Whether weighted vests worth it is pretty controversial, some studies suggest that training with a weighted vest help improve VO2max, speed, and time to exhaustion. But some studies also indicate there is less relationship between these.
And some people can’t help thinking that what’s the need for extra accessories like wrist weights or weighted vests when we have different exercise equipment to target every muscle of our body?
With a weighted vest, you can get more from your workout and push yourself harder, no matter what your movement is. Training with a weighted vest is also beneficial for powerlifters, and Olympic lifters, especially on moves like squat jumps or box jumps to build strength and explosive power. And they can also be used by casual walkers or runners.
The purpose of using weighted vests by most people is to increase strength and fitness performance (faster acceleration during running).
Unlike traditional free-weight training equipment, weighted vests produce a unique training effect and help you achieve greater benefits and enhance the exercising experience in a shorter period.
What Do Weighted Vests Do?
People use weighted vests for training is because they add resistance for body-weight exercises, helping you get more out from overloaded walking, distance running, and agility and quickness (SAQ) drills as they require your lower body muscle to engage more on which help in burning more calories, increasing stamina and balance, and making the individual more flexible. Above all, help gains in strength, muscle, and faster acceleration (during running).
Weight vests add load and put additional strain on your core to simulate the fat storage areas of the human body.
This will make your cardio system work harder than normal and require more muscle to complete the full movements, giving you a more effective workout in the same amount of time without unbalancing the body’s muscles.
They can be used to add resistance to almost any whole-body movement. You can use weighted vests in bodyweight training like pull-ups and push-ups or cardio exercises like walking, running (treadmill running with a weighted vest is also a great choice), and sprinting.
These weighted vests are versatile fitness equipment that will make you fitter, increases your calorie burn, and develops explosive speed and power.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Weighted Vest?
1. Weighted Vest Makes Your Workouts More Challenging
Adding a weighted vest brings in progressive overload, which helps to keep your workouts challenging and fruitful.
When you reach a plateau exercise stage, wearing a weighted vest is an instant performance enhancer, which boosts your calorie-burning abilities by increasing heart rate, forcing the cardiovascular system to work harder, and increasing endurance levels.
Some people often complain of never losing weight though they invest 100% effort while exercising. These guys have reached the workout plateau and need to vary their exercises, frequency, reps and sets, and resistance and decrease rest time between sets.
Wearing a weighted vest brings about changes in your resistance levels and makes it challenging for you, thereby breaking the plateau.
2. Adds Strength and Endurance
Resistant exercises are a boon to your cardio system, and putting on a weighted vest makes this more beneficial. A weighted vest helps to keep your body fit, flexible, and strong.
Adding extra weights while exercising makes it hard for the body initially—your heart, lungs, and muscles start working harder, trying to adapt to the increase in weight.
Your body will continuously adapt to the added resistance when you perform under higher weight. And you will gain better strength and endurance levels with the extra resistance that’s forced onto your body.
3. Weight Loss
Losing weight is not too hard but never simple too. You need the right momentum, intensity, and frequency to burn fat without losing muscle mass.
Pursuing high-intensity exercises such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is beneficial to fat loss. In HIIT, you perform short bursts of high-intensity exercising such as sprinting or jumping jacks coupled with normal workouts such as jogging.
This cycle of alternating between high and medium-intensity might be tiresome initially, but such routines must be in place to avoid a workout plateau. Wearing a weighted vest in HIIT burns more calories and removes excess fat as rapidly as possible.
4. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Cardio workouts are advantageous to your cardio system. They are a sure-shot way to increase heart rate, boost lung functionality, and improve metabolism (an ideal way to bring about rapid weight loss) besides helping burn calories. Increasing resistance levels with a weighted vest promote all these benefits even more.
A weighted vest is an ideal choice for cardio workouts and helps improve your cardio health. The weight vests require you to push yourself harder to work on the muscles and bring about better workout benefits. You might be into cardio or strength training, but the weighted vests have no bias—they work great on any exercise you pursue.
5. Developing Your Mindset
It’s tough to train in a weighted vest. You put yourself at a disadvantage and push yourself harder. If you can consistently complete your workouts in a weighted vest, you are on the road to becoming unstoppable.
Disadvantages of Using Weighted Vests
You might be impressed by the benefits of using a weighted vest, but there are certain downsides to using it too.
1. Increases Injury-Related Problems
Many people suffer from back pain or shoulder injuries. A weighted vest might be unsuitable for use on such people as it surely aggravates their pain. It worsens your injury when extra weights are placed on your body parts.
This is even more true in people who suffer from core muscle problems. Avoid using weighted vests when suffering from such problems, and never resort to it before seeking medical advice.
2. Inappropriate Fit Leads to Injuries
Many manufacturers boast of designing a one-size-fits-all vest to boost sales volume. This makes people buy a piece of the vest without properly testing it on themselves first.
For maximized benefits, you should purchase one that perfectly fits you. Failing to do this might put you in a potentially dangerous situation as loose vests will bang against your body while exercising, resulting in taking off the momentum of exercising.
Or you can find a weighted vest that comes with adjustable straps so that they stay comfortably on your body.
Weighted vests add benefits to those who are into fitness and exercise regularly. But beginner trainers are recommended to avoid it until they get the hang of exercising routines.