Wear Your Weights

Best weighted vests

Wear Your Weights

Boost your bodyweight exercises with a weighted vest

Maybe you noticed all those people wearing a weighted vest posting their Murph Challenge on Memorial Day. Maybe you've seen trainers wearing the vest, which looks a little bit like battle armor. Either way, it's easy to write off this training tool as something that takes things a bit too far. But they're actually an effective and relatively simple way to boost most bodyweight exercises.

For those of us who miss the gym in this time of social distancing, the vest provides an ideal way to intensify a workout. The additional load makes your moves more effective without altering your form—which is why they're so popular in cross-training. When it comes to exercises like squats or box jumps, the vest is key to building strength and explosive power.

As for cardio training, comparative studies suggest training with the added resistance can improve both your speed and oxygen consumption. To put it another way, since the vest's weight load is directly on your shoulders and upper body, it instantly engages your respiratory muscles. Nothing revs your heart rate faster than wearing all this weight while climbing on a treadmill or running stairs. Which means you get an added boost in calorie burn and a bump in metabolism without having to go quite as hard.

So if you're looking to switch up your workouts and get more from your movements, leave the dumbbells on the rack. For general fitness and toning, go with leaner and lighter vests in the 10 to 20 pound range. For muscle building, you'll want an adjustable model that allows you to add or remove bricks to dial in the weight you want. Then start supercharging your planks, push-ups and pull-ups.

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The Best
Weighted Vests

The compact design makes for easy movement and it can hold up to 60 pounds.

Adjustable short vest,
from $159.99 by miR

CAP Padded 20-Pound Vest

Padded 20-pound vest,
$39.99 by CAP

Adurance 10-Pound Neoprene Vest

10-pound neoprene vest,
$34.99 by Adurance

With a phone pocket and water bottle holder, it's a great option for hikes and runs.

Adjustable vest,
from $43.57 by RUNmax

Inside textured panels secure placement and limit movement during exercise.

Evergrip 20-pound vest,
$89.99 by Everlast

The
Risks

Working out with a weighted vest does come with risks if you’re not conditioned for it or if you wear it too long. If you don’t maintain proper form, the extra weight can lead to injuries or sprains.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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