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When I first started working out, I wasn’t exactly sure what the benefits of weighted vests would be and why one might be a good investment.
But I started to reconsider the first time I tried one on.
As it turns out…
Weighted vests are a smart fitness choice since they provide several different benefits like:
- Providing resistance for bodyweight exercises
- Helping you develop core strength
- Adding resistance to sport-specific movements like running, jumping, and cycling
- Maintaining bone density as you age.
Not to mention, weighted vests are easy to use and implement, making them an excellent choice for any experience level.
In this article, I’ll go over the main benefits of weighted vests, so you know exactly why to consider using one.
The Benefits Of Weighted Vests
Even though weighted vests are simple, they provide numerous benefits for anyone looking to get in better shape and perhaps, even the elderly.
Weighted Vests Easily Add Resistance To Bodyweight Exercises
If you want to build muscle mass or strength, you have to practice the concept of progressive overload.
Exercise is a stressful activity, and as a result, your body adapts to the type of exercise stress you experience.
For instance, if you lift weights, your body adapts by getting bigger and stronger. If you run, cycle, or swim, your body adapts by improving endurance.
This adaptation is why if you repeat a workout, it’s usually much easier the second time around.
While this is a fantastic adaptive quality of the human body, it also means that you have to perform more challenging workouts in the future if you hope to keep improving.
To do so, you need to perform more exercises, more repetitions, more sets, use progressively greater resistance, or a combination of all of these variables.
Bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, lunges, squats, and dips are excellent ways to get in shape. But practicing progressive overload can become challenging as you gain experience.
If you think about it:
When your body is your only resistance, you have to increase the number of exercises you use, the sets you perform, and the repetitions you perform per set to practice overload.
Weighted vests, however, add resistance to the mix.
This extra resistance means you now have an additional way to practice progressive overload, which makes building muscle and strength much easier and more efficient.
Best of all…
Since weighted vests are often low profile to allow for natural movement, you can apply resistance while seamlessly transitioning from one exercise to the next, making your workouts time efficient.
Weighted Vests Help Develop Core Strength
Believe it or not, weighted vests are perfect for helping you develop overall core strength.
Your “core” includes more muscle groups than you might think.
Beginning with the rectus abdominis or your “6-pack” abs, your core also includes your obliques, which help with trunk and spine rotation and stabilization.
Your core also includes the erector spinae group, which helps to maintain a neutral spine position, especially when your upper body is under load.
Think of it this way:
When you’re standing upright, your core muscles are activated to help your spine stay in a neutral position. When you start to move, these core muscles increase activation to help support spine movement and to maintain posture.
By wearing a weighted vest, you’re increasing how much these muscle groups need to be activated to ensure that the spine stays safe while you’re moving.
The weighted vest provides additional stress to the muscles of your core during exercises to maintain posture. This stress forces these muscle groups to grow stronger just as they would with regular resistance training.
Enhance Athletic Movements
To improve as an athlete, you need to exercise in ways that are specific to your sport.
If you want to be a great cyclist, you’ll need to prioritize training on a bike to improve your cardiovascular ability and the endurance of the muscle groups required for cycling.
If you use another activity like swimming, your cardiovascular ability might improve. Still, since swimming relies on different muscle groups than are required for cycling, your performance on a bike might not improve.
Fortunately, weighted vests provide the perfect solution since they allow you to use resistance in ways that are specific to the demands of your sport.
A few examples include:
- Cycling in a vest to improve cycling ability
- Running in a vest to enhance running ability
- Practicing basketball or doing jump training wearing a vest to improve basketball performance
- Playing soccer while wearing a vest to improve soccer performance
- Wearing a vest during a hike to improve military-specific endurance
Best of all, these examples are just to name a few.
Due to their versatility, weighted vests provide a way to add resistance to training methods that exactly match the demands of your sport or hobby, providing a massive advantage.
Weighted Vests Help Maintain Bone Density
A significant advantage of using free weights and machines is that they put stress on your bones, which encourages your body to make them stronger and denser.
Fortunately, some research suggests that using a weighted vest while exercising can help prevent this loss of bone density, limiting the risk of bone-related injuries.
Best of all…
Since weighted vests are often adjustable and can be worn with little effort, they offer an alternative to resistance training for those with little exercise experience and even the elderly.
Clearly, there are several different benefits of weighted vests.
On top of being a perfect way to make bodyweight exercises more challenging, weighted vests are also the right choice for athletes since they allow you to train according to the demands of your sport.
Not to mention, their impact on bone density and ease of use make weighted vests a good idea for individuals of all ages and experience levels looking to maintain health and physical ability.
About Sam Beisack
Sam is a health science writer with a Master’s in Exercise & Nutrition Science. Through research and experience, his goal is to provide innovative and practical health science that you can use to live your best life.