A weighted vest is exactly what it sounds like and it looks pretty much like a bulletproof vest that has pockets all over for weights, usually bags of sand. You may think that the only purpose of wearing a weighted vest is to look cool or look like you just got home from a SWAT raid, but that is definitely not so.
A weighted vest is a great tool to have in order to increase the intensity of your workout and bring your exercise routine to a whole new level. Weighted vest benefits are nearly endless and all of them will go a long way in helping you get healthy, get fit, and improve your overall physical performance. The benefits of wearing a weighted vest during workout routines are quite wide in their scope. If you have never worn a weighted vest while exercising before, a quick read through of this article may just change the way you do things.
Benefit #1: Better Strength & Endurance
One of the really big benefits that you can get from wearing a weighted vest during your workouts is that you will end up getting much stronger much faster, not to mention that it has the ability to increase your overall endurance as well. This actually goes for virtually any exercise that you can think of doing.
Whether you are doing pushups, sit ups, squats, deadlifts, skipping rope, running, rowing, or cycling, a weighted vest will greatly increase the difficulty and that definitely has some big benefits. Simply put, wearing a weighted vest during any of those workouts, whether strength or cardio, puts an increased load on your muscles, thus forcing all of the muscles in your body to work much harder.
For example, 100 sit ups in one day is nothing to look down on, and that will definitely help build your core, but it might take a while. However, if you wear a weighted vest during those sit ups your core muscles will be forced to work much harder to compensate for all of that added weight. Since your muscles have to work so much harder thanks to the weighted vest you will also see more results.
It takes a lot of strength and energy to deal with a weighted vest and your muscles will grow stronger much faster than without a weighted vest. We could compare this to something as simple as lifting dumbbells and it’s as simple as saying that a 30-pound dumbbell strains your muscles more than a 10-pound dumbbell, thus increasing your muscle size and strength much more.
The weighted vest also helps to increase endurance, because your muscles work so much harder to compensate for the extra weight, they grow accordingly. When you take the weighted vest off and try to work out or run without it, the exercise will be much easier and you will be able to go for longer.
This is because your muscles have gotten used to exercising with all of those extra pounds from the vest, so when you take it off, all of a sudden things are much easier. Being stronger and having better endurance is of course a beneficial thing because it helps to increase physical performance during sports and also helps to make your daily life much easier.
Benefit #2: Better Balance & Posture
Another benefit that you can get from using a weighted vest during various exercise routines is that it helps to promote better balance and better posture too. Using a weighted vest helps increase your body’s ability to balance because of the increased amount of weight on your upper body. When you move around or tilt your upper body in any given direction gravity pulls you towards the ground, thus forcing your body to balance.
Well, when you wear a weighted vest your body gets pulled to the ground just that much harder, thus forcing your body to compensate even more to balance. This has to do with things in your body called proprioceptors, the things which account for position shifts in order to make your body automatically counterbalance any given position. The more weight you are carrying the more your proprioceptors have to work to keep upright, thus when you don’t have the weighted vest on anymore your body will have a greatly increased ability to balance. Balance is of course important for a number of daily tasks, plus it helps to fight slips and falls which can lead to broken bones in your old age.
A weighted vest can also help straighten out your back and improve your posture. This is because the weighted vest works your core muscles pretty hard and the stronger your core muscles are the easier it is for you to hold up your own body weight, support your spine, and stay upright. Of course having good posture is pretty important because always having a bent back and being slouched over can lead to some seriously painful back problems, especially as you get up there in age.
Benefit #3: Enhanced Resistance Training
Resistance training is a great way to build muscle, gain weight, and build those big biceps that you have always wanted. If you are a beginner, resistance training on its own is probably more than enough to get a sweat going and tire out your muscles. Just try doing 20 or 30 pushups and you will see what we mean.
However, if your resistance training is starting to get a little too easy for you, you can always add on the weight of a weighted vest to really test your limits and bring your resistance training routine to a whole other level. Since these vests are weighted they directly add to the resistance that you experience with any exercise that you do, thus making it just that much harder. It’s also neat because weighted vests can be adjusted accordingly.
You can start by wearing a vest that is only 10 pounds and work your way all the way up to something like 75 pounds to really get a solid sweat going. If you think that sit ups or pushups are a piece of cake, just wait until you are wearing an extra 75 pounds on your torso!
Benefit #4: Increased Bone Strength
Another benefit that is to be reaped from wearing a weighted vest during a few key exercise routines is that it will help to increase the strength and density of your bones. On a side note, for this to be a benefit, you need to wear the weighted vest during workouts that are classified as weight bearing exercises, those being exercises which put load on your bones such as running, squats, pushups, and anything else where you are forced to hold up your own weight.
Weight bearing exercises help to increase the strength and density of your bones thanks to the way your bones grow, which in all reality is pretty much the same as the muscle growth process. Your bones grow and get thicker when weight and strain are put on them, just like your muscles. Putting an increased amount of weight on your bones causes your osteoblasts to lay down more bone matter. The more you put your weight on your bones, such as during a run, the more your bones will create new bone mass, thus making your bones stronger, bigger, and denser all at the same time.
