Adding a weighted vest to your training can increase the intensity of many exercises and workouts.
How to Enhance Your Training
Wearing your weighted vest will increase the resistance and the training effect.
Cardio training like walking, running and even rock climbing can benefit greatly from your vest, but won’t be much use when cycling or rowing, and stay away from the pool unless you are doing some type of specialized and supervised survival swimming or rescue training.
There are however, two types of training that will not benefit from wearing a vest:
- Machines – other than the general added resistance of wearing the vest, your training on a fixed weight machine will not improve your workout and may interfere with your movement.
- Most free weight exercises – most resistance exercises using barbells and dumbbells will not benefit from a weighted vest and again, may restrict movement.
Use Your Vest Correctly
To avoid injury, painful friction, rubbing or restriction, ensure that your vest fits snuggly and hugs your body tightly.
It should not affect your breathing, but should be snug. If you have a choice, use a vest that is adjustable through a series of straps or velcro enclosures.
Also ensure you use proper form and full movements when training, correct form produces the best results.
Benefits Of Weighted Vest Workouts
1. Increased resistance – more resistance equals more muscle or more intensity and training effect. Most vests also allow you to vary the amount of extra weights that you can put in/on which can provide greater intensity and added core and functional training effect.
2. Increased power and endurance – extra weight and resistance when worn during agility or plyometric training will greatly increase power and quickness. Wearing your vest when training for a 5K or greater race will noticeably increase your speed and endurance when you remove the vest (and resistance).
3. Increased intensity – You can increase the intensity (and effectiveness) of any exercise by increasing the resistance or cadence (speed) that you perform that exercise. Try a weighted vest in your training system to experience a more challenging workout experience. The increased intensity also works to strengthen your abdominals and builds your core muscles.
4. Increased weight loss – more resistance and more intensity burns more calories. Added pounds of your weighted vest add resistance and increase intensity during your workout, forcing your body to work harder and burning many more calories than usual – an additional 7-10 percent more each workout.
5. Increased bone density – resistance training increases bone density, your bones become more dense and stronger to support your new muscle mass. A weighted vest can be helpful for aging individuals and postmenopausal women and those at risk for osteoporosis. Weighted vests strengthen bones, making them less likely to be fractured.
6. Improved posture – your weighted vest encourages proper body mechanics, improved balance, and improved body posture. Combined, these can reduce the occurrence of some sports-related injuries. The vest also provides additional support to your back muscles while performing physical training.
Plyometrics In Your Weighted Vest
Wearing a weighted vest while performing plyometrics will explode your training. Regardless of your sport, adding a weighted vest while training will maker faster, stronger and a better athlete.
There are several important tips to keep in mind if you are going to start plyometric training with a weighted vest including:
- Start slowly and focus on your form: start your plyometric training before you implement a weighted vest into your workout. Make sure you have good form in your workouts then add the vest. When you add the weighted vest you will be increasing the force on your muscles greatly and you want to have base strength and stability to handle those forces.
- Start with about 3% of your total body weight and gradually increase to about 10% of your bodyweight. Once 10% is too easy, increase gradually to increase the intensity and challenge.
- For an additional challenge, wear your weighted vest all day during your normal daily activities, not just during your workouts.
Bodyweight Training In Your Weighted Vest
For many people, body weight won’t provide the necessary resistance to get a good workout within a normal rep range. Pull ups on the other hand typically have the opposite problem, too much body weight so that you can’t perform enough proper repetitions.
A simple way to add resistance to these bodyweight exercises is to use your weighted vest.
This can easily provide between 5 and 10 kilograms (about 10-20 pounds) of extra resistance to these exercises. After adding weight and resistance, add some speed.
As an example, when performing your “vest” squats, add jumps at the end of each rep and you are now doing more work in less time. This will increase the intensity and effectiveness of the workout.
Again, add the power and speed element (plyometrics) by adding jumps between reps.
Wear your vest for all of your upper body training, pull ups, chins and pushups.
Sample Weighted Vest Workout
Overhand pull-up – Pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar.
Plank push-ups – Push ups from the plank position.
Pistol squats – Lift one foot up and hold it out. Squat down, then stand up.
Abs walkout – Walk your hands forward until your stomach is just above the floor then reverse.
Box jumps – Using a thigh-high box, squat and swing your arms back. Jump up onto the box. Step down and repeat.
Sprawls – Similar to a burpee. Jump (sprawled) to the ground landing in a push-up. Quickly stand up and repeat.
Skater jumps – Cross your left leg behind your right and do a half squat. Jump up and swap arms and legs.
Prisoner squats – Place your fingers on the top of your head and squat. Pause at the bottom and hold and then repeat.
Mountain climbers – From the pushup position, bring your left knee toward your left elbow, then alternate sides.
Remember that a good weighted vest should feel snug and comfortable at the start of your workout, but needs to make you feel comfortable until the end of your workout. Chose an adjustable vest that you can adjust and allows you to add weight as you become more fit.
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