Picture of people training in weighted vests

Weighted Vest Training Guide: Pros, Cons, & Workouts

Finding the perfect workout routine for you can be a complicated process. Learning what type of equipment works with your body is something that takes time and experience. Often, people do not want to work out for hours on end and resort to quick routines that use high tension for fast results. Heavy and unfamiliar weights can be dangerous for your body, as you do not want to overstress your muscles.

Weighted vests have become increasingly popular these days as a workout tool. The vest helps make simple exercises more challenging and rewarding. By adding extra weight, simple exercises can become much more vigorous.

However, adding a weighted vest does not come without a list of precautions. You should be well informed before deciding to use one in your training routine. Putting more weight on your body when exercising can be overwhelming, so you need to be aware of the benefits and risks before using one. Knowing the effects of using a weighted vest for working out can help you avoid complications.

This guide helps show the positive and negative aspects of training with a weighted vest so you can decide if it is right for you.

Benefits of Training Using Weighted Vests

Picture of Man Doing Pullups Wearing Weighted Vest

Added Intensity:

Using a weighted vest can increase the intensity of your workout. The vest adds weight to your core, and not your abs, which allows dynamic ranges of motion to be more difficult.


Often, the vests come with weights that are removable from the interior pockets. This design element helps you determine what weight can work for you when exercising. Additionally, as you work out over time, you can get stronger. The vest’s design can assist in adding more weight, so the intensity of your training can remain consistent as you progress. Individual weights for your vest can come in small increments, so it is easy to fine-tune the load of the vest to one that works for you.

Portable and Easy to Carry:

Weighted vests are easy to carry around and more portable than traditional equipment like dumbbells, home gyms, and more. allowing you can take it anywhere with ease. Because the vest is an article of clothing, you can complete almost all forms of workouts with the vest on your body. Having this function can mean no more carrying around heavy equipment in your hands! Also, if you are planning on taking the vest during your travels, you can fold and pack it into a suitcase. Having a portable piece of training equipment can allow you to work out more in your own home and on vacation. There are no limits to the amount of training you can do with the vest. The vest allows walking, cycling, running, and plyometric exercises to become more intense. Incorporating the vest into so many different ways to workout can enable it to become a purchase you use repeatedly.

Purchasing a weighted vest can also be useful if you have a broken finger or wrist. Since most workout equipment requires you to use your hands, the weighted vest can assist you if your hands, arms, or fingers are out of commission. Working out with the vest on can help your muscles stay active even when you are recovering from a minor or major injury. If you love working out, then you know nothing is more annoying than being unable to stay active because of an injury.

Risks of Weighted Vest Training

Making Existing Injuries Worse:

If you have preexisting problems with some of your core muscles, such as back pain or shoulder injuries, then you should speak to a doctor before trying out a weighted vest. Because of the extra weight, there can be an increase in risk regarding specific muscles and joints. If you are trying out a weighted vest and you feel pain or unnatural discomfort, consider taking the vest off or reducing the amount of weight.

Are You Healthy Enough?:

You might think your body can handle a weighted vest, but you should always talk to a doctor before trying a new exercise regimen. Weighted vests are very stressful for your heart and cardiovascular system – that’s why they work. Make sure your body can handle lighter weight vests before trying heavier weights.

An excellent way for you to be introduced to a weighted vest is to try interval training. Interval training is a form of exercise that uses short bursts of intense movement, followed by a period of rest. If you try interval training with the weighted vest on, you can introduce your body to a new type of exercise and reduce the chance of hurting yourself. If you start too fast with the weighted vest there is a chance that you can get injured without knowing it. Many exercise-related injuries appear later on, so it is best to try interval training before you start doing more extended workouts.

Poor Fit Can Lead To Injury:

Make sure you select the right size when you are looking at various weighted vests on the market. If you buy a vest that is too big, it can become dangerous, as the loose weights can disrupt your momentum while exercising. Most weighted vests come with adjustable straps that you can alter to fit to your body. However, you still should make sure that the vest is on tight, so you do not lose your balance and fall while working out.

How to Train Using a Weight Vest

Picture of a man working out in a weighted vestBefore starting your workout, make sure you have selected an appropriate amount of weight. Double check that the vest is secure around your body and there are no shifts in your balance when you begin to move. Start at a lower weight, and then build up as you go. You do not want to pull a muscle or joint the first time you use a weighted vest. Warming up your body with a slow jog before starting your work out can prepare you for the extra weight as well.

Circuit Exercises – Perfect For Weighted Vest Beginners

A great beginners workout when using a weighted vest is to make a small circuit of different dynamic exercises. Create a circuit that you can perform with breaks between each exercise. For example:

  • Start by doing 20 pushups with the vest on, followed by a 30-second break.
  • If you feel that the vest is at a comfortable weight, proceed to a second exercise, such as alternating forward lunges.
  • After the lunges, take another break before moving to a third plyometric exercise such as a jump squat.
  • You can mix and match various exercises into your circuits such as jumping jacks, deep squats, bridge planks, lateral lunges, and many others.
  • The extra weight of the vest is going to help build endurance as you proceed through your circuit, but it is crucial to take rest intervals after each exercise to make sure the weight is okay for your body.

Running in a Weighted Vest

If you want to do a more cardio-centered workout with the weighted vest, there are some concerns you should know. When you are running with a weighted vest it is vital that you have good posture, as the extra weight can be harmful. Running with bad posture, with a weighted vest on, can lead to severe back problems in the future. It is imperative that you run with your chest upright, shoulders retracted, and chin tucked in. If you are planning on running for an extended period, use a smaller amount of weight. If you are interested in running shorter sprints, a heavier increment of weight may be suitable. Knowing when to use a heavier or lighter weighted vest is important for cardio workouts. Cardio is often a long and exhausting workout, so make sure you keep checking on your body as you progress through different weight levels.

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