Working out consistently demands a set of specific mental traits. Motivation, consistency or discipline are decisive factors to keep on returning to the gym regularly. However, even regular gym-goers sometimes struggle to vary the difficulty level or intensity of workouts. And that’s where weighted vests can help.
Weighted vests are one of those things whose name immediately reveals its purpose. It’s a vest, a piece of clothing like a coat but without sleeves that reaches to the waist (hence, designed to be worn over your torso), with weight on — usually ranging from 5 to 30 kg. Yet, besides making you look like a bodyguard or in the army, how can weighted vests help you achieve your fitness goals?
Weighted vests increase the challenge of any exercise. Plus, due to their versatility, you can use them to spice up your training sessions, adding a little extra challenge to different activities. You can increase your upper body strength and add extra weight to bodyweight exercises such as push-ups or pull-ups. Since their a form of added resistance, you can also use them to make a running session more challenging or to work on your anaerobic capacity, jumping with that added weight.
It shouldn’t be a shock, but running with a vest on demands more from your body, and that will enhance your cardio capacity and resistance over time. One study also proved that running with a weight vest burns significantly more calories than without one, making these vests a fantastic cardio exercise tool to help you improve your cardio power.
Weight vests will help you grow your muscles overall, but you’ll feel its impact more significantly in your core. The reason is easy to explain: the extra weight will force your body to adjust, and since the vest sits above your midsection, your core will have to come forward and help you correct your posture. Otherwise, that can lead to pain in your lower back. It’s precisely that need for a correct posture that will help you strengthen your core.
With a strong core comes enhanced balance. Yes, the balance might be something you look down on, but the fact is that you need it to perform the most basic tasks: walking, standing, shifting weights from one hand to another or even picking up something from the floor: all these tasks require good balance. As you get old, you’ll lose it, and vests are a great way to ensure your balance lasts for years.
Wearers of this vest will also improve their overall strength. You can target specific sets of muscle, sure; however, since your body will have to adapt to the extra weight, it will demand more from a larger group of muscles. Weight vests work differently than adding more weight to a dumbbell or barbell since you’re wearing them. This way, your body will have to compensate for that extra weight. Plus, you can have strength workouts with your vest on, duplicating the strength needed.
In short, weighted vests can add an extra challenge to your workouts, making them more demanding and fun while you reap the benefits we’ve listed above. However, we advise you to take it slowly: if you’re really into starting to wear one, start light and progress from there.