Weight vests can add both muscle-building and calorie-burning qualities to your workout. This type of exercise equipment can also turn a casual walk, jog, or aerobics session into an intense workout.
The key to getting the most out of a weight vest is to find one that fits your needs and goals and to perform exercises that make it possible for you to achieve those goals.
Let’s take a closer look at which exercises can help you burn calories and build muscle with a weight vest.
What is a Weight Vest?
A weight vest fits over your shoulders and fastens with a buckle or, most often, velcro straps. Most of these products look like the Kevlar vests that military and law enforcement people wear.
Most of these vests have metal weights, but some use sand or other materials. The advantage of solid metal is that you can remove and add weight more efficiently, and you do not have to worry about leaks or tears.
What are the Main Advantages of a Weight Vest?
You can perform elementary exercises with a weight vest, such as calisthenics, jogging, or, if you have a waterproof product, even swimming. You get a lot out of these efforts because the vest’s weight adds resistance and makes these simple tasks more challenging.
These products are also very versatile. You can use them for strength training, sports practice, aerobic workouts, or many other exercises. You have full use of both your hands while exercising with a weight vest.
Weight Vest Exercises
Let’s take a closer look at the best exercises for a weight vest.
You can perform strength exercises to increase muscle mass, create a lean, healthy physique, and improve general strength.
- Pull-ups. You can increase your mass by using a weighted vest during pullups. This exercise works best with a vest that allows you to remove and add weight. You can start with your body weight, and when you can do 12 or more reps easily, you can add the vest. You always increase the weight when you can do at least three sets of 12 reps easily.
- Squats. A weight vest is ideal for squats. It is safer to use a vest than a bar, and you can easily add a jump or other movement to your regular squat motion.
- Push-ups. Much like pull-ups, a weight vest allows you to add weight to your pushups. It would help if you had a vest that fastens to your body tightly; otherwise, it will drag on the ground when you reach the bottom of your pushup cycle. You can change the angle of your arms to hit different upper body muscle groups when doing push-ups.
- Planks. A weight vest can turn planks into ab burning exercises. You might think that weight vests are not suitable for ab exercises. That is not the case. You can add weight to your plank to give your abs, obliques, and lower back an excellent workout.
- Sit-ups. If you have a weight vest that has an adjustable strap, you can use it for sit-ups. These products work best for incline sit-ups because the added weight provides a big challenge when you are at an angle. You can keep your back from ever resting on the ground to provide a continuous workout for your abs.
A Word about Aerobic Workouts
A weight vest can also add a strength element to aerobic workouts or turn a casual jog or walk into a challenging exercise session.
How can you use a weight vest to increase the level of a simple exercise? To burn more calories, you need to increase your heart rate. A weight vest can help you do that even if you are walking.
You should exercise to the level where you feel slightly out of breath. You can reach this level by walking rapidly, but it may be easier to do so if you have a weight vest.
The advantage of this product is that it can also tone your leg muscles and your abs and lower back since you need to use these core muscles to hold your body and the vest upright as you walk.
The same idea also applies to jogging or sprinting.
Again, it is essential to point out the flexibility of a weight vest. It is one piece of equipment, and it fastens to you. You can take it out for a run and, when you get to a park or exercise area, you can keep it on and perform your strength exercises before continuing your aerobic run or walk.
Strength and Aerobic Combination Exercises
Some exercises involve both muscle-building and calorie-burning
- Box Jumps. Box jumps are ideal for athletes who want to increase their leg strength and explosiveness. If you use a weight vest, you will feel lighter and jump higher when you remove it. Also, you will work on the muscles that will increase your vertical leap in the long term. Box jumps utilize one of the primary advantages of weight vests. Since your hands are free and the vest is secure around your body, you can easily perform these explosive moves without worrying about dropping the weight.
- Mountain climbers. This exercise involves alternately moving your hands and feet while in a push-up position. The weight vest can make these movements much more challenging.
- Jumping jacks. This simple exercise, which everyone learned in gym class as a kid, is much more challenging with the addition of a weight vest. You will quickly increase your heart rate and work both your abs and core. The disadvantage of the weight vest is that it does not work your arms during the jumping jack. However, other exercises, such as mountain climbers, can give the arms a good workout.
A weight vest has several advantages. It can make simple strength and aerobic exercises much more challenging, and it offers a lot of flexibility. If you know which exercises to do, a vest may be the only exercise equipment you need for all your workout needs.