Running With Weight Vest: Best Training Tips

Running With Weight Vest: Secret for Better Training performance?

Have you ever been so envied with that guy who’s wearing a weighted vest while running sprints at the gym?

And you were supposed to think, ‘Whoa, dude that’s intense.’

Don’t call him a badass yet.

Some fitness nuts who wears a weighted vest while sprinting doesn’t necessarily improve their performance compared to the guys who do the same heavy weight training without adding extra weight.

According to the study in a University on Spain, soccer player who trained 2x a week on sprint-training or running with or without wearing a weighted vest and after six weeks of continuous training, each soccer player shed their vest and go through a series of performance tests.

In this post, I will share you the phenomenon of weight vest on better performance in running, or other heavy training.

What is a weight vest?

weight vest

But first of all, let’s define what is exactly is a weight vest?

I’m sure you have the familiarity with the different equipment used around the gym.

TRX, Cable Machines, and Swiss ball you probably heard and have a knowledge about this gym equipment.

These equipment are common, and some are not, some workout gears are little harder to find in the gyms and the dudes who are using it can present a challenge to his average look in order to change up his workout routine.

Using a quality brand of gym equipment may make you look like an idiot or in the worst case, hurting yourself.

So to solve this problem, using weight vest comes to play.

Maybe, if you’re rookie in weight training the chances are you’ve seen all the sport gears commercials introducing competent bodies (like Channing Tatum or Hugh Jackman) while wearing a weighted vest.

Don’t ‘Dude that’s cool’ them first, the secret is you don’t need to be like Channing Tatum or Hugh Jackman to use weight vest in your training.

But it can safely add weight to your standard bodyweight exercise making it a remarkably convenient and powerful tool.

Why use weight vest on workout training especially on running?

As one of the superior exercises for heart conditioning and for calorie burning, adding a weighted vest while sprinting or running may rapidly boost these benefits.

However, to use this you must be well-trained and working under the guidance of a fitness instructor or professional to help you prevent accidents or any injuries.

Adding weighted vest can be beneficial only if it combines with use of appropriate and suited weight and training protocols.

So why you should use the weighted vest on your workouts? Here’s why.

1/ Rapid burning of Calories

Number one reason why you should add weighted vest in your workout is to burn calories in your body in a rapid way.

People who have bigger body tends to burn more calories when they run.

For example, if your overall body weight is 125-pounds, you can burn calories for up to 300 on a half running at 6mph, while if a person who weighs 155-pounds, they tend to burn out calories for almost 375 during the same amount of time.

Using hand weights may not be a good idea primarily because it can cause injury to your wrist, elbow joints, and shoulder.

One kind of weight to avoid is the Ankle weight, this could also cause accidents or injuries to your joints that can lead to muscle imbalances and changes in your form.

It is advisable to opt for weight vests that can keep your overall body weight between 5 to 10 percent, in this way, your body will burn calories safely.

2/ Musculoskeletal Benefits

Wearing weighted vest during running or any workouts will not only makes your muscles grow stronger and leaner but also it will increase a load of nutrients through you bone while running.

More loading can contribute to the increased bone mass by stimulating the osteoblast which is a type of cells responsible for the development and growth of your bones.

In short, adding extra weight to your training that plays a significant role in achieving stronger and denser bones.

3/ Boosts your stamina

boosts stamina

Weight vest can contribute for about 10% of your overall body weight and it may improve your overall running endurance, stamina, and performance during all-day training sessions.

This statement has been backed with a study in 1987, researchers found out the people who wear weight vest during the workout sessions from morning to night showed a better and increased ability to use oxygen during the training and most likely, the time of their exhaustion has been improved.

The research also showed that wearing weight vest on training can increase the utilization of the body’s ability to fast-twitch muscle fibers which contributes to the rapid burst of energy and enhancement of overall training performance.

4/ Serves as a tool for versatility

Our bodies tend to adapt to any positive and negative movements over a period of time.

When you stop the progress using the weighted vest on any exercise, it will result in the adaptation.

Using weighted vests can offer a great tool for the variations that our bodies aren’t prepared for.

5/ Improved Endurance

According to the study in 2012, people specifically young men who wear a weighted vest during the day without exercising or running showed enhanced agility but not the running speed.

They concluded that wearing a weighted vest could yield a better result in the workout performance for 3-4 times a week 50% training.

It is advisable to wear a weighted vest that contributes to the 5 to 10% of your body weight.

If you run for 4 times a week, in this way, you can move quickly, and improve your ability to even win any sports games.

Things to consider before using weight vest

Some people who live next to the huge mountains can build more leg muscles and can be prone to different injuries compared to the runners who live in the cities of big hills.

Choosing the best weight vest can contribute to the effectiveness of the exercise equipment, here are the things that you should consider before adding the weight vest into your training.

