Weight Vest Training Pros and Cons: Is it Worth it or Not?

Weight Vest Training Pros and Cons

Personal trainers and fitness geeks have yet to agree on what is the weight vest training pros and cons. So, who should you listen to? Should you buy into the hype – or are you better off doing your training without one?

To add a few more drips of opinions to the bucket, I’ll give you my educated opinion – and also I’ll show you a super-effective weighted vest workout routine you can try out for yourself.


Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of training with a weight vest!

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What is a Weighted Vest? A 150 Words Introduction

Simply said:

Weight vests add extra load to your body, similar to the purpose of ankle or wrist weights.

The weight is added due to several weighted objects that are strategically placed inside pockets in the vest. The vest is tightly secured to the torso using the manufacturer’s preferred choice of strapping system.

  • Firefighters,
  • law enforcement personnel,
  • and military people use this equipment to increase their physical performance.

Even professional athletes use it to increase their strength and stamina to help prepare themselves for competitions!

In the US, weight vests are used as part of the Murph Challenge – an annual fundraiser held in memory of a law enforcer hailed as a hero.

Participants are invited to perform the CrossFit WOD (or workout of the day) while wearing body armor (weight vests) to pay tribute to law enforcement agents who wear heavy armors during life-threatening operations.


What Are The Pros of Using a Weight Vest

No one would ever wear a weight vest if they didn’t have anything beneficial to offer, right?


Let’s check out some of the pros of dressing up in a 100lbs armor will bring you:

Needed Exercise Variation

Our bodies adapt to the actions we regularly perform.

During the first few weeks to months of exercise, you’ll see an incredible increase in muscle mass and shape on the parts you’re working on.

This progress stops after some time because the muscles gets used to the same routine.


Wearing a weight vest surprises your muscles, throwing them off balance from the usual routine.

Due to the added weight, your progression will continue rather than stalling on a frustrating plateau!

Introducing new and unconventional stress to your muscles can be highly beneficial when building strength.

This is similar to how CrossFit effectively improves physical functions.

Build Strength And Endurance

The added weight the vests provide calls for extra strength from your muscles.

Like how you build up your biceps using dumbbells, carrying the vest strengthens your core muscles. Your torso and hips exert more effort to allow you to move normally despite the added stress, resulting in improved endurance.

Once you remove the vest, you’ll be able to perform your strength training routine longer than you used to.

A Cardiovascular Boost

Your cardiovascular muscles improve together with strength and endurance. The extra weight works your muscles harder, requiring more oxygen to be circulated throughout your machinery.

Heavy and fast breathing strengthens the lungs. The added resistance also improves what they call VO2 max – the efficiency of the body to deliver oxygen to muscles every minute.

If used properly, weight vests can have extensive benefits in training the cardiovascular system and increasing VO2 max.

Reference: mensfitness.com – The Weight Vest Workout

You’ll also get to lower your lactate threshold – the amount of exercise needed until lactate starts accumulating in your blood, causing exhaustion and muscle fatigue.

All these help you last longer during physical activities, taking more time before you get exhausted.


Increased Bone Growth

Your bones also become stronger through resistance training. The additional load introduced by the weight vest shocks the bones, stimulating them to reinforce the structure.

This results in thicker bone material that can handle the additional load and muscle mass.

More Calories Burned Equals Higher Fat Loss

The added resistance forces your system to exert more energy, resulting in more fats burned.

When you wear a vest weighing 10% of your body weight, your muscles exert a proportional amount of energy to complete the required action.

Simply put, wearing a weight vest increases the fats you burn by a small percentage.

Improved Posture And Balance

Wearing a weight vest isn’t easy. Not only your muscles but also your spine receives the stress brought about by the additional weight.

The correct way to train with a weight vest is to maintain proper posture at all times to avoid injuries and back pain.

What Are The Cons of Using a Weight Vest

You’ll only see the disadvantages and the cons if you fail to execute proper preparations.

Immediately wearing a weight vest without proper training and guidance could result in injuries.

Make sure you consult your fitness trainer first so you can both work on a plan on how to add weight vests to your daily routine.

5 Smart Calisthenics Exercises To Do Wearing A Weighted Vest

Remember that Mark Zuckerberg’s workout challenge that went viral a couple of years ago?

Where Zuck would strap his 16-month-old daughter to his back and do his daily calisthenics?

