Best Weighted Vest for Workouts – Introduction
What are the best weighted vests on the market today?
You don’t need access to a ton of expensive gym equipment to build muscle and strength, get fitter, or lose weight.
You don’t even need to join a gym to get into great shape.
In fact, you have everything you need to work out with you right now – your body.
With bodyweight training, you can work out:
- For free!
Exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, air squats, lunges, and planks work your muscles in a very safe and functional way.
Most bodyweight exercises can be modified to match your current fitness level.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of variations you can use to make sure that your workouts are never boring.
However, there is one disadvantage to bodyweight training: your body weight!
You’ll have to use the same resistance for all the exercises in your workout and will probably need to do more reps for some exercises than for others.
For example, you may only need to do ten reps to fatigue your arms and back during pull-ups, but 30 reps for squats as your legs are considerably stronger.
Also, the most common way to make bodyweight exercises more challenging is to perform more reps.
High-rep sets can be time-consuming and boring and aren’t much good for building strength.
Thankfully, there is a simple way to make bodyweight training more challenging, time-efficient, and rewarding – use a weighted vest.
You can also use weighted fitness gear to make cardio more effective.
This buying guide reveals what to look for in a weighted vest and reviews five of our favorite models.
So, What Is A Weighted Vest, Anyway?
A weighted vest is basically a set of wearable weights that you can use to make bodyweight and cardio exercise more challenging.
For example, you can walk, jog, run, sprint, and jump rope while wearing a weighted fitness pack to burn more calories and get fitter faster.
They can also be worn for exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, lunges, and squats to increase strength and build muscle.
Most weighted vests are not unlike military body armor.
They keep the weight close to your body, so you won’t have to modify your movements much, if at all.
A good weighted pack moves as you move, and doesn’t jiggle or shift around during your training.
Most are adjustable – both in terms of size and weight.
What to Look for When Buying A Weighted Vest
There are many different weighted vests available, and some are better than others, so these are the features to look for in a great weight pack:
#1. Maximum weight
The best weighted fitness packs are adjustable, so your workouts can be progressive, that is, you can add weight as you get fitter or stronger.
However, the maximum weight varies from model to model.
For example, some are designed to hold as little as 10lbs, while others go up to 50lbs, 80lbs, or 100lbs or more.
It’s generally best to buy a heavier pack than you think you’ll need.
That way, you can “grow into it” as you get stronger.
If you buy a light vest, you may find that, within a few months, you need a new one as your current model is no longer heavy enough.
So, look for weighted fitness gear that has a decent top-end weight capacity.
Start off light but then gradually add weight week by week to ensure that your workouts are productive.
40-50lbs is a good weight vest size for most exercisers.
#2. Size and adjustability
Some weighted vests come in set sizes (small, medium, large, etc.), while others are one-size and can be adjusted.
Make sure your pack fits you correctly and that you can fine-tune the fit (usually using Velcro straps or a lacing system) to ensure that it’s comfortable and won’t move around while you are exercising.
For example, an ill-fitting weighted vest will sag down toward the floor when you do push-ups, rollouts, or planks, which can be distracting and uncomfortable.
Remember, too, that weighted vests come in different lengths, and a long pack could stop you from doing squats, lunges, etc.
Short packs tend to allow for freer movement and are also cooler.
So, if possible, try before you buy or make sure you can return your vest if it doesn’t fit correctly.
#3. Materials and construction
Weighted vests are made for regular use, but some are more hardwearing than others.
Lightweight materials like polyester and nylon are cheap and flexible but are also prone to wear and tear.
More rugged weighted vests are made from tougher materials like CORDURA, and while they’re more expensive, they will stand up to more abuse.
If you plan on using your fitness pack occasionally and mostly indoors, a cheaper, lightly constructed vest should suffice.
But, if you mean to use your weight pack every day or treat it more roughly, you’ll save money in the long run by buying something sturdier.
The weights in weighted vests vary from small metal ingots to packets of iron filings or sand to metal or ceramic plates.
Each affects the fit and feel of your vest.
Metal ingots are rigid but compact, so they give your vest a slimmer profile.
Iron filings are cheap but bulky, so they may make some exercises harder to do or reduce your mobility.
Metal and ceramic plates are expensive but are molded to the shape of your body, making this kind of vest very streamlined and less obtrusive.
However, they’re also less adjustable.
All of these types of weighted fitness gear will make any bodyweight workout more effective but each one feels different on your body.
Consider what you want from your weighted vest and choose the type of weight that best suits your workout needs and budget.
Also, consider the weight denominations of your vest.
Ideally, you should be able to adjust the load in small increments, that is, one pound at a time.
Small increases are generally best, as a little weight goes a long way!
5 Best Weighted Vests Reviewed
While you could just carry on doing regular bodyweight exercises, you’ll probably get better results if you use a weighted pack to make your workouts more progressive.
Here are five of the best weight vests for all fitness workouts, each one tried and tested just for you!
#1. CAP Barbell 50lb Adjustable Weighted Vest
- Specs - Dimensions vary depending on size selected.
