Sometimes, routine workouts can just get plain boring.
I am someone who hates plateaus and boring routines; I like seeking challenges for my body. This is the reason why I love running! The farther I go, the harder it is on my body.
When it comes to weightlifting, adding weights can be exhilarating. The little aches in my body tell me that I am truly pushing myself. If you’re only a beginner at exercising in general, you might want to focus on bodyweight exercises and proper form before adding any kind of weight, be it weighted vests or free weights like dumbbells.
Once you’ve started trying out free weights and you know your body’s capacity, it might be time to find a weighted vest out there suited for you. We’ve reviewed some of the most popular vests out there and came out with the list below.
Best Weighted Vests For Training Compared and Reviewed
|Top||Aduro Sport Weighted Vest||Aduro Sport||Check Price on Amazon|
|RUNmax Pro Weighted Vest||RUNmax||Check Price on Amazon|
|ZFOsports Weighted Vest||ZFOsports||Check Price on Amazon|
|Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Adjustable Vest||Hyperwear||Check Price on Amazon|
|Tone Fitness Weighted Vest||Tone Fitness||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Aduro Sport Weighted Vest
The Aduro Sport Weighted Vest is a great example of a vest that fits most people well because it extends from the shoulders up to the chest only.
Its weights are evenly distributed throughout the vest itself with no removable weights. The even distribution will help prevent any neck or back pain.
You’re going to have to choose between 4 pounds, 6 pounds, 12 pounds, 20 pounds, 25 pounds, and 30 pounds.
If I were relatively a beginner, I would go for the 6- or 12-pound vest. Before that, though, I would get used to free weights first so that my body can adjust to added weights in general.
Because this vest is compact, it doesn’t have much space for any extra pockets except for one mesh pocket that fits your phone. Its neoprene material makes the vest comfortable and soft.
Users have also praised their customer service, so if you have any problem with this vest, there is no need to worry!
#2 - RUNmax Pro Weighted Vest
Its removable sandbag weights are easy to adjust to your needs. I might, for example, go for a lighter load for running (around 6 pounds), then change it up to 20 pounds for bodyweight exercises. This vest, however, only has options of 12, 20, 40, 50, and 60 pounds.
Because the vest has weight pockets at the front and the back, you’re going to have an evenly distributed weight, preventing back and neck pain.
I personally also like it when vests have extra features that are important to me as a runner, such as a pocket to place your phone and your water bottle, which this vest has.
The vest, itself, is durable, which most vests lack. It’s a fine line between durable and ill-fitting, though, so be careful with that.
With these kinds of vests which go down to the hips, manufacturers tend to make it for bulkier and taller people. Shorter people might find this vest to be too big on them. Users also recommend buying the extra shoulder pads.
#3 - ZFOsports Weighted Vest
That’s why I really like the ZFOsports Weighted Vest. It’s not as expensive as other weighted vests out there but still gives you all that you need.
Its weight ranges from 30 pounds to 80 pounds with its removable sandbag weights. If I were you, I’d get the option of 80 pounds so I can decide to decrease or increase the weights depending on the exercise.
It also has extra functions that make the best of the vest. For one, it has a water bottle holder, perfect for runners out there who don’t want anything on their hands. Another extra feature is its mesh pocket perfect for your keys and your phone.
Its adjustable belt will also make sure that this vest fits snugly around your waist. It’s somewhat clear to me, though, that this vest would be better for heavier or bulkier people. Smaller people tend to find that this vest bounces around.
In particular, users report that this vest is designed for longer torsos. Still, for those who like this vest’s fit, it is said to help a lot with making their workouts extra challenging.
#4 - Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Adjustable Vest
I’ve tried on a lot of vests that just bounce around with the faintest of movements. I already know how much I dislike that kind of vest, especially as a runner. To me, the fit of a vest is of great importance.
That’s why I recommend the Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Adjustable Vest. It has a lace-up design at the sides of the vest which makes it easy to adjust perfectly to your body.
The bodice itself is made of Tyvek, Lycra, and Nylon. All in all, this makes for a fabric that is breathable, stretchable, and durable. It’s not perfect, though; you’re going to have to sacrifice some of the durability for a good fitting vest.
In fact, that’s the complaint I see the most. The removable weights are reported to poke through the fabric, creating a hole and making it quite uncomfortable.
Speaking of weights, their removable weights are actually made of metal. They’re similar to metal dumbbell plates. Instead of the big circular weights, though, you’re going to find something that is small and rectangular that fits in the small pockets of the weight vest.
You’re not going to like its high price, though. That’s why it’s not my top choice.
#5 - Tone Fitness Weighted Vest
The Tone Fitness Weighted Vest is on the last of my list for no particular reason other than it is just a basic weighted vest. It has all the bare minimum features, but it’s still a good vest with a relatively low price.
Their more popular option is the 12-pound weighted vest, but if that’s too much for you, they also have an 8-pound weighted vest.
Its neoprene material makes this vest softer and more comfortable than most. It also has an adjustable front belt so it fits across your chest well.
