Is wearing a weight training vest effective? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Is wearing a weight training vest effective?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • As with any exercise regimen, you should always consult with a physician prior to starting your workout.
  • Weight training vests work by keeping weights close to your body, aiding in core stability and strengthening.
  • The most effective weight training vests are short with weights located around the ribcage or high on the torso.

You can wear a weight training vest while doing any number of exercises.

Different vests are designed for different types of workouts, but the basic premise is the same.

Weight training vests are effective but need to be used correctly and should be authorized by your doctor along with your entire workout plan.

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What Is a Weight Training Vest?

A weight training vest is a vest that is worn close to the body. It has multiple pockets in which you can add various weights to increase or decrease the overall weight capacity.

They are usually made of nylon but can also be made of cotton or pack cloth.

Your weight training vest should be hand washed due to the numerous hook and loop closures.

Make sure all of the weights have been removed before washing and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper care instructions.

Many companies make weight training vests, so be sure to order a quality one so that your money is well invested and you are not at risk of injury.

When you order your weight training vest, order a range of weights so that you can start out light and increase the weights as your muscle groups adapt and get stronger.

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How Do Weight Training Vests Work Most Effectively?

Weight training vests work by adding core weight to your workout.

Since the weights are close to your core, a weight training vest automatically overloads your body with weight and adds resistance to your workout. This adds intensity to your workout and causes your muscles to work even harder to compensate for your extra weight.

As an added benefit to a weight training vest, when you take it off your mind will still feel the weight attached to your body.

This gives your normal activities the added benefit of your brain controlling your muscles with the belief that the weight is still there, functioning as if that same resistance is still needed.

It is similar to the sensation you get when taking off roller skates. Roller skates are attached closely to your feet and your brain becomes accustomed to the impression.

When you take off the roller skates, you still feel like you are skating for a while afterward. This assimilation is similar to how your brain responds to the weight training vest.

It is important to exercise correctly when wearing a weight training vest.

Just like you need to gradually increase your weights with dumbbells or weight plates, you need to gradually increase the weight plates in your weight training vest.

Start with a low weight that is comfortable and increase the weight as you develop tolerance to the resistance. Never use more weight than you wear comfortably to reduce the risk of injury.

It is also important to remember to use your weight training vest during compound exercises and not just isolation exercises.

Wearing a weight training vest is a great way to increase resistance during exercises like push-ups and pull-ups but it is also effective with barbell squats.

Are There Different Types of Weight Training Vests?

Just like there are different types of shoes for different kinds of activities, there are different types of weight training vests for different exercise plans.

However, in general, the same weight training vest works for the same kind of activity.

For weight training, you should have a short vest like the one described in the section above. It is the only weight training vest you need for all of your weight training exercises.

Keep these tips in mind when selecting a weight training vest:

  • If you are going to do overhead arm exercises then you may benefit from a narrow vest.
  • Walkers and runners should use a long weight training vest with wide shoulders.
  • Hikers can also intensify their workout by wearing a long vest.
  • Although basketball vests are used for athletes training in basketball, basketball weight training vests can also be used for bag work and rock climbing.
  • There are even weight training vests specially made for firefighters and the military.

When you introduce a weight training vest to your weight training routine, you should start out slowly and work up to higher weight resistance. Wear the right weight training vest for the exercises you are doing to ensure an effective workout.

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