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The Perfect Weighted Vest Workout

03rd March 2023

Those of you who frequent the gym, do exercises at home or prefer an outdoor workout may be wondering if you can somehow increase the intensity of your training with less work but better results. The answer is “yes” and it all culminates in a weighted vest workout. Much like the name suggests, you basically put a vest on top of your exercise gear.

But this vest is special. It contains added weights to add greater levels of resistance to your workout. But does this type of workout help you build muscle and lose fat? And what exercises are best to perform while wearing one? In this article, we explore the answers to these questions and more. Let’s dive in!

Do weighted vests help build muscle?

In short, when done the right way, a weighted vest workout can help you build muscle in a low-impact way. The way in which it works is that you’ll inadvertently increase your body weight and thereby add resistance to your movements.

Although your workout will be more difficult as your body will need to work harder to perform the activities you normally do, you’re much more likely to get more ripped and toned than without a weighted vest.

But that’s not all because there are many more benefits that come with such a workout. For instance, you’ll be able to:

  • Burn calories
  • Increase bone density and strength
  • Improve stamina, strength and endurance
  • Boost your cardio training
  • Preserve your muscle strength
  • Improve your core strength, posture, and balance
  • Enjoy greater cardiovascular benefits and capacity
  • See greater gains in strength-training
  • Metabolise fat more efficiently
  • Get faster speed times on some workouts

All this combined means you’ll sustain longer and more intense workouts, enjoy lower levels of stress and fatigue and keep illnesses at bay.

Does a weighted vest burn fat?

We already alluded to the fact that a weighted vest workout can help you burn calories and metabolise fat faster. Although this already answers the question of whether a weighted vest burns fat, let’s go into some of the science behind this.

Research shows that wearing a weighted vest that’s around 10% to 15% of our body weight can help you burn up to 13% more calories because the elevated heart rate helps with this. This was supported by another study which helped “untrained” women aged 18 to 55 burn 12% more calories.

There was also a 2020 study showing that the extra weight worn can help you metabolise fat faster.

What’s also interesting is that other studies have shown that when the body tries to restore its equilibrium due to the extra weight, one’s appetite also decreases and this means less consumption of calories further contributing to your weight loss goals.

Overall, when your body works harder, more oxygen is required to be pumped into the muscles. This makes your heart beat faster and leads to more burned calories and more fat shed.

How heavy should my weighted vest be?

For an optimal weighted vest workout, you should start with little added weight, building up to heavier weights as you gain more confidence and get stronger. However, the general rule is to use extra weights that are between 10% and 15% of your own body’s weight.

Anything above this should be approached with caution because it can lead to injuries and excessive strain.

On the flip side, weighted vests that are between 3% and 5% of your body weight are generally not sufficient to provide sufficient training stimulus to help you improve your strength and lose fat.

What happens if you wear a weight vest every day?

Although it may be tempting to wear your weight vest every day, it’s recommended that you only wear it during your particular weighted vest workout. Although you can do this every day, it’s not advisable to wear your vest all day long.

Wearing your weighted vest for an entire day can lead to issues such as soreness, feeling tired, muscle burn in your shoulders, neck, lower back, legs and more.

To avoid these cases, it’s advisable that you start out small and gradually build up. You can do 20 minutes at first, building up to an hour and then half-days if you like before going for a full day. But again, exercise caution because as with most things in life, too much of a good thing can be harmful.

What exercises can be done with a weighted vest?

Although some exercises and workouts such as cycling are not great for a weighted vest workout, there are many others that you can enjoy great results with. Here is our list of the top exercises at the gym, outdoors and at home.

  1. At the gym

    While at the gym, you can enjoy a fantastic weighted vest workout while doing pull-ups or chin-ups on a machine. These are great for the biceps, back, and forearm muscles. Strength training, high-intensity interval training and low-intensity steady-state training are options to consider as well. Further options you can try are weighted vest parallel bar dips that are excellent for your triceps.

  2. Outdoors

    Outdoors, you can enjoy walking, jogging, running, sprinting and hiking with your weighted vest. This is an excellent way to target your leg muscles and help strengthen your cardiovascular system.

  3. At home

    However, the greatest benefits come with your workout at home. The variety here is the greatest and you can do squats, split squats, squat jumps, deep squats, push ups, jumping jacks, planks, sit ups, burpees, lunges, jumping lunges, lateral lunges, step ups or box jumps, cardio, lateral jumps, star jumps, broad jumps, lateral shuffles, dot drills, abs walkout, shoulder taps, dips, wall sits and others.

  4. What will make these exercises even better is doing them on a vibration plate. This high-frequency plate can take your workout to the next level as you intensify it to the max. The vibration plate also offers a low-impact option for your exercises, so if running or sprinting is not for you as you’d like to protect your knees and joints, then it’s the perfect option.

Final thoughts

Wearing a weighted vest and adding it to your workout is an excellent way of building muscle and shredding fat. But to really intensify your weighted vest workout you should combine your exercises with a vibration plate. The high frequency of the plate will stimulate your muscles as you work on your exercise routine while the added weight will create greater resistance.

In fact, it’s proven that whole-body vibration with a weighted vest is able to help people lose pounds much faster than those who do regular workouts. If you want to speed up the process and enjoy greater results from your normal exercise routine, then adding a weighted vest to your vibration plate is the way to go.


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