- Construction - Made from reinforced nylon and polyester.
- Comfort - fully adjustable waist belt and padded shoulder straps allowing for a...
- Weight - adjust total weight by removing or adding Individual weight packets....
- Flexibility - ideal as additional resistance for any body weight training....
CAP Barbell makes good-value training equipment.
This weighted pack is constructed from lightweight nylon and polyester and has reinforced seams and stress points.
It’s adjustable so you can make sure it’s snug and secure, and it has 16 pockets so you can adjust and position the two and four-pound weight packs as needed.
This is an excellent budget-friendly vest that’s also available in 20, 40, 60, 70, 80, 100, and 150 pounds.
#2. Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Weighted Vest
- Professional-grade weight vest based on a patented design and fabric
- Comes with 10lbs of high-density steel weights with capacity for more
- Thin profile provides full range of motion
- Stretch fabric is wicking, odor resistant, cool and comfortable; open side for...
- Unisex design with side lacing for highly-adjustable fit
Some weighted fitness packs are very big and bulky.
This may be a problem if you want unrestricted movement or wear your vest for sports or things like running, sprinting, or agility training.
The Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro uses a lacing system and low-profile high-density weights for a much slimmer profile and snug fit, so you can almost forget you’re wearing it.
This pack is available in small, medium, large, and extra-large, which refers to both the size of the vest and its maximum weight capacity.
Each weighted fitness pack is supplied with 10lbs of weights, and more are available.
- Small – 20lbs
- Medium – 23lbs
- Large – 33lbs
- Extra-large – 42lbs
This Hyperwear model is comfortable for both walking and running – with little bounce, if at all.
As an added bonus, they have excellent customer support.
Walking and climbing with Hyperwear
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#3. Empower Weighted Vest for Women
- Want To Look & Feel Empowered? It's never too late to sculpt a healthier, leaner...
- Adds Intensity & Resistance to Workouts: Feel the burn when you add our strength...
- Ergonomically Constructed To Fit Your Curves: Able to fit waist sizes 24 to 48...
- Comfort For All Fitness Levels: No matter your current level in the fitness...
- Empower Is More Than A Name: Our products – designed by women for women –...
This X-shaped vest is designed specifically for the female form and is padded for extra comfort.
While most weighted vests are designed to be unisex, what is comfortable for men may not be comfortable for women.
As well as being fully adjustable, this weight vest has reflective strips for safer nighttime workouts, weighs 16lbs, and uses one-pound increments.
The shape of this Empower Weighted Vest for Women also means that overheating should be less of an issue than with other designs.
Empower Weight Pack Review
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#4. Spartan Shadow 20lb Weighted Vest with Weight Plates
- 🏆 IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE! Break a personal or team record!...
- 💪 ADJUSTABLE WEIGHTED VEST for COMFORT and MOBILITY. Crossfit vest : durable,...
- 🎁 WEIGHT VEST PLATES INCLUDED: 20LB Weight vest (Official competition 20...
- ✅ MULTIFUNCTIONAL: 20 pound Vest is now adopted by athletes in constant...
- 🔐 100% SATISFIED OR MONEY BACK GUARANTEE for 30 days. Don't purchase this...
Instead of the usual metal ingots or bags of iron filings, this weight vest uses contoured metal plates.
Totaling 20lbs, this pack fits snugly and won’t move much, even during the most energetic workouts.
The vest is highly adjustable and also has MOLLE attachment points so you can add extra pouches and pockets, for example, for a water bottle, phone holder, etc.
But, on the downside, with only two plates, this vest is not as adjustable as the others in this review.
While you can buy lighter or heavier plates, they can be expensive.
#5. miR Air Flow Weighted Vest with Zipper
Most weighted fitness gear slips over your head like a tabard and is secured with a Velcro waist strap.
This model from miR has a zip opening, so you wear it on like a jacket.
Once you’ve adjusted the sides, that means you can put your weighted vest on quickly and easily, and the fit will always be the same.
Additionally, this vest is quite a bit shorter than some of the others on review, so it should be cooler and less restrictive.
You could even wear it for core exercises, like sit-ups and crunches.
The miR Air Flow Weighed vest is available with 20, 30, 40, and 50lb maximum weights.
Still, the 50lb model is arguably the best value for money and should provide many years of reliable use.
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Best Weighted Vests – Wrapping Up
Just because you LOVE bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and air squats doesn’t mean you are limited to training with just your body weight!
Wearing a weighted vest will add a new dimension to your bodyweight workouts, making them more challenging, time-effective, and productive.
You can also wear a weighted vest to make your cardio workouts more rewarding, burning more calories and getting fitter in the process.
With so many weighted vests on the market, it can be tough to know which one to buy, but any of the five mentioned in this review is an excellent place to start.
Remember, though, that a little weight goes a long way, so don’t go too heavy, too soon.
Five to ten percent of your body weight should be sufficient initially, but you should be able to increase by a pound or two per week as you get stronger.
Discover the incredible benefits of wearing weighted fitness gear, some of the best weight vest exercises, & five great workouts to try out in this next article:
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