Have you ever used a weighted vest? Weighted vests are training aids that can help boost metabolism, improve resistance for muscle training, and increase endurance.
I thought so, too, which is why I set out to find the best weighted vest available and learn how to use it in a safe and effective manner. Keep reading if you want to check out my weight vest reviews and learn how to get the most out of this simple workout accessory.
1. ZFOsports Adjustable Weighted Vest
If you’re looking for an adjustable weighted vest, this is a great option. I liked that you could add resistance as needed in 2.5 pound increments.
One size fits most and comes with a Velcro belt that holds the vest tightly to your body, making workouts as comfortable as possible.
2. RUNFast Max Pro Weighted Vest
If you don’t want to worry about setting your vest up, this version by RUNFast allows you to choose your preferred weight and have the vest shipped to you ready to go.
You can remove and adjust the weights as you progress. A manufacturer’s warranty is included with your purchase.
My first impression of this vest was that it was very durable. Most of the weight does rest on your shoulders though, so don’t overdo it.
3. Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Unisex Adjustable Weighted Vest
This thin profile vest provides you with a full range of motion. The fabric stretches and is odor resistant.
The sides are open to allow ventilation. The sides also lace, giving you a highly-adjustable fit. You’ll receive ten pounds of weights with the capacity for more.
This is a great vest for cardio workouts because of how thin and comfortable it is.
4. Empower Weighted Vests
This weighted vest is geared towards women. It fits most body types and evenly distributes weight and resistance.
The vest is soft and comes in a light but effective 8-pound weight. It’s easy to keep clean, and the unique X-shape is more comfortable than bulkier vests. This is possibly the best weighted vest for running.
5. MIR Women Adjustable Weighted Vest
Here’s another women’s vest that’s made to be comfortable. The MIR weighted vest design fits women from 5’ to 7’ and includes 30 pounds of weights.
The adjustable Velcro belt lets you make the vest as tight as you need, so you can go about your routine without being annoyed by the fabric. The weight can be adjusted in three pound increments so you can start light and slowly move up as you progress.
6. Pure Fitness Adjustable Weighted Training/Exercise Vest
I loved how snug and secure this vest felt. It was flexible and allowed me to do cardio or weight training without feeling held back.
The included weights are filled with sand and easy to insert or remove as needed. The sand conforms to your body for a more comfortable experience.
A great feature of this vest is that it includes reflective trim, which helps make night-time jogging safer.
7. UFC Weighted Vest
This is a simple 15-pound weighted vest with an open design. Though simple, it’s still comfortable and effective. It uses a ribbed construction that prevents the vest from squeezing too tight. Workouts are more comfortable and effective.
The vest includes a manufacturer's warranty and is ideal for walking, running, yoga, boxing, or just wearing around the house while completing a few chores.
This was one of my favorite vests because it didn’t include extra slots or pockets. Even though I couldn’t adjust it, I still liked how it made me sweat a bit more and feel like I was being more active.
8. CAP Barbell Short Adjustable Weighted Vest
I love backpacking because it gives me an effective workout without making me feel like I’m exercising. So I decided to mimic this by wearing this vest while walking on an inclined treadmill.
It felt like the real thing, just without the awesome scenery. I did get pretty warm with the vest, but that’s to be expected. The vest sits higher than most, which is great for doing pull-ups and push-ups.
My only complaint is that the Velcro is very loud coming off. If you’re working out during the early morning hours, it can be quite jarring.
9. Cross101 Camouflage Adjustable Weighted Vest - without Shoulder Pads
I found this to be the best weighted vest for CrossFit. I wasn’t crazy about the camouflage pattern, but if you’re a fan of the pattern, you’ll love it.
The Cross 101 weight vest could also be great for hunters heading to their blinds or shacks. But other than the pattern, the quality of the workout vest is great.
There are a variety of models to choose from, starting as low as 20 pounds and going up to 140 pounds. The weights can be removed and switched out as you progress. One size fits most and it does include a manufacturer’s warranty.
10. Fun and Function's Red Weighted Compression Vest
Weighted vests can be used with small children diagnosed with autism or similar disorders by helping to soothe their senses. The weights are designed to feel like a reassuring deep hug. The calming benefits can be tremendous.
The vests come in four different sizes and are made from neoprene, providing stretch and compression. You’ll receive two ½ pound weights and four ¼ pound weights. This is not a weighted vest for working out, but rather a coping tool for autism, hyperactivity, or other sensory processing disorders.
What Muscles Do Weighted Vests Strengthen?
I don’t rely on a weight vest to help tone or strengthen muscles. Instead, I rely on my vest to simply intensify the workouts I’m already doing. I wear it when I’m doing cardio or when doing certain exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, and dips.
