Whether you’re training to summit a mountain, want to become a better runner, or you’re doing home workouts to lose a few pounds, a weight vest can be an incredible training tool to help you become strong, leaner, and reach your fitness goals. Not only are weight vests useful for athletes but they are popular for military training as well as rehab, improving balance, stabilizing muscles, and correcting posture. Weight vests come in various sizes. Selected designs allow you to adjust the weight according to the exercise, the strength of the individual wearing the vest, or as you progress in reaching your objectives. Vests required for rehabilitation will vary from those used for something as intense as military training so choosing the right type is important not only to make progress but also to avoid injuries. Here are some of the best weight vests in 2021 to help you crush your goals.
Henkelion vests are available in 6 great colors: blue, pink, purple, black, green, and grey
Vests come in the following weights: 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, or 20 pounds
Vest dimensions: 12-inch width x 14 inch height. The strap width is 3 inches
This light-weighted vest is available in weights ranging from 4 up to 20 pounds. It is suitable for men, women, and kids with an adjustable buckle strap. Unlike other vests that are filled with river sand, the Henkelion’s neoprene vests are filled with small premium iron pellets and metal rocks.
The vest design is small enough to allow plenty of airflow and not feel overbearing on your torso. The design is ideal for outdoor training with reflective straps and mesh pockets to keep keys or other small belongings. Note that the vest is a fixed-weight and washing is not recommended due to the pellets which may start to rust. Wipe the vest gently with a damp cloth to clean.
Vests come in weights ranging from 12 pounds up to 140 pounds, which are adjustable in predetermined increments.
Large adjustable body strap to accommodate any body size
Mesh pocket and water bottle pouch on the belt make it ideal for hiking or long walks
Runfast full-body weight vests are available with or without shoulder pads and allow you to progress your weight load as it suits you. The vest comes with the weights, according to the load quantity you order within a range of 12 pounds up to 140 pounds. The vest weight you choose will be the maximum weight included.
Vests only come in one size but have a large adjustable belt strap in front to tailor it according to your body shape. There is a mesh pocket on the front chest portion, ideal for keeping headphones or other small items while training. If you are wearing the vest on a long hike, use the handy water bottle pouch on the side to carry your bottle.
Adjustable weight by adding or removing individual 2.5 pounds weight packets filled with iron ore fines
Includes anchor hooks for parachute run training
Reflective strips are ideal for making you easily visible to traffic when used for outdoor training
CAP Barbell weight vests are of superb quality, designed to last. They are made from reinforced nylon and polyester and come in both short and regular length options. The size is universal, however, a fully adjustable waist belt allows you to tailor it for a snug fit. Padded shoulder straps prevent the additional weight from hurting your shoulders.
What makes this vest great is the ability to adjust the weight by 2.5-pound increments up to a total of 20 pounds. CAP Barbell has heavier vests available in weights of 40, 50, and 80 pounds.
Available in two weight options: 8 pounds and 16 pounds
Inner weight filling of chemical-free premium iron pellets
Reflective strips on the shoulder and back aid visibility to oncoming traffic in low-light conditions
This cross-body vest features an excellent design, distributing premium iron pellet weight evenly across your torso. The vest is made with soft, stretchy, and breathable material with a non-slip pad on the back of the shoulder to keep it in place during exercise. The fit is adjustable with a buckle strap on both sides of the body to customize it to your size.
The front pocket is great for keeping small items while training and has a Velcro closure to prevent your belongings from falling out.
The vest is designed with heavy-duty reinforced nylon, and a triple-layer pocket backing for weight support
Adjustable straps and double shoulder padding ensure a comfortable fit
Waterproof pockets for keeping small items safe during training
This premium quality vest is ideal for CrossFit training and fits up to an XXL size with 3 adjustment points for customizing a secure fit for your body type. The vest comes in a range of weights from 30 up to 90-pound options which are adjustable. The ore bags or iron bar weights come with the purchase and can be removed from the vest pockets according to the load you require. If you are doing impact exercises, the ore bags are preferable over iron bar weights.
The vests come in a range of color and pattern designs with reflective stripes for outdoor workouts in low light conditions.
The vests are made with double stitching to ensure longevity and are filled with either iron sand or iron shot depending on the weight.
The vest features a mesh pocket at the back ideal for keeping small items or adding a bit more weight
This vest is ideal for running or other cardio training due to its center-balanced design, distributing the weight evenly. Two adjustable straps allow you to fit the vest snugly to your body and prevent it from moving around during training.
The reflective stripes on both sides of the vest also make it ideal for runners’ safety during evening or early morning workouts. Pacearth offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a warranty of 12 months for quality-related issues.
Vests come in weights ranging from 20 pounds up to 140 pounds, which are adjustable in predetermined increments. The vest weight you choose will be the maximum weight included.
A water bottle pouch on the belt makes it ideal for hiking or long walks
Large adjustable body strap to accommodate any body size
This full-torso vest is ideal for heavy weight-bearing sessions. The vest comes in weight options from 20 pounds to 140 pounds which can be adjusted depending on the exercise or strength of the individual.
Although the vest only comes in one size it has a large cross-body belt with Velcro fastening enabling you to adjust the size accordingly. The vests are available with or without shoulder pads. It comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.
A weighted vest adds additional bodyweight to your torso to increase resistance during training. It is designed to increase the level of difficulty regardless of the activity you are doing to build strength, muscle, and burn extra calories. Different individuals will have varying goals in mind when applying the use of a weighted vest, so it’s important to know what you are looking for when purchasing one to suit your needs.
