With so many obvious benefits, we wanted to dig deeper into this new strength training trend and present you with the information you need, to decide if this is something you should add to your routine. In this article, we will talk about what a weighted vest is, how to use one, benefits of training with one, and about our specially designed weighted vest as an option to provide optimal comfort and function for your workout.
What is a Weighted Vest?
Simply put, a weighted vest is a garment, similar to a tactical vest, worn around the upper torso to add resistance to a movement. The vest typically has pockets that you can add or remove items such as weighted plates, small sandbags, or other weighted materials to increase or decrease your desired resistance training. We recommend starting out with a weight that is about 10% of your total body weight until you are comfortable enough to increase the weight without causing injury or poor form.
With all the different types available, finding the right vest can be a process, but generally you want one with adjustable straps, padding, and with a material that can breathe. Others, like our weighted vest at 1Enemy, may include special features like a functional phone pocket for convenience.
Now for the fun part. Weighted vest training can be incorporated into your daily routine in a variety of ways. But first, let's take a closer look at why we wear a weighted vest. Essentially, by wearing a vest, we are adding a simple form of progressive overload to our movement. We are adding weight, which in turn demands more energy and power, causing our muscles and our cardiovascular system to almost “overcompensate” for the movement and in the end making the original movement in itself..easier. If that makes sense. We will dive more into the benefits down below, but for now, we will talk more about how to use them.
Wearing a weighted vest can be beneficial for really all types of movement. Bodyweight exercises like pull ups, planks, push ups, or squats are some obvious examples of some exercises you can do. You really want to think about movements that work against the weight of the vest. These will give you the most benefit. Other activities like a walk around the block, going on your favorite hike, or even on those bike trails you love so much are all great ways to use this tool for muscle building, endurance, and even weight loss.
What about those days when you don't feel like going to the gym or going for a morning run? Here is where you can get a little creative. It’s always a good idea to add some meaningful movement into your day. So, even with all the pesky chores you have to do around the house, this presents the perfect opportunity to use your weighted vest! Whether you are doing laundry, gardening, or just taking out the trash, you can burn more calories while getting all your projects done. If you’re really feeling fancy, you can even sneak in some squats or high knees in between each task. Whichever way you choose, just know that there are numerous ways to utilize weighted vest training in your daily routine.
** I believe now is a good time to emphasize the importance of exercising caution when wearing a weighted vest. Anyone who may have any vertebral compression, back or neck issues, or osteoporosis should speak with a doctor before attempting to use a weighted vest for any activity. Although we are only adding on extra weight, the placement of the vest puts extra pressure on the spine, neck and shoulders, and could result in injury if not used properly.
Benefits of Weighted Vest Training
#1 Weight loss is an obvious advantage of adding weighted vests to your daily regimen. With the added weight, your body requires higher amounts of oxygen and energy/calories to complete the movement. The more calories you burn, the more your body taps into your fats and carbohydrates for energy. Keeping your fitness level between low intensity and moderate will keep your body focusing on fat storage for energy, but once you reach a high level of intensity, your body starts to require energy at a faster rate, in which carbohydrates become the main source of energy. This is also dependent on your diet and the kinds of foods you eat. Combining weighted vest training a few times a week and maintaining good eating habits will surely kick start your weight loss journey.
#2 Building muscle strength, power and endurance are other benefits to weighted vest training. With the increased load, your body is now forced to adapt to the new level of intensity required, resulting in building stronger muscles and more endurance. When using a vest weighing around 10% of your body weight, you are able to focus more on endurance training, while vests that weigh more and up to 40% of your body weight, the focus would be more on strength, gains and power.
#3 Increased bone density is a great advantage to using a weighted vest properly. So, when more weight is added on, specific cells called osteoblasts, which are cells that stimulate new bone growth, are activated and do exactly that, make new bone. During any weight bearing exercise, this process occurs, and as long as exercises are performed properly and within the correct weight limit, they will help build stronger bones.
#4 Increased cardiovascular and respiratory function is yet another great benefit of using a weighted vest. Your muscles require blood and oxygen to work properly, and the harder they work, the harder the heart and lungs need to work to keep up. During physical activity, our hearts begin to speed up, we start to breathe a little harder, and our heart sends the newly oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body to keep the whole cycle going. That’s a little over simplified, but you get the idea. The more this process happens, the better our cardiovascular and respiratory systems get at adapting to this new level of physical activity, creating stronger heart and lungs.
#5 Better core strength and posture are a few more benefits to wearing a weighted vest. Just by wearing the vest, we are activating all the erector muscles of the spine, the abdominals, and all the muscles needed for general body support. Doing simple activities, such as household chores, going for a walk, or even a light jog will help build better support for your posture.
1Enemy’s Weighted Vest
Now that you know more about weighted vest training and how you can implement this into your daily life, I want to introduce you to our weighted vests here at 1Enemy. Our vests were engineered with comfort, durability and adaptability in mind. With extra padding in the chest, back and shoulder areas, our weighted vests were built for optimal comfort, while adjustable straps are found around the waist and shoulders, giving you complete control over how it fits. The vests are complete with laser-cut MOLLE webbing, a convenient pocket to hold your phone or other essentials, and interchangeable plates that have a slight curve to create a comfortable fit for your form. They also come in three different weights to allow for modification in intensity levels for your workout. We are very proud of our weighted vest gear and hope if you give them a try, you will be too.