Bodyweight training is efficient and forms the basis of any great lifting regime.
Over the years my workout regime and rep ranges have changed many times, however push-ups, pull-ups, dips and squats have always remained in my regime. It doesn’t take too long to get to a point where the aforementioned exercises become relatively easy with just your bodyweight… and this is where the weight vest comes in.
Enter Weighted Vest Training
The beauty of weight vests is that they are entirely adjustable e.g. you can add an additional 5lbs or an additional 50lbs of resistance to your push-up, pull-up, dip or squat with only a few minor adjustments.
There’s a ton of gimmicky rubbish pieces of exercise equipment out there, but I stand behind my weight vest.
By mixing up your workout regime and adding in some weighted vest training from time to time you can expect to:
- Increase your overall power, strength and endurance
- Build on sport specific explosive movements
- Burn additional calories due to an increase in exertion performing the same exercises you normally would
- Improve your bone density
- Increased balance
- Add some variety and advanced bodyweight conditioning to your regime
Cardio can be performed wearing a weight vest too, walking, stair climbs, and jump rope are all feasible exercises too (in terms of stress on your ankles etc. you’re a lot better off using a vest as opposed to ankle weights).
The key (and #1 precaution) when it comes to training with a weight vest however is to ensure you’re absolutely proficient with the bodyweight variation of the exercise and proceed to add small amounts of weight, do not go out there and throw 40lbs straight onto your vest – this is when form goes out the window and your risk of injury is through the roof. Play it smart and apply progressive overload at a steady rate.
Here’s a few weight vest workouts I recommend:
15 push-ups (5 diamond, 5 regular, 5 wide)
10 dips (or till failure)
10 pull-ups (or till failure)
10 walking lunges (per leg)
10 mountain climbers (per leg)
Perform 3 sets of each exercise – you can either do 1 exercise at a time or you can run the whole regime in a circuit style (1 set of each exercise for 3 rounds).
100 yard sprint
30 fast jump ropes
Repeat for desired number of rounds.
30 fast jump ropes
10 box jumps
20 mountain climbers
The above is a killer at bodyweight when intensity is kept high, give this a try with some added resistance and you’ll notice your speed and explosive power quickly developing.
A word of advice…
If you’re planning on buying a weight vest don’t cheap out.
I speak from experience… the fit, ease of adjustability and durability of vests differs a lot more than you would expect.
The first vest I picked up was extremely cheap – and for good reason too, the fit was horrendous as it was a ‘one size fits all’ without any straps or zips you’d expect on a decent vest.
In terms of adjustability it was an ‘all or nothing’ type scenario – you ideally want a vest that has a variety of pockets so weight can easily be removed and added – my current vest allows me to alter the resistance anywhere from 1kg to 30kgs and is extremely durable/comfortable even when at maximum capacity.
I recommend checking out the ZFOsports 40lb (adjustable) vest here or their 60lbs (adjustable) weight vest here if you really want to take your training to the next level.
If you’re on a tight budget do what I used to do – grab a backpack and load it with the heaviest books you can find, such as Arnold’s book.
Have you tried weighted vest training before? What’re your thoughts on weight vests vs. weight belts for exercises such as the pull-up and dip? Let me know in the comments below!