting to the additional weight

Anytime that you wear a weighted vest, this forces your muscles to work a little harder than they would normally.  The additional stress on the muscles makes them grow.

This leads to longer endurance, strength, stamina, and weight loss.

The purpose of these vests is to have a hands free method for carrying extra weight.  The number of activities that you can take advantage of a weighted vest is endless.  It basically can include everything you do except for sitting or laying down.

You can use a weighted vest for walking, hiking, exercising, short or long-distance running, or any type of drills.  Other activities they can be used for include working, shopping, sightseeing, playing with your kids, or riding a bike.


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Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest

The main benefits of wearing a weight vest revolve around physical performance and appearance.  There are multiple benefits that come into play that improve strength, endurance, and cardio.

This added mass influences the way that your muscles work, leading to better overall strength.  The many benefits have been proven over and over in clinical and real life trials.

Stressed muscles, increased breathing and depleted energy may sound like negative progress.  However, once acclimated to the extra weight, the rewards are high.

Here are just a few of the weighted vest benefits:

⊕ When your body pushes harder to adjust to the extra weight, this results in a stronger overall physique

⊕ The extra weight requires your muscles and respiratory system to work harder, building a stronger heart

Running with addition weight builds muscular endurance which helps long distance runners

⊕ For sprints and short races, a weighted vest improves speed and explosion off of the line

⊕ When doing pushups, pullups, and dips, the weight from the vest will build strength increase number of reps

⊕ The weight will strengthen your core and balance without even knowing it

⊕ When wearing a weight vest, the body will effortlessly burn calories at a much higher rate

⊕ Increased weight loss from muscle stress, creates more exertion, and increases metabolism

⊕ Once your body gets used to this extra weight, your movements and breathing will be easier when not wearing it


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What’s the Best Way to Use a Weight Vest?

As I mentioned earlier, you can get the benefits of wearing a weighted vest doing just about anything.  Besides simply wearing it in your free time, plyometric movements such as hiking, biking, shopping, or playing with your kids will help give a stronger body.


During the day, you probably don’t even notice how much you walk up steps, get up and down out of your chair, and move around.  Anytime that you aren’t sedentary, a weighted vest can give your muscles and your heart a little extra challenge.

Although its a small change, getting used to doing this will make slight improvements in your movements that benefit your balance and muscle tone.  Tiring your muscles out will help to strengthen them.


Getting in a twenty minute walk with a weighted vest burns more calories than without one.  Although walking with extra weight probably won’t help that much for improved cardio or strength, it will add to your overall fitness.

Every bit counts when it comes to burning calories.  Since the goal to become leaner should be to burn more calories than consumed, walking with a weighted vest makes a difference.  These vests will slightly intensify any exercise and burn more fuel.


What's A Weighted Vest For - man running with weight vestAn excellent method is training for a run while wearing a weighted vest.  This, of course, will force your body and heart to work harder, therefore, amping up your workout.

The good news is that the body will quickly get used to this additional weight like it’s not even there.

The best part happens after training with this vest, and you take it off for the real run.

Without this additional weight that your body had gotten used to, there will be a big difference in speed and ability to run longer with more ease.

Training with a weighted vest requires your respiratory system to work harder, therefore strengthening endurance.


This is not a misprint.  Yes, even when performing chores around the house.  Having an extra weight attached to your frame when cleaning doing laundry, and going up and down the stairs will help to strengthen your core and burn more calories than without wearing it.

No one’s watching, so you may as well get some additional benefits along with a clean house.

Working Out

This is probably the most effective way to get maximum benefits.

Putting on a weight vest when exercising automatically changes up how you perform your workout routine.  Besides making it a more intense workout, pushing your body harder because of this best brings great rewards.

Bodyweight exercises are core movements that many times use the full body to get the most results.  Now pullups, dips, and pushups will become more difficult but will make you stronger.  A weight vest will also be beneficial with squats.

During workouts is the best time to use one of the heavy duty types of weighted vest to really put your body to the test.

Having this extra weight forces your body to work harder to stabilize and balance during exercises.  This increases balance, calorie burn, heartbeat, and stamina.  You may even hit muscles that you didn’t know you had.

⇒ If you have any comments or questions about the benefits of working out with a weight vest, please leave a message below and I will respond.


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How Much Weight Should You Use?

This depends on the individual and their physical goals.  For endurance, you won’t need as much weight because you will be wearing it for a longer period of time.

Since most weighted vests are adjustable, you can start out with 5%-10% of your body weight and slowly go up from there.  Your body should quickly get used to this weight, so then you will know if it is enough.

For strength training, try 10%-15% of your body weight and slowly go heavier.  Too much weight can result in injury, so be cautious.


What to Look For in the Best Weighted Vest

Most importantly, be sure to choose a weight vest that aligns with your personal training goals.

Being Adjustable

The most important thing is to make sure that the vest weight is adjustable.  Most weighted vests either come with additional weights or they can be purchased.  Usually, they come in 2-5lb increments.

This is important since your body will get stronger each time, and you will want to increase the weight to keep things challenging.

Amount of Weight

What's A Weighted Vest For - man doing pullup with weight vestBe sure to purchase a vest keeping in mind what you will be doing with it.

For endurance exercises such as running or walking, a low profile, thinner, lighter vest may work best.  These usually go up to about 45lbs.

For strength training, get a heavy duty vest that comes with plenty of weight.  You will probably need one that can increase to over 50lbs.  Some can even hold up to 150-200lbs!


You get what you pay for.  The least expensive will be the fixed version where the weight can’t be adjusted.  Spend the extra money to get one that is adjustable.

Look for one that already comes with the weight bars or plates.  Some vests can be quite expensive and on top of that, require the weights to be purchased separately.

⇒ If you have any other questions or any comments on what to look for in a weighted vest, please leave a message below and I will respond.


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Weight Vest Studies

As far a performance goes, research has shown that the use of weighted vests makes a convincing difference.  Here is just one of the many studies that we found interesting.

One study shows that when sprinting, the leg muscles generate significantly more force in the lower body.  When taking off the vest at speed trials, the test group made massive improvements in strength, acceleration, and strength.  There were also noticeable differences in speed, power, and agility.


Possible Weight Vest Negatives

None of the research on weighted vests suggests that there is anything unsafe about using them.  Common sense is important, especially when using the heavy duty vests with maximum weight.

Aerobic activities such as running put even more stress on the joints when carrying extra weight.  Beware of this if you already have trouble with your joints.

If you’re wearing a weight vest for an extended period of time, it may cause soreness and aggravate the lower back and neck.  Listen to your body and use your vest for limited amounts of time until your body gets used to the change.

If you have any pre-existing physical conditions, definitely consult with your physician before using a weighted vest.


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What’s a Weighted Vest For – Wrap Up

What's A Weighted Vest For - man doing thrusts with weight vestA weighted vest is used to increasing strength, stamina, speed, and cardio endurance.  Both clinical studies and real life comparisons show proven benefits when using added weight during exercising.

This additional weight on one’s frame builds muscle fiber faster so when the vest is removed, there is a noticeable increase in performance.

Besides boosting strength, a weighted vest also increases calorie burn.  This means that a weight vest is also beneficial to fat burn and getting toned.

⇒ If you have any questions or comments on what’s a weighted vest for, please leave a message below and I will respond.


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