Well, the multibillionaire had just found a new way of adding some load to his bodweight workout, and trust us, it worked!

As I’ve already explained, adding extra weight to your calisthenics routine gets your body straining more than usual. The result? Your muscles are forced to work harder.

But guys and girls, I don’t recommend grabbing the nearest toddler for you to pour some sweat! Just slide into a weighted vest, make the following calisthenics moves, and you will feel that muscle burn within no time!

Pistol Squats: 5 Reps on Each Leg

Do you think squats are too easy? You haven’t tried pistols yet!

Pistol squats or one-legged squats are more challenging than the regular squats, as they require good balance, flexibility, and a strong core.

How To:

  • Lift your right leg up and out until it is parallel to the floor.
  • Stretch your arms forward. Your right arm should be parallel to your right leg, and the left arm should be parallel to the floor.
  • Start squatting down slowly while tightening your abs.
  • Go all the way down and then start lifting yourself up slowly
  • Do 5 reps and then switch to the left leg.

Plank Push-ups: 20 Reps

Plank push-ups target your abs, core muscles, shoulders, and arms.

How to:

  • Get to a plank position, keeping your spine straight and slowly tightening your abs.
  • Bend your elbows so that your arms and toes support your body weight. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position by straightening your arms. Hurrah! You just did a plank push-up!
  • Now repeat this 20 times. Yes, it hurts, I know.

Leg Lift: 5 Reps Each Leg

A leg lift works the lower abs, the belly, and the glutes. So, if you want to burn that belly fat, get new abs, or tighten your butt a bit, then this is it!

How to:

  • Start by lying straight on your back.
  • Keeping your abs tight and back straight, bend your knees slowly and place both feet on the ground.
  • Lift your butt a few inches off the ground such that your back makes a straight line with your thighs.
  • Raise your right leg up straight to the ceiling. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • Lower your butt to the starting position.
  • Repeat this 5 times then switch legs.

Prisoner Squats: 8 Reps

Want to frisk your lower body once more? Let’s do this!

How to:

  • Start by standing firmly on the ground.
  • Cross the fingers of both hands and place them on top of your head.
  • Start lowering slowly into a squat position, until your knees, thighs, and butt are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position by lifting your upper body.
  • Repeat this 8 times.

Mountaineering: 20 Reps

This last exercise works your core, abdominal, and leg muscles. It strengthens your spine, the abs, and the obliques.

How to:

  • Start by lying straight on the floor.
  • Raise your body slowly into a press-up position.
  • Move your right knee forward toward your right arm.
  • Hold for 3 seconds and return to the press-up position.
  • Do 10 reps and switch to the left leg.

Hardcore Weighted Vest Calisthenics Street Workout

The 15 Minutes Challenge: Weighted Vest Complete Body Workout Routine

Are you into calisthenics?

Then you’re in for a treat!

With a weighted vest, you can add extra resistance when those pull-ups are getting too easy…

This routine can be done either with or without a weighted vest, it sure as he** will “burn” either way

Start by warming up for two minutes. Do some jumping jacks or any other movements providing stimuli to all of your muscular system.

So, here’s how it’s going down:

The workout take a total of 15 minutes. You will do as many repetitions as possible during each set. When you have finished one set, rest for 30 seconds, and move on to the next exercise.

Force yourself through the workout all the way to the end. It feels great when you have made it to the end, I promise!

The routine:

  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Jump squats
  • Chin Ups
  • Diamond push-ups
  • Plank

Good luck!


Final Words: The Weight Vest Training Pros and Cons Conclusion

Whether you are into running, speed walking, high-intensity workouts, bodyweight exercises, or weight training – adding a weighted vest will bring variety and extra challenge to your exercise routine.

The pros of wearing a weighted vest include:

  • Exercise variation
  • Added strength and endurance
  • A cardiovascular boost
  • Increased bone growth
  • Increased calorie consumption
  • Improved balance and posture

As for the cons, there really only is one con…

The added weight will bring extra stress to your joints and muscles. Be sure to use a vest that fit snugly onto your torso, and that you start of carefully… Adding too much weight at the beginning might inflict an injury – so be careful and don’t overdo it!

There are several adjustable weighted vests available – all with their different features. Some come with high maximum weight capacity, while other vests focus on design and comfort. To find the model best suited your need, read review articles – and check out which vest is popular, high rated, and loved by its users.

Remember; A High price does not mean the west is a great product!

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