Many people are always wanting to push their workout that much further and weight vest training just might be the ticket to some new success. Alongside your regular weight training or cardiovascular exercise, vest training has the ability to transform your normal training and push you beyond your limits. Follow these exercises to take your next training session above and beyond.
What’s the Hype About?
Weight vest training is pretty self-explanatory, but essentially it’s any exercise performed while wearing a weight vest during the workout. Many of you have maybe heard about people wearing ankle weights to improve leg power for jumping or maybe your Granny uses some light dumbbells on her power walks. The same principle applies when wanting to add a weight vest to either a walk, a run or even some plyometrics. Many have used ankle weights in the past to improve vertical leap or even foot speed. What research has shown however is that the extra weight directly over the ankle joint not only places unnecessary pressure on the ankle joint, but also within the knee capsule. Choosing to forego the direct weight through the ankle straps and choosing to use a weight vest that your whole body will have to help support the weight is a safer and more effective way to build power.
Keep the weight vest training effective by making sure it’s properly worn during the correct exercises. Although many will want to throw on for bench press to look like a beast, this really serves no purpose. Leg movements work best when choosing to forego free weights and use the weight vest alone.
Weighted Vest Exercises
One of the best ways to use a weight vest is during an aerobic exercise, as this will provide increased resistance for an even amount during an extended period of time. Wearing a vest through your normal morning run of a couple miles will not only help with developing some extra leg strength and power, but this will also require more core muscular strength. These weight vests usually come in specific weights but many, less expensive vests, come with removable weight logs to increase/decrease the weight depending on the athlete.
Like we also touched on above, wearing the vest through anaerobic movements like sprints and jumping is also a great workout. Depending on your strength level, start with the vest maybe as light as the weight allows and then assess and go up throughout you workout. Be sure to properly warm up before using for jumping exercises, as this will be added weight and pressure to your knees that are not used to this extra baggage.
You can also incorporate a weighted vest into a variety of bodyweight exercises. Pull ups can be a great way to utilize the weighted vest. The intensity of press ups/push ups can be enhanced by using a weighted vest. By increasing your bodyweight in exercises like pull ups and push ups your body is going to have to work considerably harder to perform each exercise.
When working out your legs you could end your workout with squats or lunges whilst wearing a weighted vest to completely burn out and fatigue your leg muscles. If you are a beginner in the gym then you could even use a weighted vest to perform squats and lunges. However, for many gym goers you will not be able to put enough weight on the vest to push yourself during your squats and lunges, as you certainly can’t pile on as much weight as on a barbell!
Benefits and Drawbacks
✓ The obvious benefit of utilizing weight vests in your training is the added resistance without having to hold any weight. This allows you to perform all working sets of various different exercises with just some extra weight on your core. This also helps to stabilize the knee joint as well when performed through a set of squats. Rather than all the weight be on your back, the weight is evenly distributed throughout your torso to allow for an even work load.
✗ The most dramatic drawback to weight vest training is that when used incorrectly (too much weight) it can be damaging to joint/tendons that are not prepared to handle a certain amount of load. For example, hopping straight into some 75 lb weighted vest box jumps without warming up the knee and leg muscles, could lead to injury. Ensuring you are properly warmed up and wearing the vest correctly with help keep injuries at bay.
If you’re in dire need of burning some extra calories or if you just can’t seem to get over the hump training-wise, adding some extra resistance via a weight vest might just be the answer. Whether you’re wanting to improve your vertical lift, get faster or just get stronger overall, using a weight vest will get you there. Get ready for some hard and extra intense workouts through weight vest training!