If you want to increase the intensity of your exercise, increase your fitness level, or add extra weight when performing body-weight exercises, such as agility drills, running, and walking, then using a weighted vest is an option.
In fact, you don’t need to be a professional athlete to benefit from a weight vest. However, what you may not know is that it comes not only with benefits but also disadvantages to your health.
Here, I provide you the Weight Vest Pros and Cons based on what studies have been saying so you’ll know for sure whether you want to use a weight vest in your workout or not. This will hopefully make the buying decision process a whole lot easier for you!
So, here are the Weight Vest Pros and Cons you need to know before buying a weighted vest!
Pros of Weighted Vests: Are Weighted Vests Good for You?
Well, yes and no. But let’s focus more on the weight vest pros, in the meantime. A weighted vest can help develop your cardio, endurance, and strength. Adding extra mass can influence the way your muscle strain and stress during fitness.
Other reasons why a weighted vest can be good for you are the following:
Burns More Calories
Weight vests are ideal solutions for those who are out of shape and want to gradually increase their calorie burn without having to go through high-intensity workouts.
Although wearing a weight vest to your daily or semi-daily walk will not automatically have a significant impact on your body composition, a study from the American Council on Exercise has found that it can burn about 5.7 calories a minute when adding weight that is equal to 15% of your own weight.
For a 45-minute walk wearing a weight vest, that would be equal to 26.9 calories burned, the study added.
You don’t have to be a certified group fitness instructor to reap the benefit of weight vests. Such benefit I’m referring to is increased intensity of a workout, whether that’s simple at-home exercise or cardio.
And more strength you exert in a workout also means more explosiveness and more endurance. This is an ideal method of progressive overload if you want to improve your fitness level.
Another in the list of weight vest pros is that it’s fully customizable. What I mean by this is that you can determine how much extra weight or excess weight your body is capable of before you even purchase.
If you want to increase the intensity of your workout, you can simply add extra weight as part of your weight vest training. Some adjustable weighted vests can be as light as 4 to 10 pounds, while others 40 to 150 pounds (common among firefighters and military men for their training).
Improves Maximal Oxygen Uptake / VO2 Max
Weight vest training brings various benefits to your health, including improving your maximal oxygen uptake, which also means the amount of oxygen that can be used in your entire body. Others simply call it VO2 Max.
VO2 Max is likewise a measure of aerobic fitness that is linked to one’s ability to sustain long periods of high-intensity or moderate physical activity. The added weight or external load of wearing a weighted vest makes your muscles work harder. Thereby, it also improves your VO2 max in the process.
As you add weight to your body, the added external load likewise increases your ability to produce force. So, when the external load is eventually removed, you feel this increased acceleration of an unweighted limb or body increases.
Easy to Transport
One of the pros of a weight vest is that you can wear it anymore, allowing you to perform different exercises while wearing it. That is because the vest itself is easy to transport even when you travel.
Cons of Weight Vest: Is A Weight Vest Bad for You?
Well, just as a weighted vest can help you, it can also put a ton of pressure on your body, particularly your spine. Below are some of the cons of weighted vests.
May Worsen Existing Injuries
Weighted vests can affect the heart and cardiovascular system, the reason why they work in the first place. However, it can also backfire on your core muscles. These injuries can be back pain or shoulder injuries, especially if you’re not wearing weighted plates that are safe for your body weight. Experts advise that it should not exceed 10% of your weight.
Furthermore, even if you don’t have existing injuries, you may develop one since not all weighted load vests are not suitable for everyone. To avoid injuries because of poor adaptation, find a vest that snug against your body correctly.
Changes Your Running Mechanics
The additional weight from the vest can improve your running posture and increase your speed but may also change your running mechanics, even if it’s slight.
Increased Joint Stress
Weight vest training can increase your joint stress. If your body cannot adjust to the more weight load, it may cause health problems in the future.
Best Weighted Vests for Any Type of Workout
If you’re planning to buy a weighted vest for your training routine, here are some recommendations I can recommend.
Best Overall: Aduro Sport Weighted Vest
Best for Walking: Tone Fitness 12-Pound Weighted Vest
Best for Women: Empower Weighted Vest for Women
Best for Building Strength and Endurance: RunFast/ Max Weighted Vest
Best as Additional Resistance for Any Body Weight: CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest
Time to Suit Up: Weighted Vest On or Off?
Using a weighted vest comes with benefits and risks and learning all of these can help you avoid unnecessary injuries.
In my opinion, most weighted vests are created safe. And as long as worn according to your body mass, what your body can handle, and it’s the right size, it would be a helpful piece of gym equipment.
Yes, weight vests have different sizes and designs. Some vests come with adjustable straps that are better for people with broader and wider shoulders, while others are meant for people who have thin body types. So, pay extra attention to the design and dimensions as it will play in both ranges of motion and comfort when you begin your cardio exercises or workout routine.
If you like this article about weight vest pros and cons, you might want to read our other reviews at ExpertFitness.org.