5 Best Weight Vest Workouts: Training Benefits + Users Guide
Weighted Vest Workout – Introduction
What are the best weight vest workouts and their benefits?
With bodyweight training, you can work out anywhere and anytime, and the exercises are mostly very functional and joint-friendly.
But, best of all, bodyweight training means you don’t have to join a gym, which, judging by what some establishments charge for membership, could end up saving you a small fortune!
However, there are disadvantages to bodyweight training, and the biggest one is probably your body weight!
Training with just your body for resistance means that you’ll have to work out with a fixed load.
This could make some exercises less effective than others.
If only there was a way to lose or gain weight at will…
Good news, fitness fans – you can make your bodyweight workouts a whole lot more effective by strapping on something called a weight vest.
While you will probably look like you’re wearing combat body armor, wearing a weight vest will make almost any bodyweight exercise more challenging and effective.
This article reveals the benefits of wearing a weight vest, discusses some of the best weight vest exercises, and provides you with five great weight vest workouts to try.
8 Great Benefits of Weight Vest Workouts
Not sure if you need to add a weight vest to your workout wardrobe?
Consider these benefits and then decide.
#1. Progressive resistance for bodyweight exercises
The main way to make bodyweight exercises harder is to do more reps.
For example, you might start off by doing sets of 10 push-ups, working up gradually to doing 20 or more.
But where do you go from there? 25 reps? 50? 100?!
While doing more reps will make your workout harder and improve your endurance and conditioning, it will also lead to longer workouts and can even become boring.
Plus, very high reps are not very useful for building muscle mass or strength.
Using a weight vest means you can gradually increase your body weight instead of doing more reps, making your workouts more challenging and time-efficient.
#2. Burn more calories
Wearing a weight vest increases the effort you have to use to move around.
If you look at calories burnt per hour charts, you’ll see that energy expenditure is higher for those who weigh more.
Wearing a weight vest means your muscles have to work harder to support and move your increased body weight, and that means more calories burned.
A weight vest can increase your energy expenditure by 10-15 percent per workout.
If you want to lose fat and get leaner, wearing a weight vest could help.
#3. Build muscle and strength
The best way to build muscle and strength is with heavy weights.
High rep training won’t do it.
Wearing a weight vest means that exercises that are typically associated with muscular endurance and fitness become bonafide strength and muscle builders.
#4. Level the workout playing field
Do you train with someone less fit than you?
Put your workout on a more even keel by wearing your weight vest.
That way, you can increase the difficulty of your workout without making significant changes to the structure or duration.
For example, if you plan on going for a run with a less fit friend, wearing a weight vest will slow you down and force you to work harder despite the slower pace.
#5. Improve your fitness
Carrying the extra mass of a weight vest during your workout won’t just challenge your muscles; it’ll work your heart and lungs harder, too.
Wearing a weighted vest can help make any workout more cardiovascularly demanding, leading to significant improvements in your fitness.
#6. Better posture
Wearing a weight vest makes you more posturally aware.
Leaning forward or backward means the weight won’t be over your base of support, and you’ll feel when you are standing or sitting up straight.
If you tend to slouch during your workouts, wearing a weight vest could be the best cure.
It’ll also strengthen your core.
#7.vVariable workout intensity
Owning a weight vest means you can do lower reps for some workouts and higher reps for others.
This is an excellent way to expose your muscles to various training stimuli.
For example, you might do five sets of six reps of pull-ups wearing your vest for one training session.
Then, a few days later, do three sets of 12 reps without weight.
This contrast can help keep your workouts varied, interesting, and productive.
#8. Improve your bodyweight exercise performance
A few weeks of weight vest training will improve your performance of your bodyweight exercises.
For example, after doing weight vest push-ups, doing them without your vest will make things feel much easier, and you’ll have no problem pumping out more reps.
The Best Weight Vest Exercises
You can wear a weight vest for almost any bodyweight exercise, although some vests may not be suitable for exercises that involve lying on your front or back, for example, sit-ups, and crunches.
