The Benefits of Weighted Vests and Body Weights

Looking to add new layers to your fitness training? Weighted vests and body weights can add resistance and cardio conditioning to workouts.

Changing up your fitness routine can be a good habit to get into. By modifying your workout, you’ll place different strains on your body which can help improve your strength and conditioning. For these reasons, weighted vests and body weights can be great additions to help you achieve your fitness goals.

WHAT ARE WEIGHTED VESTS OR BODY WEIGHTS?

Weighted vests and body weights are simply that: wearable weights worn during exercises for increased resistance and cardio conditioning. The weight levels can vary by product. Most weighted vests can also accommodate extra bars or plates for added weight. The more weight you use, the more resistance you’ll encounter.

These tools are useful for bodyweight exercises, plyometrics and cardiovascular training. Some athletes even use weighted vests in sport-specific training for activities like basketball and tennis. Before strapping on the extra pounds, however, it’s important to understand the benefits.

BENEFITS

There are multiple benefits to adding weighted vests or body weights to your fitness routine. For one, weighted vests can help in developing strength, endurance and cardio by increasing your body weight.

Adding mass can influence the ways your muscles stress and strain during workouts. By adding it, more force is exerted which, in turn leads to faster energy depletion. Both experiences can also affect your breathing pattern and how much oxygen you take in as you train.

Stressed muscles, increased breathing and depleted energy may sound negative for progress. But they are, actually, quite the opposite. As your body learns and adjusts to these factors, your strength, endurance and cardio can see positive results.

Additionally, wearing weighted vests and body weights can add variety to your workouts. With weighted vests, you can mix up the stresses placed on your muscles throughout your session. Plus, the added bodyweight can be useful in multiple exercise sectors. From plyometric movements to bodyweight exercises to even simply walking, using weighted vests can spice up most training programs.

CONSIDERATIONS

As with any fitness tool, there should be some precautions prior to use. Consult your physician prior to training to ensure your health is in good standing and you are physically capable of performing these exercises. Also, be sure to take into consideration your personal fitness level before using any weighted vest or body weight. Performing movements with added bodyweight isn’t helpful if you haven’t mastered proper form.

Also, it should not take much weight to notice the increased resistance at first. Err on the lighter side when using weighted vests for the first time, especially in cardio training.

Another consideration to make when using weighted vests or body weights is if they are necessary for your planned workout. For example, a weighted vest won’t help with training for upper body isolation exercises, like bicep curls and bench presses.

Additionally, a focus on technique, bar placement and other factors when exercising should come first. Remember, weighted vests and body weights are training aids, not hindrances.

Weighted vests and body weights can be an invigorating, effective and fun addition to your training regimen. Use these tips to weigh in on your fitness needs and see if weighted vests or body weights are right for your workout style.