If you are a coach, trainer, or therapist, it is even more important to use the correct vest to help your clients reach their goals, since they are dependent on you to provide the correct equipment while avoiding injuries. In this guide, we outline everything you need to consider when choosing the best weight vest as well as many of the incredible benefits you can achieve by using one.
How Does A Weight Vest Work?
Weighted vests generally sit over your shoulders, back, chest, and part of your core in a similar way to a bulletproof vest. The vest is filled with weights which may vary according to the design and focus of your training. A weight-bearing vest trains your body to exert more force to execute exercises and movements such as pull-ups, push-ups, and running - increasing your overall strength, resistance, and improving your posture.
When you execute the same exercises without wearing the vest, your body continues to exert the acquired level of power it would need if you were still wearing the added weight, allowing you to now run faster, jump higher, and lift stronger.
Weighted vests will help build muscle, reduce fat and are also a beneficial way for military members and firefighters to train, helping them adjust to the additional weight of carrying equipment around.
Why Wear A Weight Vest?
Weight vests are not only useful for those who require intense strength and power training. Here is a brief list of some other benefits of training with a weighted vest.
Increase Overall Fitness
Regardless of whether you are doing cardio, calisthenics, or home workouts, wearing even a light weighted vest increases the intensity which is essential for improving fitness levels.
Burn More Calories
Since you need to work harder when wearing the weighted vest, you will burn more calories than doing the same workout without it.
With improved VO2 max (the amount of oxygen your lungs can absorb), you can sustain more intense workouts for longer. In addition, you improve your lactate threshold, endurance, and stamina.
Boost Explosive Power
Training with added resistance for plyometric exercises makes you more explosive and faster.
Increase Bone Density
As with all weight-bearing exercises, you will increase bone strength and density which is especially important as you get older.
The additional weight of the vest alters your center of gravity which can help you work on balance and coordination as well as improving posture by strengthening your spine.
Things To Consider When Choosing a Weight Vest
Types Of Weighted Vests
There are two main types of weight vests; adjustable weighted vests and fixed weight vests.
Adjustable Weighted Vests
These types allow you to change the load by adding or removing the sandbags or flat steel weights inserted in the front and back pockets. The pockets and weights are designed to fit perfectly in slots ensuring they are securely fastened during different ranges of motion.
Adjustable weight vests allow you to add more weight as your body adjusts to each load. This is important for continuous muscle strength improvement. The vests also allow you to use the same piece of equipment for various exercises. You will need a much heavier vest when doing squats than when doing pull-ups. Adjustable vests are therefore very versatile for training and are effective for walking and hiking.
These vests come in various weight ranges from 4 pounds up to 150 pounds. When choosing your vest consider the weight of the actual vest as well as how heavy it can be loaded with additional weight.
Fixed Weighted Vest
Fixed weight vests come in one weight and although they can be used for any exercise they are commonly used for cardio work. They are sleeker and smaller in design with fewer moving parts or adjustments that need to be made. If you need to up the intensity after time you can increase the speed or duration of your run or cardio session.
These vests usually range from 4 pounds up to 40 pounds.
Your Body Type
Weighted vest designs vary for individuals with broader shoulders or those with petite frames. Some are specifically tailored for women with an "X" design to support the chest. Choosing a design to suit your body type will affect wearing comfort and your range of motion.
Look for vests that are made from breathable material with good ventilation if you are worried about perspiration making the vest smell. If you are running in extremely hot conditions it is best to opt for a vest that provides good breathability and aeration with an ‘X’ design. Other materials available are odor-proof and waterproof selections.
Compact vests allow you to train with a complete range of motion since they are smaller and thinner. These types are ideal for running, aerobics, hiking, and weight training where you have to assume various body positions and ranges of movements. If you are doing firefighter or military training, heavy-duty weighted vests that are thick are ideal as they simulate real-life situations better, equipping you to feel uncomfortable in hot conditions, loaded with heavy equipment, and prepare you mentally.
Best Weight Vest FAQ
Are weight vests bad for your back?
Light-weighted vests can be beneficial to improve posture if used according to the recommendations of a physical therapist or doctor. However, if you suffer from neck or spine problems, it is usually not recommended to train with a lot of weight on your torso.
Can you use a heavy backpack instead of a weighted vest?
While using a heavy backpack allows you to get the benefit of extra load, train for long hikes, and adjust the weight you want to carry around, it could also do more harm than good. Besides being more comfortable, weighted vests offer a better range of motion, have better load capacity, and fit snuggly to avoid sliding around while you are moving. Most importantly a weight vest provides an even weight distribution which avoids pack and neck pain that is often associated with carrying a heavy backpack for long periods of time.
Are adjustable or fixed weight vests better?
The type of vest best suited to you will depend on what you are using it for. If you are looking for a compact vest that fits securely when running or hiking, a fixed-weight vest is ideal. An adjustable weight vest on the other hand is a better option for weight-lifting, strength, and body conditioning work, although they will be less comfortable to wear for prolonged cardio sessions.
Can you wash weighted vests?
It is important to take good care of your vest not only to prolong its wearability but also to avoid smelling. Use lukewarm water and soap to wash your vest and let it air dry completely. Make sure to remove all the weights before washing.
Sora has always been a fitness guru, and loves to try different foods and drinks. She is fond of varying her workouts and believes everyone should participate in some sort of physical or mental activity at least three times per week! Ms. Tanaka is thrilled to bring her fitness and nutritional expertise to the Product Reviews Team, and promises to bring you nothing but the best of the best.