The benefit of using a weighted vest during weight bearing workouts is of course that you are putting an ever increasing amount of weight on your bones, thus accelerating the bone growth and formation process. In other words, a weighted vest makes your weight bearing exercises more efficient than ever. Having stronger bones is of course beneficial, especially so in your old age. Stronger bones help prevent breakages when you fall, plus they also help to combat degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis as you age.
Benefit #5: Variable Intensity
One really big benefit that you get from using a weighted vest to work out is the fact that you can easily change the intensity of any given routine. If you are getting tired of the same old workout and feel as though you can do pushups for ages without any particular strain, you can use a weighted vest to pick things up a little bit to add some more intensity to your workout.
One of the obvious benefits to this is that you can get a better workout in a shorter amount of time. The increased intensity leads you to do more at once, thus letting you save quite a bit of time and freeing up your schedule for other important daily tasks. Moreover, it is easy to change the intensity with a weighted vest. This is because the vast majority of weighted vests are adjustable in nature. You can take out or add weights to suit your particular needs.
For example, you can start out with only the weight of the vests without any weights in it, then slowly add weight in 10-pound increments to slowly increase the intensity of any given exercise. This is really convenient because you can make literally any workout harder with just a weighted vest.
Benefit #6: Losing More Weight
Most people want to lose weight, or at least at some point in life have wanted to do so. Of course, one of the main benefits that you get from working out on a regular basis is that it helps you lose weight and keep that weight off. No one wants those love handles and muffin tops and the best way to get rid of them is through a regular exercise routine.
Well, a great way to increase the weight loss effects of any given workout is to wear a weighted vest. As you know, pretty much any exercise out there requires strength and energy, the use of which requires the consumption and conversion into the energy required to keep your muscles and the rest of your body going. It may be obvious to you, but wearing a weighted vest greatly increases the number of calories that you burn with every exercise.
The simple fact of the matter is that the extra weight from the vest forces your muscles to work harder during any given exercise, which could be running, rowing, cycling, or any number of weight bearing exercises too. The increased strain on your muscles means that your body needs more calories to keep going, thus burning more of the calories and fat in your body, ultimately leading to greater weight loss effects.
In conjunction with increased calorie and fat burning, you also get benefits to your metabolic rate. On a side note, your body will turn consumed calories in your system into energy, but when you don’t have enough calories to keep you going your body will turn to fat deposits for energy, thus helping you lose weight. In fact, recent studies show that wearing a weighted vest that is 15 percent of your body weight increases calorie burn by up to 12 percent.
Anyway, on the note of your metabolism, exercise increases your metabolic rate, thus increasing the number of calories you burn at any given time. Therefore the weighted vest, since it forces you to work harder, only serves to increase the number of calories or energy you need to consume in order to keep going, ultimately spurring on your metabolism just that much more. On that same note, your EPOC or exercise post oxygen consumption will also increase. Your EPOC is how much oxygen and energy you burn thanks to your workout after you are done exercising.
The more intense your exercise is, the greater your EPOC will be, thus contributing to an efficient metabolism long after you have taken the weight vest off. Moreover, since a weighted vest helps build bigger muscles in a shorter amount of time, muscles which require energy to function, you will also indirectly burn more calories thanks to those bigger muscles. The bottom line is that a weighted vest can help you burn an increased number of calories and it does so in various ways.
Benefit #7: Cardiovascular Benefits
Finally, something else wearing a weighted vest does for you is that it helps to increase your cardiovascular health. Keep in mind that you need to be doing cardio exercises in order for this to be true.
Simply put, the added weight you are bearing when you wear a weighted vest during a cardio workout forces your muscles to work harder, thus also requiring your lungs and heart to work harder to supply those muscles with oxygen blood. Moreover, the added weights force your lungs and heart to work harder simply due to the increased strain. Therefore wearing a weighted vest directly contributes to heart and lung health.
Both of those things are of course very important because a stronger heart means being able to pump more blood throughout your body, thus increasing physical performance, not to mention that it helps to prevent heart conditions, blood pressure conditions, and arterial disease too.
Also, having stronger lungs also means that your body has the ability to pump more oxygen throughout your body, thus also increasing physical performance, plus you won’t get winded as quickly while exercising either.
As you can see, wearing a weighted vest during your workout routine definitely have some really big positive aspects. Things like a healthier cardiovascular system, stronger bones, better endurance, and improved balance are just some of the many weighted vest benefits that you can gain from such a simple piece of workout equipment. There are all of those real benefits, and then there is of course the fact that you look cool, feel like a soldier, and you can feel really accomplished after having completed a hellish workout with a weighted vest.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about weighted vests or how to use them, please feel free to leave us a note and we will be happy to help you out!
Image credits: Hyperwear, Bodyrock, Stack