Running with a Weighted Vest

Training with a weighted vest has been a long-standing tradition with the military and firefighters, as it helps to emulate the loads that they are likely to carry in their duties. 

Recently, thanks to CrossFit, it has become a more mainstream practice amongst athletes who want to get the most out of their training. 

What is a weighted vest? 

For those unfamiliar with a weighted vest, it is, quite simply a large vest (think of a police officer’s body armour) with small weights secured into it. They come in various sizes, styles and weights so you can make sure it fits you and your needs. 

They distribute the weight evenly across your torso and back and can help with resistance training, running, CrossFit and even hiking. 

What should you look for in a weighted vest? 

Before getting a weighted vest, you should consider why you want to use one and how it will benefit you, your exercise regime and your overall fitness. 

Start with a sensible weight 

Don’t attempt to put on a 40kg vest and then try and run 10k on your first go. Start small and light and increase the weight slowly and carefully. 

We like the PhysioRoom’s 15kg weighted vest with removable sandbags so it is adjustable to each athlete. Great for wearing when running or strength training to give you that extra bit of resistance. 

Make sure it’s comfortable

Try and go to a shop that sells the weighted vest so you can test it out and get some handy hints from staff. Making sure it fits properly and is comfortable even when you’ll be running, hiking or training for longer periods of time is important to make sure there are no issues when you start adding weights into it. 

Decathlon has a 10kg one that can be adjusted and has grips for easier weight distribution, as well as padding on the shoulders for comfort. 

Look for those added benefits

If you’re using the vest for more than CrossFit or strength training, check for hidden pockets so you can take gels or energy snacks out with you. If you don’t use all the pockets for weights, check that they are closed off so you can add your phone in there when you’re out and about. 

This Adidas one has zipped pockets for the weights so you can easily re-purpose them for other things. Perfect for longer training runs or hikes. 

Benefits of running with a weighted vest 

There are so many benefits to using a weighted vest during your workouts. 

  • Adding weight to your body makes you harder and more efficient
  • It can burn more calories as your body is using up more energy 
  • A weighted vest can help improve your posture – you won’t’ be hunched over during exercises as the vest will become uncomfortable.
  • It is a great way to partner up with someone just starting out with their fitness, but letting you get a great workout too. 

However, with benefits comes risks. You should always check that you have the vest on correctly, that you’re still exercising correctly and you get checked by a medical professional if you get injured. 

  • Gait issues – a weighted vest can cause you to lean or alter your centre of gravity. It might be worth getting your gait analysed with the vest on to make sure. 
  • It puts more pressure on your joints so your ankles and knees are at more of a risk. Remember to stretch, make sure it’s weighted correctly and you don’t wear it if you’re in pain. 

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