Good weight vest exercises include:
- Inverted rows
- Split squats
- Bulgarian split squats
- Air squats
- Sissy squats
- Squat jumps
- Box squats
- Box jumps
- Jumping rope
- Elliptical trainer
Weight Vest Workouts
While there is nothing to stop you from just wearing a weight vest for your usual workout, you may get better results if you follow a more structured plan.
Here are five of our favorite weighted vest workouts.
Note: Wearing a weight vest will significantly affect the difficulty of your workout, and a little weight goes a long way, so don’t go too heavy too soon.
So, if you are new to wearing a weight vest, start off with about 8-10% of your body weight and gradually increase.
Also, more weight means more impact, so take care with exercises such as; box jumps, running, jump rope, or jumping jacks.
Finally, remember to warm up before and cool down after every workout.
Remember, if you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time to workout!
Note: Don’t wear your weight vest for your warm-up and cooldown.
Walking while wearing a weight vest turns what is usually a relaxing activity into something much more demanding, especially if you pick up the pace or head uphill.
How far should you walk?
Probably not as far as you think!
Start off with a brisk mile or so and increase from there.
However, walking with or without a weighted vest is not the only game in town for burning calories.
When it comes to burning massive amounts of energy, deadlifts are hard to beat!
See How to Burn Over 500 Calories in One Deadlift Workout or squats for more information.
#2. Cindy in a weight vest
Cindy is a popular CrossFit workout during which you do as many rounds as possible of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats in 20 minutes.
It works all your major muscles is a short workout that’s perfect for time-pressed home exercisers.
Cindy is tougher in a weight vest, so it’s a good idea to reduce the reps and the overall duration.
So, for this workout, do as many laps as possible in ten minutes of 3 pull-ups, 6 push-ups, and 9 air squats to accommodate the extra load you’re hauling.
#3. The leg killer
Don’t worry; you can build and strengthen your legs with this simple yet effective bodyweight and weight vest leg workout.
Do three sets of the following exercises, aiming for 10-15 reps per set.
Rest 60 seconds between sets.
- Squat jumps
- Bulgarian split squats
- Box squats
- Walking lunges
- Single-leg calf raises
#4. Cardio four ways
Build fitness, burn calories, and strengthen your legs with this simple workout.
After your warm-up, head out (or use a treadmill) and do the following:
- Walk two minutes
- Jog one minute
- Run one minute
- Sprint one minute
Repeat this sequence four times to a total of 20 minutes, or six times for 30 minutes.
5. Push-pull-legs workout
This workout trains all your major muscles with six compound exercises.
The exercises are divided into two mini circuits, so, as well as building muscle strength and size, you’ll also get a short but intense cardio workout.
Do three circuits of the following:
- Push-ups x 8-12
- Inverted rows x 8-12
- Bulgarian split squats x 8-12 per leg
Rest a moment, and then do the next set of circuits with these exercises:
- Dips x 5-8
- Pull-ups x 5-8
- Squat jumps x 5-8
5 Best Weight Vest Workouts – Wrapping Up
Bodyweight exercises are fantastic, but if you are serious about getting as strong, muscular, or fit as possible, your body may not provide the resistance you need for effective, time-efficient workouts.
You could just strap on a backpack to make your bodyweight exercises harder, but that isn’t the most comfortable or practical solution.
The same is true for dipping/pull-up belts.
Weight vests on the other hand, allow you to alter your body weight and make your workouts more productive.
Most are comfortable and adjustable, so you can use as little or as much extra weight as you want.
Remember to start light and increase gradually – using too much weight too soon could lead to injuries.
You don’t even need to train in your vest to benefit from it.
Instead, you can wear your vest for regular activities like walking, gardening, or cleaning to burn more calories each day.
As you have learned, weight vest workouts are a terrific way to improve your fitness and achieve a body transformation.
But, what if you are not yet up to doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and box jumps?
Is there an alternative?
The good news is that strength training is an excellent way to transform your body if you cannot perform standard bodyweight exercises.
How would I know?
Only ten years ago, my 275lb body could not eke out even one pushup!
And due to a torn meniscus, I did not have the mobility to do squats.
Over time, pushups, as well as other bodyweight exercises including squats, became more manageable as I got leaner and stronger.
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