There are no shortcuts to getting results or dominating your transformation challenge. It takes hard work, consistency, and a well-laid plan of attack to get the results you want.
Nowhere in there does it say that you have to do “x” exercise or use “x” piece of equipment.
So often, individuals think that in order to gain strength and get results they must go to a gym and perform complicated workout routines that involve barbells, machines, and cables.
But, nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, you can get great results training in a gym with all the bells and whistles it provides, but by no means is it required.
Sometimes the most effective workouts or pieces of workout equipment are the simplest ones.
Today, we look at one of the simplest, and most overlooked, pieces of fitness equipment -- the weighted vest -- and discuss four key benefits of using it in your workouts.
4 Tips for Training with a Weighted Vest
#1 When to Wear a Weight Vest
A weighted vest can be used just about anytime you’re doing a bodyweight workout that includes movements like pull ups, push ups, inverted rows, dips, bodyweight squats, lunges, etc.
For isolation exercises like lateral raises, curls, kickbacks, etc, it won’t do much, but for compound bodyweight movements it will substantially increase the challenge.
Weighted vests are also great to wear for long walks or hikes to increase the challenge. When you are walking uphill, jogging through the forest, or going on a hike, not only do you have to move your body weight, but you’ll also have to move the added load contained in the weighted vest, which increases the total amount of work you’re doing.
We’d hasten caution against using a weighted vest for runs or sprints, as that may impart unfavorable stresses on your body.
#2 Increased Calorie Burning & Weight Loss
Building off the previous point, lifting more weight (be it in the gym or in the form of wearing a weighted vest while doing anything), causes you to work harder, which means you burn more calories.
And, if your focus during a transformation challenge is weight loss, then this is a very good thing.
Research from Sweden has shown that wearing a weighted vest (containing 24 pounds of added weight) can help accelerate weight loss compared to not wearing a weighted vest or one with very little weight (2lbs).
The really cool thing about this study is neither group added any extra workouts to their daily routine. Researchers only instructed them to live their daily lives as they normally would, albeit while wearing the weighted vest.
#3 Work Harder
For the time-strapped individual, wearing a weighted vest can help increase the efficiency of their time spent training by helping them accomplish more work in less time.
As you’re likely aware, the greater intensity with which you train, the less time you spend exercising. This is one of the main reasons so many people choose to perform HIIT over traditional steady-state cardio. Both yield the same results in terms of weight loss, but HIIT does it in a fraction of the time. The caveat is with these shorter workouts, you must dial up the intensity.
Weighted vests are an easy way to amplify intensity during training since it makes your body have to work harder to move through space.
If you’re incredibly proficient at bodyweight exercises, adding a weighted vest will increase the challenge and help you to reach failure sooner since you’re having to lift more total weight.
Higher intensity workouts also improve the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates for fuel, since glucose is the body’s preferred energy source for intense physical activity.
#4 Using It
Simply having a weighted vest isn’t enough to get the benefits of it. You actually have to use it, and as is the case with any other piece of resistance training equipment, you have to progressively overload if you want to continue seeing results.
If wearing 10-pounds has become less challenging during your workouts, try increasing the weight to 12 or 15 pounds and/or increasing the number of sets and reps you’re doing with the 10-pound vest.
Remember, though, to start slow. Training with a weighted vest, especially during movements like pull ups and dips can take some getting used to. But, with patience, persistence, and practice, you’ll gain strength, burn calories, and get the results you want!
- Claes Ohlsson, Edwin Gidestrand, Jacob Bellman, Christel Larsson, Vilborg Palsdottir, Daniel Hägg, Per-Anders Jansson, John-Olov Jansson. Increased weight loading reduces body weight and body fat in obese subjects – A proof of concept randomized clinical trial. EClinicalMedicine, 2020; 100338 DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100338