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Weight Vests Guide: Usage and Benefits


Using a weight vest is not as simple as just tossing on a 20 to 30 pound vest with weights shoved into it for instant resistance training.  These vests usually come in models that have a static weight or those weight vests with attachable weights to evenly distribute weight in the correct parts of the body when weight is being increased.  But before deciding to add that extra resistance to your training, you have to determine if you are ready for a weight vest.

When should I start using a weight vest with my training?

Weight vests are not as daunting as workout guides may suggest, they simply are vests which add a varying 10 - 35 lbs of resistance to a person's workout.  The practicality of using this type of equipment is that it can be used for a variety of common and advanced exercises.  Many common uses include running and jogging, jumping and plyometric, climbing and rowing, and core training.  Although the minimum weight can be as low as 5-10 lbs, this can be a significant amount of resistance for a beginner over the course of a workout, thereby you have to determine your level of conditioning to know how much weight you need to start off.

How much weight should I start off using?

For most athletes, training usually scales throughout time by the simple use of added resistance.  If you don't already scale your workouts, make sure to start off with 5-10 pounds to give the initial added resistance.  Once your body acclimates and adapts the initial weights, you can look to add increments of 5 lbs as you scale your workouts.   For some people 5 lbs may be an overwhelming load for the body to handle if your body has been conditioned for resistance scaling.  But for those that already add resistance to their workout, an initial 10-20 lbs would be appropriate depending on the current condition of the individual or athlete. 

Does using a weighted vest give me an advantage for sports?

In short, the answer is Absolutely!  There are many case studies that have been conducted on collegiate and professional athletes that show player performance in dash times, broad jumps, and vertical jump height when supplementing their  traditional regimens of plyometrics and weight training with weight vest resistance.  Test groups that used weighted vests showed significantly better results within 4-8 weeks. 

Are they any tips to using the vest?

As we discussed above, scaling the proper weight requires knowledge of your current training and body conditioning.  The dangers of dawning a vest with the weights maxed out to 35 pounds is that in can cause fatigue or stains on the muscles and joints if the body is not properly conditioned to take on a drastic change in resistance.   So always keep in mind that you must build strength in order to adapt the muscles to higher weight.

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