1) Consider the type of weight vest.

The expensive weighted vest can be comfortable to use when running, but choosing the best one (I mean the cheap and simple) weighted vest can be a good option.

However, improvised weighted vest like a backpack that has enough weight for your 5-10 percent overall body weight is a good idea too.

2) Consider the usage.


Most of the runner or hikers can have the same benefits that allow them to involve in the tougher and steeper routes.

Using weighted vest during running or hiking has been showed to play a significant role in reducing the risks of injuries and utilizing the proper body form during the race or hike.

I would prefer using running backpacks or a good hydration pack that weightless and more ballast for hikes.

Running in hills can help you achieve a better exercise performance than running on flat roads.

3) Consider the weighted vest’s versatility.

The best-weighted vest must be versatile for any sports and gym workout training.

It helps you to master the actions during your training and most likely to become more effective.

You can achieve better performance, adapt to different running speeds, and running motions with the help of the weighted vest during sports training or gym workouts.

4) Consider the heaviness of the weight vest.

The heaviness of the weight vest you’re planning to purchase will depend on your overall body weight and strength.

Some of the cheaper vests normally weigh and contains sandbags around 20 pounds, these type of weighted vest can be a great option for people who want to get a better training result.

However, if you’re new to the world of workouts, you might want to consider opting and starting with less weight, this will prevent you from causing injury and allows your body to adapt on the weight as well.

5) Consider how often you’re using the weighted vest.

It is a good idea to add the weighted vest during your normal training period mainly because it’s not quite difficult.

The reason why you’re training for and the location where you live are the things to consider how frequent you should use the weighted vest.

The effort level walking, hiking, or running with a weighted vest may be low and considering that most runs aren’t focused on an easy recovery place.

Better exercise performance results can be effectively achieved when focused on the legs and the core.

6) Other tips.

If you’re a hiker you might want to consider leaving the weighted vest straps undone.

This can be helpful for stabilizing the swings around by engaging the whole muscles core in exactly the way they’re needed for unvested running.

training on slopping hills

As mentioned earlier, training in the sloping hills or steep inclines can have a significant effect on improved performance.

Types of weighted vests

Weighted vests come in the wide-range of different types that offers different and divided features.

To help you familiarize the different types of a weighted vest and help you choose the best and suited equipment for your workout.

I’ve included a rough guide to the basic information about the different types of a weighted vest.

1/ Removable-weight and Fixed-weight vests

As the name implies, this type of weighted vest provides a removable and fixed weight.

The fixed-weighted vest cannot be changed and it has been sewn directly on the material of the vest.

Fixed weight can be great for proud of the weight you’re working weight, It allows different and multiple directions when vigorously exercising.

However, these type of weighted vest may shift and can lead to vest problems.

On the other hand, removable-weight vests are considered better than the fixed one.

As the name implies removable-weight vests offers customization of the overall vest.

When you want to work out with the past weights, you can easily remove the bars on the vest and work your way up.

It is also great for running and other basic exercises.

2/ Female and male weighted vests

Differently weighted vests on the market often sold based on the gender whether it’s male or female.

The male weighted vest is much heavier compared to the female vests.

It also comes with a tightened to a greater degree to allow the user to shift using less force.

These vests are designed for toning and muscle growth. On the other hand, the female vest focused on the fixed-weighted vest and lighter weights.

3/ Other types.

Other types of weighted vests come in two shapes.

Belted or covered.

Covered vests can cover the entire torso while the belted ones are designed to well, belted around the chest or can be worn on the upper chest area.

The shapes may vary from the different parts of the body and usually works on the upper torso, back, and abs.

How to properly use the weight vest?

For those who want to have better, smart, and rapid results, working with a great weighted vest is a good investment (no pun).

Here are some useful tips on how to properly use your weighted vest.

#1: Educate yourself with the Speed and Power-to-weight ratio.

Using weighted vests are now common on the gyms and used by a professional fitness trainer.

However, issues on weighted vests are still present.

Some might don’t understand how using weighted vest during training and workouts, here’s how it works.

Thinks the weighted vest as the force affecting your power and speed affected by hypergravity.

The sled in the vest uses friction and let your body adapt to neuromuscular process.

The sled is known to add weight resistance vertically not horizontally.

The forces created by the sleds contributes to the increased demands.

Also, one factor that affects the interaction on the forces directions is the amount of velocity.

For example, if you’re an athlete weighing 300 pounds and wearing a 10-pound weighted vest, you’re most unlikely to be better during squat jumps.

However, if you’re an athlete weighing 175-pounds and with a load of 5-10 pounds, using the vest can be quite effective especially during running.

A weighted vest can be great for rookies with low strength levels.

