The weighted vest is something you are likely to have seen at the gym, but maybe not tried out yet. It’s like an ordinary jacket, but with pockets where metal plates can be inserted to add weight. There are a variety of benefits that you could gain from adding weighted jackets into your workouts.
The Importance of Versatility
Versatility is one of the areas in which weighted vests surpass most other fitness equipment. Being practically an item of clothing, it can be worn while you are performing a wide variety of workout routines, or simply kept on throughout the day.
Also, weighted vests will have an impact on the entire body, since the weight will be distributed across your core and legs. This means that they can be used to enhance the impact of your training on different muscle groups, depending on the exercise you choose to perform with it.
Whether cardio or resistance training, having a weighted vest on gives you a wide range of options, along with several specific boosts to your strength training.
Effects of Weighted Vests When Training
There is a commensurate increase in resistance when you add 5%, 10% or more of your weight into a weighted vest and then complete your training routines wearing it. But resistance itself is not a goal, and it is the benefits it brings along that are the main reasons for wearing a weighted vest.
Firstly, working out with a weighted vest on will result in significant increases in your strength and endurance. The more weight your muscles have to carry, the greater the amount of energy they have to make use of.
As they adapt to the increase in weight, your strength and endurance will increase, making it progressively easier for you to carry that much or even more weight.
Another benefit of using weighted vests is that they can be used as a tool to effect a variation in your training routines. This is especially useful when you have hit a plateau that you have tried all means to move beyond. Wearing a weighted vest in that routine will have the effect of throwing your body off and likely making it possible for you to push past the plateau.
Apart from resistance training, cardio is another area where weighted vests can have huge effects. Running, cycling or even just walking with a weighted vest on will definitely increase the difficulty of that action substantially. Your body will be tasked much more than it was used to, strengthening your lungs as they adjust to consume more oxygen to drive your muscles with.
A study by physiologist Heikki Rusco also showed a connection with an increase in the lactose thresholds of users.
General Fitness Benefits
As your muscles and lungs increase in strength and capacity, your bones also gain mass and increase in strength when you run in a weighted vest. The extra weight will signal your body cells for an increase in bone density to better cope with the increased weight.
If one of the goals of your training is weight loss, then wearing a weighted vest is a no-brainer. Having the additional weight on your body as you perform your cardio or resistance training routines will significantly increase the number of calories that your body is burning. That will help you cut down fat within a much shorter period of time than using only your body weight.
Apart from fat loss, another benefit of using weighted vests is the effect they have on your posture. Bad posture can have serious effects on your health generally, as well as putting you at increased risk of sports-related injuries.
With a weighted vest, your back muscles will get additional support as you perform exercises, thus strengthening the muscles, improving your balance and helping you attain proper body mechanics.
Important Considerations When Choosing Weighted Vests
As with most other fitness equipment, weighted vests are not one-size-fits-all. This means that you will have to be deliberate about the one to purchase, so as to gain optimal benefits from using it.
Proper fit is crucial, so you want to get one that can be adjusted in different ways. Aim for a fit that is tight enough to be secure but not enough to restrict movement or impair your ability to breathe properly.
Being able to adjust the weight of the vest will make it much more versatile, enabling you to adjust the difficulty of your training as you progress in your strength training. Most vests come with removable weight plates, but still check to make sure they can be swapped out quickly and easily.
How to Use Weighted Vests Safely
An abrupt increase in the weight your muscles have to carry can have the effect of causing serious fatigue, and the impact of running can injure your ankles and feet. Be careful to increase the weight of your vest gradually, to allow your body enough time to adjust to the increase.
If you’re experiencing tight or sore muscles due to fatigue from hard exercises, this article provides some excellent tips on how to treat those sore muscles.
Hydration is also key to your safety because the materials used in making the vest may not be breathable, so prepare to hydrate regularly.