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Benefits of running with a weighted vest

Weighted vest benefits

When you add weight to an exercise, you increase resistance, which means your body has to work harder to accomplish the same task. While it is common to think of weights as something you hold in your hand, like a dumbbell, that is not the only way to increase resistance.

A weighted vest is a wearable resistance, something you don to increase your workout’s intensity level.

Weighted vests are often associated with boot camp because they help members of the armed forces adapt to running with heavy gear. However, you do not need to be a military member to benefit from wearing a weighted vest. Running with a weighted vest can help you maintain your bone density and develop better balance.

What you need to know about weighted vests

What are the differences between weighted vests?

Some weighted vests slip over your head and are secured by a broad strap that wraps around your upper waist to hold the vest snug against your body. This is important as it helps keep the vest from bouncing around while you are running. Alternatively, there are models that you slip your arms through like a regular vest. This weighted vest has a clasp at the front that clicks shut to hold it in place.

While there are many vests that you can buy that have the weight permanently sewn in, the most adaptable models have several pockets that accept weighted packets. This allows you to adjust the overall weight of the vest to meet your training needs better. Consequently, this type of vest offers the most value because it can grow with you.

How should a weighted vest fit?

A weighted vest should have a snug fit and not slide around when you run. If it is too loose, the vest may irritate your skin as it moves around. It is also essential that the weight is evenly distributed across your trunk and torso not to cause any muscle imbalance.

How heavy should a weighted vest be?

Although some manufacturers make vests that weigh as much as 120 pounds, according to Healthline, a weighted vest should never exceed 10% of your body weight. For example, a 200-pound individual should work out with a maximum of 20 pounds.

How long should I wear a weighted vest?

Because a weighted vest rests on your shoulders and presses down on your vertebrae, you must be careful about wearing too much weight for too long. If you start to experience any type of pain, cease using the weighted vest and consult with your doctor.

Are there any concerns associated with wearing a weighted vest?

Before starting any new exercise regimen, it is essential to talk to your doctor. A weighted vest puts additional strain on your heart, neck, back, bones and joints. If you have any health issues in any of these areas, a weighted vest is not an option for you. 

What does a weighted vest do?

A weighted vest intensifies the workout: Adding a weighted vest to your running routine means you carry more weight when running. The extra weight puts more significant strain and stress on your body, forcing you to work harder to accomplish the same task.

A weighted vest can help with weight loss: The increased strain and stress placed on your body while wearing a weight vest necessitates the need for more energy. However, burning more calories alone will not help you lose weight. To lose weight, you must also monitor your food intake. Wearing a weight vest can be an effective tool in helping you lose weight, but it is only one part of the overall weight-loss equation.

A weighted vest increases heart and lung efficiency: Running with a weighted vest makes your heart and lungs work harder. Over time, this can translate to increased heart and lung efficiency. However, it is important to understand that overworking your heart with chronic extreme exercising can lead to heart damage and rhythm disorders.

A weighted vest promotes bone growth: One five-year study that focused on hip bone loss in postmenopausal women showed promising evidence that wearing a weighted vest helps to stabilize bone mineral density and can combat the effects of osteoporosis. 

A weighted vest improves balance: Wearing a weighted vest alters your center of gravity, which means you have to focus on finding and maintaining your balance. While this can be highly beneficial, it can also be a little dangerous because it may cause you to stumble and possibly fall if you aren't focused on maintaining your balance.

A weighted vest improves posture: Because a weighted vest moves your center of gravity, it makes you more aware of how your body is positioned. This can help you better identify and correct improper posture and achieve better form when running.

A weighted vest may increase speed and agility: Some studies fall on both sides of this benefit. In some athletes, wearing a weighted vest while running increased speed and agility. However, in just as many, there is no appreciable increase. If you are looking to increase speed and agility, focusing on form and body mechanics and flexibility training are more reliable strategies.

Best weighted running vests

CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest

This adjustable weighted vest is made with breathable mesh and comes with steel-shot weight packets that you can add for up to 20 pounds of resistance. The vest also features adjustable clips that allow a comfortable fit for all body types.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Fitness Gear Weighted Vest

This vest’s weight is equally distributed to provide balance, while the shoulder straps are padded for comfort. On its own, the vest weighs 2 pounds, but you can adjust it up to 20 pounds to suit your individual fitness needs.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick's Sporting Goods

Adurance Weighted Vest

This comfortable vest is available in 6-pound, 10-pound, 14-pound and 18-pound options. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and the company offers customer service 24 hours a day.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Tone Fitness Weighted Vest

A soft neoprene vest with an adjustable belt and reflective strips for nighttime or early morning runs. It is available in blue or black in a one-size-fits-most design that weighs 12 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Aduro Sport Adjustable Weighted Vest

A unique weighted vest that features an X-shape design to fit a variety of body types. It has two storage pockets and can be adjusted from 4-10 pounds. If you need more weight, the company manufactures vests with different weight ranges.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Cody Stewart is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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