In recent months, I’ve been exploring and trying new training methods to help breathe some new life into my workouts and make improvements in areas of my fitness that I considered to be weaknesses. One of these new challenges I put myself through involved incorporating a weighted vest into my bodyweight exercises as well as my cardio training. The results have been great for me and obviously I think this is something that the members of the Lean Body Nation should consider trying for themselves. I believe that whether you’re trying to build muscle or lose fat, adding a vest to your plan will work in your favor.
Most vests have shoulder straps and waist straps so they can fit almost anyone that chooses to wear them. Good vests also include a way to increase or decrease the weight so you can change the resistance depending on the exercise you’re performing.
Bodyweight Resistance Exercises
Some of the best exercises are ones that you use your own body for resistance like pull ups, dips, and bodyweight squats. There are ways to add extra resistance by wearing chains over your shoulders or by wearing a belt with plates or a dumbbell attached by a chain on it so it hangs between your legs. Using a weighted vest means you’re literally wearing the resistance so you don’t have to worry about weight falling off of a dip belt or the extra pressure around your neck and shoulders like you would by wearing chains. Wearing the extra weight like you would with a vest also can be more comfortable than using chains or a belt which means you can focus more on the movement and less about the resistance.
Think going on a run is tough for you now? Add a vest to the equation and then try to go on the same run you normally do. You’re certain to fatigue faster and may not even finish the routine like you would every other day. The cool thing is after you take the vest off, you feel like you can run faster than the speed of light because you’re accustomed to wearing the extra weight.
Whether you want to do steady-state cardio or HIIT, and whether it’s running, skipping rope, burpees, or even wearing it while sparring with a heavy bag, it’s going to be more of a challenge and you’ll increase exert more energy carrying around extra weight via the weighted vest. This also means you’re going to burn more calories which can help those of you looking to lose weight. The other advantage is once you get tired, you can remove the vest and push yourself to do more before calling it a day. This will obviously help you increase your endurance. A note of caution, make sure you can breathe normally while wearing the vest before starting your workout. Once you get short of breath, your lungs will work harder to take in oxygen. This will be compounded with the extra weight from the vest on your chest.
Getting Used to Your Vest
You wouldn’t sit on a machine for the first time and try to lift the entire stack. You shouldn’t get a vest and max it out off the bat either. Take some time to walk around with your vest and figure out what weight you can move around with comfortably. As the movements or training gets easier, slowly add more weight to the vest and eventually you should be able to max it out. Also be prepared to spend a little money if you choose to get one because the best vests that will last you a long time aren’t going to be cheap but they’re well worth the investment. I believe that if you do get a vest and add it to your own program for bodybuilding, sports performance, CrossFit, or general training, you’ll see the advantages and the results sooner rather than later.
About the Author
Roger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.
Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.