Wearing a vest alone won’t do much for your muscles. But wearing it while you work on certain muscle groups can help speed up your results.
What Are the Different Types of Weighted Vests?
There are a few different types of weighted vests. The one that’s right for you will depend on your preferences and how each feels to you.
Some vests have weighted plates sewn into the material. Other vests give you more control and allow you to slide plates into the vest, which is great if you hope to increase the weight you use in the future.
Other vests don’t use plates, instead relying on sealed packets of either sand or ball bearings. When trying to choose a vest, look out for straps or pockets that could be uncomfortable.
Make sure to try your vest on right away to see if there are any issues with feeling unbalanced. Also, make sure that pockets with weights are properly sealed so they don’t fall out during your workout.
How to Choose the Right Weight for Weighted Vests
You’ll want to make sure you’re using the best weighted vest you can. Here are a few factors to take into consideration:
What do you need it for?
Are you going to wear your weight vest while doing cardio or weight training? There are better options for either activity, so a little research will be in order. Cardio calls for a lighter vest, while weight training calls for a bulkier vest.
Do you need to adjust it?
Some vests come as is, meaning whatever weight they are is the only option you have. Others allow you to switch out weight plates and customize the weight of your vest based on your activities.
What’s your budget?
Finally, your budget will come into play when choosing a vest. There are some very affordable options and some that will take a chunk out of your bank account.
A less expensive vest can still be effective. Once you decide the features that are important to you, you can narrow down your choices by price.
What Are the Risks of Using Weighted Vests?
There are risks associated with using weighted vests, so be sure to use your vest as instructed. If you’ve suffered injuries before, speak with your doctor before using your vest.
The best weighted vest workouts will keep you safe when used properly, so always follow guidelines.
Back and Shoulder Injuries
If your shoulders are supporting the added weight instead of your hips, vertebrae compression can occur. This can lead to sore shoulders, pinched nerves, and general soreness.
The added weight can put more strain on your joints, especially if they’re already weak. If you notice excessive joint pain while or after wearing your vest, try wearing a lighter one until the pain stops.
What Activities are Suitable for Using a Weighted Vest?
You can do just about anything with a weighted training vest! Here are a few activities that I wear mine for:
- Body weight exercises
- Walks through the forest preserve
- Riding my bike
- Chores around the house
Vests can also be used by children and adults suffering from autism or other sensory processing disorders. The tightness helps to calm the nerves and reassure the wearer.
If you’re interested in using a weighted vest for this reason, get medical clearance first.
What to Avoid When Using Weighted Vests
Safety is important when wearing a weighted training vest, so make sure to follow these tips to prevent injury:
- Never use a vest that weighs more than 10% of your body weight when beginning a weighted vest routine. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, only use a vest that’s 20 pounds or less. Using more weight can lead to shoulder and lower back injuries.
- Jumping exercises are not recommended when wearing a weighted training vest. There is a high chance for injury. Do all your other exercises first, remove the vest, and then do any that involve jumping.
- Avoid bending too much when wearing a weighted vest. This puts too much pressure on your lower back and lower half, which can result in a lot of soreness the day after a workout.
Is Wearing Weighted Vests the Entire Day Harmful?
I don’t recommend doing this. Even if you wear a very light vest, wearing one for the entire day can leave you feeling pretty sore in the morning. You’ll also become tired and sluggish.
Your shoulders, neck, legs, and lower back are also put at risk for injury if you wear a weighted vest for an entire day. If at any point while wearing a workout vest you begin to feel sore muscles or joints, remove the vest immediately.
Do They Help in Losing Weight?
The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. So if you eat a healthy diet that’s lower in calories while doing more cardio and strength training exercises, you will lose weight.
Wearing a weighted vest alone won’t help you lose weight, but it can help you burn more calories each day, speeding up your weight loss and getting you closer to your goal.
If you want to speed up your weight loss even more, keep stress at a minimum. One way to help with this is to use a hand strengthener on a regular basis.
Another thing a weighted vest can do is encourage you throughout the day to make better health decisions. If you wear one around the house, you’re more likely to reach for an apple when you’re hungry rather than a box of cookies.
You might also be encouraged to do a few laps around the neighborhood or do a few sit-ups. If anything, a weighted vest can motivate you to stay on track and reach your weight loss goals.
Overall, wearing a workout vest can help you decrease the amount of time you need to spend in the gym each week or help you reach your weight loss goals faster. Either way, make sure you’re using the best weighted vest for your needs.
Once you get used to wearing one, you’ll love knowing that you’re doing everything you can to speed up your results.