Everything You Need to Know about the Weight Vest
You may or may not already know that working out with weight(s) is one of the best ways to reach a variety of fitness goals: burn fat, get leaner, stronger or more powerful.
If you have already done some weightlifting (and we don’t just mean tried to deadlift twice your bodyweight), you know just how good of a feeling comes after the weighted sweat session. Yes, it might not be the easiest thing in the world (pun intended), but lifting should definitely be a part of your fitness routine.
However, have you ever considered working out with a weighted vest?
A weighted vest is a vest that is either made from a heavy metal, or has pockets that can be filled with heavy objects designed specifically for this purpose.
Its main benefit is that it weighs you down at your center of gravity (unlike any weighted object you need to hold in your arms or that you attach to your legs), allowing for better stability and balance.
It can be used by pros and beginners alike, and can add some weight to any exercise or movement you engage in, from walking the dog to complex Olympic movements.
Benefits of using a weight vest
Using a weighted vest for any kind of exercise will increase its difficulty and make what you are doing not only harder, but more beneficial for your body. The only exception to this rule are upper body exercises, which should not be done while wearing the weight vest, as you don’t want to be adding weight to your torso, as well as your arms.
A weight vest is most beneficial when paired with dynamic exercises, such and plyometrics and calisthenics, or HIIT. Using a weight vest for crossfit is also a great choice. As you are mostly using your bodyweight to perform these movements, the added weight will make them more challenging. In turn, your body will respond to the effort better. Once you remove the vest, you will feel much lighter, and will move faster and with more ease. Great when you are trying to boost your performance!
The weight of the vest will make you breathe just a little bit harder, in turn forcing your heart to pump faster. This alone means you will be spending more calories, burning more fat, and achieving results faster than you would without it. However, do bear in mind that you should never overburden yourself with too much weight. More on how to choose the right weight for your needs later.
You can also wear the vest while running or walking – as you are heavier, you will need to exert more force to move, thus making your body work harder for the same distance. Needless to say, jumping with a weighted vest on is also a great choice.
What is not a great choice is wearing the vest while doing spinning or yoga. While on the bike, you are mostly engaging your lower body, and are not moving yourself through space, only the bike. Being heavier will not boost your performance. And as yoga is all about flow, not weight, there is no point in weighing yourself down.
What weight vest should I get?
Our weighted vests can weigh from 10 to 30 kilograms, or 14 to 20 pounds with the option of adding additional plates to it, depending on what you need. They are made from durable materials and will last you well for years to come, if you take care of them properly.
All of them can be adjusted in terms of weight and size, and can be set to fit your body shape and your weight requirements. This alone is a huge benefit, as having a single vest with a single weight means you will never be able to upgrade, take your body to the next level, and will need to spend more money to get there.
If you are a beginner, you can start with the 10 kilogram mark. Anything less than that will not be of much use, and even though 10 sounds like a lot, it is in fact just enough to get you started. Remember that having weight on your torso is not the same as holding it in your hands. It allows for easier movements and keeps your arms free to perform something else.
Once you put the vest on, make sure you only do the exercises you are perfectly comfortable with. You don’t want to do them in poor form, as you risk getting injured, or working your muscles disproportionately.
Also make sure that the weight is distributed evenly, and don’t put too much on either side of the vest. It needs to make you heavier, not the exercise itself.
Tighten the vest so that it fits a bit looser than a corset, but tighter than a shirt. It needs to move with you, not shift around and move after you as you turn and shift.
As for the maximum weight you choose to wear, you should aim for around 20% of your total bodyweight, and work up to this figure slowly. Putting too much weight on all at once will not help you, rather make you slower and more sluggish.
Workouts to use weight vests with
Your weight vest training needs to be tailored to your fitness levels and fitness goals.
If you want to lose weight, wear the vest while running on the treadmill, climbing a stepper or doing jumps. You can also lift weights with the vest (remember, no isolation upper body exercises).
If you want to build up your strength, focus on lifting mostly. You should also add some plyometrics in there as well. The same goes for those among you looking to add on some muscle mass.
As we’ve already said, make sure you start slow, and add weight on as you go. Once you are completely used to the vest, you can add weight on.
If you are burning fat – no need to go to extremes with the weight, as it won’t boost your weight loss significantly. On the other hand, for those looking to bulk up, the goal is just that – to go as heavy as 20% of your bodyweight.
Weighted vest for running and walking
Running with a running weight vest is great for shorter distances, but not so much if you want to do a marathon. When you wear the vest while running, you are boosting your oxygen use, thus also working on your endurance levels. When sprinting, this can be a clear benefit. However, you don’t want to be running more than 20 miles with added weight.
When it comes to walking, the benefits are just the same – you will be using more oxygen and boosting your endurance, as well as burning more calories per mile than you would without the vest. It is recommended that you wear the vest for longer walks. This is an excellent exercise if you are just looking to start your fitness routine, and have significant pounds to shed.
The walking weighted vest boosts your metabolic rate, which is the gateway to fat burn and weight loss. Considering that walking is one of the most natural movements you can engage in, it’s clear why this is a wonderful exercise scenario.
How do you care for your weight vest
As you will be sweating in this vest, you need to ensure that you take care of it after every workout. Wipe it with water and a bit of soap after each session, and leave it to air dry. Make sure not to leave it in a gym bag or in your closet, and let it air out naturally. Don’t wash it in a washing machine.
Also make sure that you take all of the weights out before you wash it, and don’t get any of them wet.
The risk involved with a weight vest
As with any piece of workout equipment, there are certain risks involved with the weight vest as well.
If you go too heavy all at once, you can strain your muscles or spine, and cause yourself quite an injury.
Wearing the vest too loose or not adjusting it properly can lead to injury as well, as can a disproportionate distribution of your weight.
Start with a weight that feels light and you can easily up it later – rather than forcing your body to move with something it is not used to.
Remember – no matter how comfortable you feel, the vest is not a part of your body, and you need to think of it as such.
As you can see from all of the snazzy facts we have listed above, wearing a weighted vest throughout the day can help you get fitter and healthier in no time. All you need to do is move when you wear it. You don’t even have to be exercising, just running to the store or vacuuming with it will be beneficial. Don’t wear it while watching TV though – there is no benefit to being a slightly heavier couch potato.
Get your weight vest now to superset your fat burn – no time like the present to commit to a better tomorrow.
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