Here are the 3 rules you should follow:

  • Rule number one: Adding weighted vest can make all the different bodyweight workouts more challenging and allowing your body to adapt to the exercise well.
  • Rule number two: Think the weighted vests as your second skin and treat it with advanced heavy training enhancer and different strength tools.
    For example, if you’re doing repeat jumps, it is a good idea to add weight to your body with the use of the weighted vest, in this way it can benefit your body for achieving better performance.
  • Rule number three: The use of weighted vest focused on the late acceleration and speed. Speed in a maximum level can be effective with the use of the vest and sleds.


#2: Great for Motor and mobility training.

Adding weight to solve the problems is considered as one of the greatest teaching tools but one of the most common mistakes as well.

The numbers of people who’s been honest with the amount of weight for their mobility and coordination activities are low.

If you’re an athlete and focuses on more active workouts to hurdle mobility during running or walking with a small load rather than speeding the motions, then you should change your mindset.


It is important to remember that the gravity can significantly affect the force used for your movements and your overall flexibility as well.

It can be a good idea to add heavyweight during static holds or isometrics.

#3: Weighted vests provide better load distribution.

Weighted vests provide a uniformed load distribution new the core of the mass.

It might be risky and complicated to use ankle weights and weighted pants as they start moving in the different direction.

Some vests offer a 40 pounds making it very heavy but great ways for adding loads without the risks of injuries to the area.

However, problems might occur to some female athletes who use some lighter sports for muscle trapping primarily because its weight will increase.

Using weighted vests can be beneficial for adding weight, it focuses on the even distribution of the load from different parts of the body.

Maybe you’re not blessed with toughness or willingness to add a sled bar on the back.

So to solve this, it is better to opt for weighted vests with lighter bar loads.

#4: Overall leanness of the upper body

When using the weighted vest on different jumping exercise, most of the benefits can be absorbed by the arms, in this way, it overloads the muscle which contributes to the propulsion production.

It is recommended to use different simple ways on how to create overload during the training without compromising the whole activity in different motion patterns.

One tip for exploiting arm freedom is by doing walking lunges while your both hands are behind your head.

As mentioned earlier, the use of weighted vest allows an even distribution of loads throughout the body, especially to the upper parts.

Adding external loads to the vests can also be beneficial, however, it primarily works for assisting single leg training and other workouts.

In short, some elite athletes and even the beginners use the weighted vests for moving freely and better their performances as well.

#5: Rapid and effective Body composition benefits

Wearing weighted vests with 10% or more load doesn’t automatically means you’ll burn more fats but it is necessary for the overall training capacity and eventually for longer and better performance.

Adding small load on easy workouts can make it a hard training session.

The advantages of weighted vests include allowing yourself to adhere to a nutritional and workout programs and it doesn’t interfere with the theme of your workout program if the light is suited for you.

#6: Other useful tips

Make sure that you’re doing the right form during any exercise when using weighted vests, doing half pull-ups is not an excuse.

It is advisable to take breathers during each rep, if you think you can complete an increased number of reps while using the vest, then that’s okay.

Always make sure that your weighted vest is not tightly snug and making you difficult to breathe.

Some people may complain about hard breathing primarily because they’re new to using a weighted vest or it’s too tight for them.

It is a great idea to have half workouts with the weighted vest and half session without it, it will surprise you of how easy it is to complete the second session exercises.

You will sweat a lot when using the vest, so in order to make it clean, you can spray the whole vest with disinfectant spray and remove the sandbags for at least twice a week and wash it.


Dangers of using weighted vest


The real danger or problems only occur when you’re using a heavy weighted vest.

This will give you a high amount of stress which can lead to injuries.

So it is better to evaluate your strengths and determine how far you can go during the different exercise.

According to one study, the standard weighted vest should not weight more than 5 to 10 percent of your overall body weight.

Opt for fit and snugly vests otherwise, it can cause imbalance.

Most of the weighted vest on the market offers a lighter material which is a good idea to start for low-impact exercises.

To enhance and build your body’s endurance, it is better to add more weights to the vest.

Training for weighted vest

Here are some examples of exercise using a weighted vest to maximize the results.

  1. No vest Dynamic Warm-up.
    You could start with jogging or light calisthenics, and proceed to stretch exercise, strength exercises until high-intensity calisthenics.
  2. 10-pound vest box jumps.
    Do the normal box jumps and make sure that you landed quietly when stepping down from the box, use your leg strength to do this.
  3. Other exercises.
    Bulgarian Split-squat, Lateral Crawl, Depth Drops, Barbell squats and deadlifts, burpees, and weighted suspension exercises such as vest dips, push-ups, and single-leg rollouts.


Now that you know the different weight vests in the market.

You should now have a better sense of the type of the weighted vest that you should purchase and use it during running, hiking, or any kinds of training exercises.

Always remember that the heavier the vest, the more pressure you’re a putting in your joints and can have a significant impact on your overall exercise performance.

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