Weight Vest Blog Post

Should I Add a Weight Vest to my Workouts?


This week was our annual trip to Wildwood Crest NJ, for a week of beach. Ordinarily I would go to a Crossfit like gym in West Cape May that I have gone to for the last few years. This year however because of the pandemic, I had to pack my own gym, so into the car went 2 dumbells, my kettlebell, jump rope and at a last minute suggestion, my weighted vest.

I bought my vest a few years ago at a Crossfit gym going out of business. The price was right and it fit pretty well. I haven’t really used it that much though. The pipe dream of sometime using it for it a small part of Murph always looms in the periphery! LOL! So, on Day 3 I put it on and went for a mile run. It definitely made the run harder, hotter, more fatiguing and did change my gait pattern a bit. So I decided to do a little research about just how helpful it can be.

A study done at the University of Mexico had untrained women walk on a flat treadmill wearing a weighted vest about 15% of their body weight. They burned about 12% more calories compared to those who did not wear the vest. According to the Journal of Science and Medicine, wearing a vest will improve speed and performance. The study had runners do 10 sec sprints with a vest and then immediately tested without the vest on a treadmill.

Based on my reading, here is a list of vest wearing benefits.

  • 1. Increase strength and endurance
  • 2. Increase in cardiovascular endurance
  • 3. Strengthens your core
  • 4. Improves posture and balance

Here are some activities you can do wearing a vest:

  • Walking or running
  • Crunches
  • Planks
  • Pushups
  • Hiking
  • Squats

As always, it’s important to evaluate your fitness program with your coach to make sure you are ready to add a vest. Body weight exercises should be in perfect form. Start with a small amount of weight, 5-10% of your body weight. Make sure the vest fits properly and doesn’t alter your body position in a negative way. Start slowly and gradually increase the walking or running distances or the volume of body weight exercises. And of course, don’t over train with the vest and allow sufficient time to mobilize, stretch, hydrate and recover. Vests are a great tool to add to your arsenal and add something new to your workouts!

By Nancy Shapiro, L1 CrossFit Coach, Masters Athlete

people working out in a group fitness class


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