You want to make things even tougher? With a weighted vest, you get all the resistance burn and cardiovascular highs you’re after without specialized equipment.
Weighted vests are popular in calisthenic workouts and among runners and the Crossfit community thanks to their ability to make basic exercises more challenging.
Whether you’re a home workout aficionado or have aspirations of better fitness, you might want to try adding some extra resistance to your activities so we have come up with 5 of the top weighted wearables.
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We think the best weighted vest is no.1 on this list of 5…
- Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite
- Empower Weighted Vest
- Aduro Sport Weighted Vest
- Brute Force Weighted Vest 2.0
- miR Adjustable Weighted Vest
Our Top Five Best Weighted Vests Reviewed
The Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite, my personal favorite, is a highly adaptable weighted vest. The clever design features lace-up side straps, meaning the vest fits body shape.
As a bonus, it’s stylish enough to wear on top of your tee and slim-line enough to go underneath.
I’m a big fan of its construction, the durable and wickable Cordura material is comfortable to wear and because of it’s high resistance to abrasive wear, should last for years to come. This type of man-made nylon-based material is used in the military.
The quality does come at a higher price then others reviewed here but you can vary the weight. There are small pockets around the vest in which you can remove or add the zinc-coated steel weights. The vest comes fully weighted but more can be added because of the nature of the stretchy material.
The small (7= 1lb) weights should be evenly spread. They fit really snug and cause no problems with bounce when running, Crossfit or any physical activities.
- Adjustable weight
- Highly adjustable strapping which fits snugly
- Suitable for Men or Women
- 10, 15, or 20-pound vest options
- Thin and won’t get in the way during workouts
- Durable and stylish fabric
- Higher price tag than others on the market but you get what you pay for here
Empower is a weighted vest specifically designed with women in mind. The design cleverly navigates around curves of all shapes and sizes, making this product a great option for busty women.
With options starting from just 4 pounds, the apprehensive are catered for. If you’re into hard-core cardio and you’ve progressed your heart fitness, the heaviest option (16 pounds) ensures you’re working in a high right heart-rate zone.
For the wallet-friendly price and the range of weight options, you can’t go wrong with Empower’s vests.
- 4, 8, and 16-pound vest options
- Contoured X-shape comfortable for a woman’s curves
- Stretch material fits well on most sizes
- Convenient small pocket for keys or wallet
- Weight evenly distributed (sand)
- No option to increase the weight unless you buy the next heaviest vest
A versatile vest with differing weight options, Aduro’s offering means you won’t have to buy multiple vests as you progress.
An open-air design keeps you fresh and stops overheating under the vest. You won’t feel bogged down during cardio workouts and sweat dissipates faster. As the weight is centered on your back and shoulders, this vest is ideal for women.
If you always take your keys and phone running, the small stash pocket keeps your stuff secure.
- The option of 4, 6, 12, 20, or a whopping 25 pounds of weight
- Secure mesh pocket for phone or keys
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Sleek black styling
- Comfortable and well-suited to running
- Iron fillings might leak out on occasion
Are you a Crossfitter? If so, this is the weighted vest for you. If not, you’ll still feel hardcore in this camo-style number. It’s eminently comfortable, made to last, and comes from an esteemed US brand.
The strange part is that it doesn’t actually come with any weights. However, it does provide 12 pockets for you to add your own sandbags, something Crossfitters have been doing with this staple.
If you can’t find any sand, rice is a good second choice. Secure your rice in a flexible material, pop these into your vest’s pockets and you’re good to go.
- Option to add as much or little weight as you like
- High quality and made in the USA
- A trusted brand in Crossfit communities
- You’ll have to purchase your own weights, collect sand, or fiddle around with rice!
If you plan on going hard, the miR Air Flow Adjustable is one of the heaviest weighted vests on the market.
Less suited to running than others reviewed, miR’s Air Flow performs well during bodyweight workouts designed to increase muscle mass and strength. Cut the number of reps and sets in half with the 20-pound option then move to 30 pounds when you plateau.
Despite the weight, the vest is designed to keep air moving in and out, this also means sweat won’t accumulate as much keeping you feeling fresh.
It is difficult to get on and off though, so those with low patience levels might want to look elsewhere.
- The option of 20 or 30 pounds
- Clever design keeps you cool while working out
- The three-pound iron weights are removable
- Ideal for strength training at home or the gym
- Design is somewhat difficult to put on and take off until you’re used to it
Why Buy a Weighted Vest?
A weighted vest ups the intensity of your workout because you burn more calories from extra energy output. As a result, you build more muscle. The benefits don’t stop there though:
Increase Cardiovascular and Respiratory Performance
Mountaineers and ultramarathon runners often use weighted vests to train the heart and lungs to their maximum abilities.
In fact, several studies have proven how weighted vests help condition the cardiovascular system. Improving heart health is something we all need to think about, whether we’re marathon runners or not.
Even if your personal Everest is keeping up with the kids on the weekend while they run amok in the park, a weighted vest can get you there.
Increase Bone Density
Working out with a weighted vest can lead to decreased bone mineral density (BMD) loss in post-menopausal women. Your BMD matters because with low levels, you’re more prone to fractures and a likelier candidate for joint replacement surgery.
When to Avoid Weighted Vests
A weighted vest might not be for you if you have pre-existing joint or cardiovascular issues. Extra weight places more impact on your joints, which is why obesity and joint pain have a strong correlation.
If you’re not sure, check with your doctor or physiotherapist before you start working out with a weighted vest.
If you’re new to vigorous home workouts, consider raising your fitness level before progressing your activities with additional weight.
Choose the Right Weighted Vest for the Job
Most weighted vests are unisex, however, some are more comfortable for men. If you have larger breasts, consider how adjustable the straps are. There are vests for the fuller figure – sorry, that’s not my favorite phrase.
Some weighted vests are better for running while others suit in-situ type training. In general, lighter vests cover a smaller surface area, making them more comfortable for running. Others are bulkier but are better for those doing strength or calisthenic workouts.
Figure out your training goals, consider your size, and make your decision based on what suits you best.
How to Use Your Weighted Vest
There are many ways to use a weighted vest, here are the safest and most common exercises.
Weighted vests are extremely helpful when it comes to making bodyweight exercises harder. If you’re a Crossfitter, you’ll use your vest in a similar way with your kipping pull-ups, push-ups, and squats.
If you need more inspiration, here’s a video to follow on your next Weight Vest Wednesday:
If sprints aren’t hard enough, challenge your anaerobic threshold further by adding a few extra pounds to your intervals-style run sessions. Testing this threshold is challenging but it’s a proven way to burn fat and get over any plateau of fitness.
Steady aerobic exercises such as running or cycling are a common way to use a weight vest. Use a weighted vest to make shorter runs more intense if you don’t have time for lengthy workouts.
This is a great way to train for an event such as hiking a mountain, completing a marathon, or taking part in a distance cycling event. It’s always nice to know if you can physically get through an upcoming event but if you can do it with an extra 16 lbs strapped around your body – even if it sounds mad – it’ll give you a lot of confidence.
The Best Weighted Vest
For many people, myself included, the best weighted vest is Hyperwear’s Hyper Vest Elite. Yes, the price is higher than others on our list but for the versatility, comfort, and durability it’s worth it and you’re able to add and remove weights.
If you have a specific goal or training regime, other vests might work better. For example, the Brute Force vest will keep you up to speed in the Crossfit community and the Aduro Sport weighted vest is ideal for running.