The Best Weighted Vest Exercises For Your Workout Routines

Athletes and exercise participants have always been found to want to maximise every bit of their workout schedule. In the pursuit of fitness excellence, convenience and optimisation, they are constantly seeking ways to elevate their workout routines, challenge their bodies, and progressively overload exercises.

One such piece of equipment that is heavily used in this world is the weighted vest. This unassuming yet adaptable piece of equipment has become a staple for those looking to add an extra dimension to their exercise regimen. As we dive into the realm of fitness accessories, the weight vest emerges as a game-changer, promising increased intensity, versatility, and an adaptable approach to strength and endurance training. This blog aims to explore the benefits, exercises, and considerations that make the workout weight vest an indispensable tool for anyone committed to reaching their fitness goals and turning up the intensity of their training.

What is a Weight Vest?


Before delving into the myriad benefits of incorporating a weight vest into your workout routine, it's crucial to understand what this piece of equipment entails. A weight vest is a vest-like garment that is worn over the upper body, typically designed with pockets to hold small weight increments. The purpose of the weight vest is to add resistance to your body, intensifying the effort required in various exercises and activities.  It makes certain exercises that may have been difficult to progressively overload possible to include in a progressive workout plan.

Benefits of Exercises With a Weighted Vest

1. Increased Intensity and Potential to overload exercises: One of the primary advantages of using a weight vest is the ability to increase the intensity of your workouts. By adding resistance to your body, you engage your muscles more intensely, due to the added mass. This is particularly beneficial for individuals looking to enhance the effectiveness of bodyweight workouts or calisthenics. It’s also great for those looking to enhance the effectiveness of their cardio workouts.

2. Improved Strength and Endurance: Weighted vests are effective in building strength and endurance. The additional load challenges your muscles, making them work harder during exercises. Over time, this can lead to improved strength and stamina, as you apply the FITT principle to your training.  Intensity is a vital part of progressing in your strength and fitness and this piece of kit allows you to do that with relative ease and accuracy.

3. Versatility in Exercise Variation: Weight vests are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide range of exercises. Whether you're into bodyweight exercises, cardio workouts, or strength training, a weight vest can add a new dimension to your routine by increasing the ease at which the workout can be overloaded. This versatility makes it a valuable piece of equipment for those looking to diversify their workouts and prevent plateauing.  It also makes it extremely valuable to those who want to benefit from a home gym setup.  The fact it is so versatile, affordable and takes up little space, makes it a great addition to a home gym.

Why is a Weight Vest a Useful Piece of Home Exercise Equipment?

image of man wearing a Core Strength weighted vest

1. Convenience and Accessibility: One of the key reasons a weight vest is a useful piece of home exercise equipment is its convenience and accessibility. Unlike bulky gym machines, a weight vest is compact and easy to store. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals who prefer working out at home or have limited space.

2. Affordability and Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to larger home gym equipment, weight vests are relatively affordable and cost-effective. This makes them an attractive option for those who want to enhance their workouts without breaking the bank. Investing in a quality weight vest can provide a significant return in terms of the variety and intensity it adds to your exercises.

3. Solo Workouts with Maximum Impact: Weight vests are designed for solo workouts, allowing individuals to tailor their exercises to their specific needs and goals. Whether you're focusing on bodyweight exercises, running, or strength training, a weight vest ensures that you can maximise the impact of your workouts without relying on a gym or workout partner.

Best Weighted Vest Exercises for Upper Body

1. Push-Ups: Adding a weight vest to your push-ups increases resistance, targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps more intensely.  You must be sure to keep the lower back, core and glutes engaged to prevent sagging in the lumbar area of your spine.

2. Pull-Ups: Wearing a weight vest during pull-ups challenges your back and biceps, promoting muscle growth and improved upper body strength.  As you move through your workouts week to week, you can add a little more weight to your pull ups making sure that the progression isn’t just reps or sets.

3. Dips: Dips become more challenging and effective for the triceps and chest when performed with the added resistance of a weight vest.

4. Planks: Elevate the difficulty of planks by wearing a weight vest, engaging your core and shoulders to a greater extent.

