Weight vest exercise routines are more common than you might think. They’ve actually existed for nearly thousands of years if you think about it. During medieval times, knights regularly wore heavy armor on their bodies. This armor was even heavier than weighted vests are today.
Of course, you don’t need to wear 50 pounds of metal armor to get a good resistance workout. You can wear a modern weighted vest which is more attractive and has weight plates built into them. When you perform any type of bodyweight exercise while wearing a weighted vest, you’ll find the exercise much more difficult. But this is all part of the resistance training that you need.
The Benefit of Warming Up with a Weight Vest On
There are tons of benefits of wearing weighted vests. If you integrate weight vest training into your warmup routines, it will help you perform better a lot sooner. Movements like running and jumping will become much more impressive after warming up with a weighted vest on. But the results are different for everybody because we all have different bodies and we train differently too. However, most people find that they have more strength and speed after warming up with a weighted vest.
Rules of Weighted Vest Training
Weight vest workouts are generally safe to perform. But there are a couple of tips that you should follow anyway to ensure your safety.
1) Make it Gradual
Your back and shoulders support most of the vest’s weight as you wear it. Because of this, you should begin your workout regimen with lighter weight. Let your body get used to the weighted vest as you gradually increase the weight amount over the coming weeks. Use 2% of your total body weight as a rule of thumb.
2) Avoid Too Much Weight
The best weighted vests are designed to store up to 150 pounds of weight. You really don’t need to go this high, though. Studies indicate that excessive weight added to the vest won’t make any more of a positive difference. Start with a weighted vest that weighs about 2% of your body weight. Once your body is used to that, slowly start adding more weight to the vest until it equals around 5% to 10% of your total body weight. So, for instance, a 200-pound person would max out with a 20-pound vest and not add any more weight after that.
3) Tighten the Vest
You cannot let the vest bounce around on your body as you’re working out. That is why you need to tighten the vest to keep it securely in place. Don’t make it uncomfortably tight, but it should be tight enough to where it moves naturally with the rest of your body.
4) Standard Body Weight Exercises in the Beginning
When you first start working out with a weighted vest on your body, don’t go crazy with the plyometrics. Otherwise, you might injure yourself if you do. Just start off with simple bodyweight exercises so that you can maintain good form and reduce your risk of injury. As your body muscles become more trained, you can try more advanced exercises.
Here are our two favorite weighted vest exercise routines. We actually prepared a similar article some months ago on the same topic, but thought we should revisit this with more thorough workout plans.
Weight Vest Exercise Routine #1: Half-Minute Cardio Circuit
If you’re going to run or sprint, then you need to warm up first with a half-minute cardio circuit. Find 20 yards of available space outside and do each of the following exercises for half a minute. When you finish one exercise, go right on to the next one. This is a warmup cardio circuit which should be repeated approximately 4 times.
1) High Knee Running
Steadily run forward. With each step that you take, raise your knees in front of your body as high as possible. Keep your arms pumping too.
Use your right leg to step laterally. Your left leg should then cross in back of it. Step out again with your right leg. This time, your left leg crosses in front of the right leg. Repeat these movements and do them as fast as possible. You can give your movement some support by swinging your arms throughout the process. Once you’re done, switch sides by starting with your left leg.
3) Lateral Slides
Squat down low and move laterally. This will work your quadriceps and glutes. Try to move fast while being light on your feet. Your right leg moves to the side, and then your left leg joins it. Repeat this process without crossing your legs. After this circuit, start with your left leg this time.
4) Power Burpee
For this burpee exercise, position your body to squat and then squat down. Your hands should go on the ground. Jump your feet backward to put them on a higher plank behind you. Lower your body as if you were doing a pushup. Push your body back up and then jump your feet forward off the higher plank. While crouched down, leap straight up into the air. Keep your knees up as high as possible as you leap. Before you land, use your hands to touch your knees. If jumping is too much for you, then just skip it.
5) Mountain Climbers
Get into the high plank position. Put one of your knees to your chest. The ball of your other foot should be planted on the ground. Make your legs hop up, and then change position. Repeat this process for 30 seconds.
Weight Vest Exercise #2: One-Minute Standard Burner
The following warmup exercises are great to do prior to a strength training workout. These dynamic exercises target every major muscle group in your body. Do each exercise for one minute; moving right on to the next one afterward. Complete this circuit two times.
1) Step Ups
With a step-up platform, just step up and down on it for one minute. If you have stairs, you can walk up and down the stairs instead.
2 Prisoner Squat
Pretend like you’re being apprehended. Put your hands behind your head and keep your feet at shoulder width from each other. Now squad down for one minute. The weight should stay on your heels. Your torso should remain upright.
3) Spider Pushup
Get into a pushup position on the floor. As you lower your chest and bend your elbows, try to bring your right knee up on the side toward your right elbow. Return your right foot to its original position as you push away from the floor. Now do the same thing but with your left foot this time. Do this routine for one minute.
4) Side Plank Hold
Get down on your right side, positioning your right forearm on the floor so that it is under your right shoulder. The rest of your body should remain straight. Maintain lifted hips and stacked feet. Remain in this position for one minute or do intervals of 20 seconds if it is too much to do 60 seconds at once. When you’re done, go on to the other side.