Reflective strips are included to keep you visible in the dark. This is important especially if you like running at night!
Some users don’t think this is the best vest though. The belt seems to be too constricting to some and too loose to others. Some also say that the vest isn’t actually evenly weighted across your body, which will eventually cause some neck and back problems!
Still, this is a less pricey option, but you’re going to get fewer features.
My Number One Pick
Key Considerations When Buying Weighted Vests For Training
Weighted vests are tricky to buy online, so I recommend trying them on in physical stores. However, if online shopping is your only option now, there are some things you have to consider.
Are weighted vests for you in the first place? Are they appropriate for your fitness level? I can try to help you figure that out!
I would argue that a well-fitted vest is better than a vest with more weight. You really can’t beat the convenience of having a vest that will accommodate most of your exercises, from running to HIIT workouts.
This means that you will have to find a vest that will give you a wide range of motion by making sure that it doesn’t move around when you do. Vests that get in the way of your workout do not optimize your workouts!
Vests have different ways of making sure they fit your body. Lace-up sides, for example, make the vest fit snugly around your body, like the Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Adjustable Vest. I’d say this particular vest wins the trophy when it comes to best fit!
Others also like velcro straps around the waist so you can easily adjust them. The ZFOsports Weighted Vest, like most vests, features a velcro belt. The ZFOsports one is better for those of bigger builds, though.
The weight of the vest is also one of the most important things to look out for. If you’ve never had any experience with free weights or weightlifting, it might be best that you try that out first before investing in a weighted vest.
This is because you never really know your capacity unless you try free weights first. You might get a vest that is way too heavy for your workouts that it would take you months before your body is ready to use it.
I’ve seen a lot of stories about runners getting the 12-pound vest only to find out that it’s heavier than it seems!
To guide you through this, you have to figure out your maximum weight for the weighted vest. According to the American Bone Health, weighted vests should not exceed 10 percent of your body weight.
My top pick, Aduro Sport Weighted Vest, has a weight of down to 4 pounds. To me, this is more than enough for running and for beginners.
A Harvard Health Letter suggests that people with back and neck problems should avoid weighted vests. In general, though, weighted vests can help promote new bone cells.
Weighted vests are also much better than ankle weights and wrist weights since these tend to create tension in your muscles and joints where there should be none.
The best thing to do is to check with your doctor to see if weighted vests are a good option for you. Check your cardiovascular health, especially since adding weights will increase your heart rate and will put pressure on your bones and joints.
The balance of your vest is something you must consider. Evenly-distributed weights will be much gentler on your back and neck than others.
The Tone Fitness Weighted Vest, in particular, is something to avoid for people with back and neck pain. Its selling point is its lower price and basic features, though.
You’re going to want to go for vests that have weights at the front and the back of the vest, like the RUNmax Pro Weighted Vest. It has pockets across your body for its removable weights.
Frequently Asked Questions About Weighted Vests For Training
Q: Can I use ankle weights or wrist weights instead?
A: Ankle weights also can be beneficial for certain exercises such as leg lifts. However, for running, it might be harmful. According to Harvard, the added weight on your ankles while walking or running can force you to use your quads instead of hamstrings, causing muscle imbalance.
Wrist weights are better, but injuries in the wrist, elbows, shoulders, and neck are more likely to happen than in weighted vests. This is because the weight is mostly focused on your wrists, creating imbalance.
Q: Are wearable weights harmful?
A: Wearable weights are not harmful if you wear them properly. Some wearable weights will be good for certain exercises only, like those mentioned earlier. Weighted vests are actually a safe option — the safest of the most popular wearable weights out there — since it tends to evenly distribute the weight around your body.
This also does not create any extra tension in the wrong places. It strengthens your bones slowly but surely by adding pressure. Those with back or neck problems should stay away, though. Always check with your doctor!
Q: Can I train for a marathon with a running vest?
A: You can train for a marathon or any race with a running vest. However, it might be a good idea to stop using it 2 to 3 weeks before the race to let your body recover.
Weighted vests are a great option for those who like an extra challenge.
If you want to make your exercises more challenging without the burden that free weights have, then weighted vests will create that added pressure!
What I love about weighted vests, too, is how wide your range of motion can be even with the added weights. Adding weights to your running can be much more effective than simply going farther and adding miles and miles. It can keep your heart rate up, even at a slower pace.
The added weight will keep your heart pumping harder to get enough oxygen to your muscles. This is a great way to strengthen your cardiovascular fitness.
It comes with its own dangers, though, so be careful, especially if you have any back or neck problems. Check with your doctor, too. Weighted vests will exercise your cardiovascular system a lot more than normal workouts!
Research the features of each weighted vest and weigh your options. In the end, it’s your body that you have to decide for, so make sure you get a vest that would fit your preferences!
If running is your game like me, check out these vests specific for running. If you’re doing a lot of ground work with your weighted vests you might want to consider some workout gloves as well for protection. We’ve also done reviews on some of the best workout shoes for both men and women. Check it out, especially if you’re going to the gym regularly!
Have fun with that extra challenge!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.