Best Weighted Vest Exercises for Lower Body 

1. Squats: Incorporating a weight vest into squats increases the load on your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, contributing to greater lower body strength.

2. Lunges: Walking lunges or stationary lunges become more demanding when wearing a weight vest, enhancing the workout for the quadriceps and glutes.

3.Box Jumps: Take your box jumps to the next level by donning a weight vest, challenging your leg muscles and improving explosive power.

4. Step-Ups: Step-ups with a weight vest intensify the focus on the quadriceps and glutes, making it a superb exercise for lower body development.

What to Look for in a Good Quality Weighted Vest?

1. Adjustable Weight: Opt for a weight vest that allows you to adjust the load. This versatility is crucial for tailoring the resistance to your fitness level and specific workout requirements.

2. Comfort and Fit: A good quality weight vest should offer a comfortable and secure fit. Look for vests with adjustable straps and padding to ensure that it sits snugly on your body without causing discomfort.

3. Durability and Material: Consider the durability of the weight vest and the materials used in its construction. Look for vests made from high-quality, breathable materials that can withstand the rigors of regular use.

4. Even Weight Distribution: The best weight vests distribute the added weight evenly across your torso. This ensures that your movements are natural and that no specific area is overly strained.

Is Running A Top Weighted Vest Exercise?


Yes, running in a weighted vest is a popular and effective way to enhance cardiovascular fitness and build leg strength. However, it's crucial to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase it as your endurance improves. Running with a weighted vest adds resistance, increasing the intensity of your workout and potentially improving your running performance over time.

Running in a weight vest can offer several potential benefits, although it's important to approach this type of exercise with caution and proper technique. Here are some potential advantages:

  1. Increased Intensity:
    • Adding weight to your body increases the overall resistance, making the workout more challenging. This can enhance the intensity of your run, potentially leading to improved cardiovascular fitness.
  2. Strength and Endurance:
    • Running with a weight vest engages more muscles, especially in the core, legs, and upper body. This can contribute to increased strength and endurance over time.
  3. Caloric Expenditure:
    • The added weight increases the energy expenditure during your run. This can potentially lead to a higher calorie burn, which may be beneficial for weight management and fat loss.
  4. Bone Density:
    • Weight-bearing exercises, like running with added weight, can contribute to increased bone density. This is particularly important for individuals looking to improve or maintain bone health.
  5. Variety in Training:
    • Incorporating a weight vest into your running routine adds variety to your workouts. This can help prevent boredom and keep your training sessions interesting and challenging.
  6. Simulates Real-Life Conditions:
    • For individuals involved in activities that require wearing a backpack or carrying equipment (such as hikers, military personnel, or emergency responders), running with a weight vest can simulate the conditions they may encounter in their daily activities.

However, it's crucial to keep in mind some important considerations:

  • Gradual Progression:
    • Start with a light weight and gradually increase it as your strength and fitness improve. This helps prevent injuries and allows your body to adapt to the added load.
  • Proper Form:
    • Maintaining good running form is essential. Carrying extra weight can alter your posture and gait, so be mindful of your technique to avoid strain on joints and muscles.
  • Appropriate Gear:
    • Ensure that the weight vest is properly fitted and designed for running. It should distribute the weight evenly and be comfortable to wear during your workout.

Remember that not everyone may benefit from running with a weight vest, and it may not be suitable for beginners or those with certain health conditions. Always listen to your body and make modifications as needed.

Final Thoughts On Weighted Vest Exercises

image of woman wearing Core Strength weighted vest

In conclusion, a weight vest can be a valuable addition to your workout routine, offering a myriad of benefits for both upper and lower body development. The versatility, convenience, and cost-effectiveness of weight vests make them an appealing choice for individuals looking to elevate their fitness journey. Whether you're focusing on bodyweight exercises, strength training, or cardio workouts, incorporating a weight vest can add a new dimension to your routine, helping you achieve your fitness goals more effectively. So, should a weight vest be part of your workout routines? The answer is a resounding yes, especially if you're looking to take your fitness to new heights with challenging and rewarding exercises.

If you fancy giving one of the most well known Weight Vest workouts a go then give this is a try:

Wearing a 10kg Weight Vest for time:

1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 Squats
1 mile run

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