Weighted vests are garments people wear to add weight to their body when working out. Wearing a weighted vest can increase your speed, strength, and endurance by increasing the resistance placed on your body through various movements.
With a weighted vest, you can go for a walk or do rigorous interval training mixed with compound bodyweight movements and cardio. Here are some of the top-weighted vests online researched by our expert health and fitness board.
1. Aduro Sport Weighted Vest
This weighted vest is equipped with an adjustable front belt and soft neoprene material and fits comfortably on men, women or children. It’s harnessed with a mesh pocket on the back which saves you room for you to add extra weight if you need too.
The snug fit, extra weight option, and even fit across your entire body without slipping and sliding ranks this vest #1 on our list.
2. RUNmax Pro Weighted Vest
Weights come included on this vest and can be added or removed anytime. It gives you the option to add shoulder pads if you need to and has pockets located on the front and back to give you comfort during your workouts without straining your back or neck.
It even has a phone pocket and water bottle holder too, so you can stay hydrated and listen to your favorite workout music.
3. RUNFast/Max Adjustable Weighted Vest
This one size fits most vest includes a water bottle holder and phone pocket.
Also, it’s suited with shoulder pads too and comes with ten 8 pound removable weights, so you can continuously make progress on your workouts.
4. ZFOsports Weighted Vest
A special design vest for female users equipped with a pocket for your phone or music device. This vest has a water bottle holder designed to fit all water bottles 160oz or smaller.
A belt is attached for making it easy to set up.
5. Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite
This weighted vest is adjustable and comfortable, and it’s an advanced design to place less stress on your shoulders.
The condura sleek black fabric, reflective YKK zipper, and elastic laces makes it extremely durable.
6. Hyper Vest Pro
The stretch fabric on this vest is wicking, odor resistant, cool and comfortable, and has open side ventilation.
It’s a unisex with its highly-adjustable side lacing making it a great fit for all sexes.
7. Henkelion Running Weight Vest
This one’s filled with premium iron pellets and metal rock instead of cheap sand and has an adjustable strap to prevent slipping and sliding.
The pockets located in the front and back distributes weight evenly throughout any workout.
8. miR Air Flow Weighted Vest
miR Air Flow is washable to keep your vest clean, and its airflow design keeps your body cool throughout your entire workout to prevent dehydration and overheating.
Coming with adjustable straps, this vest fits any user for a cozy fit during physical activity.
9. CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest
This weighted vest is designed with anchor hooks for parachute training making it perfect for an explosive sprint workout.
Its reflective stripes make it easily visible when you’re walking or running.
10. ZELUS Weighted Vest
With an adjustable buckle strap and reflective stripes, this vest is comfortable and provides a safe workout.
The premium chloroprene rubber makes it last even under extreme weather conditions.
How We Ranked
When ranking the weighted vest, we made sure that each vest fits comfortably. Since it will be harnessed on your body during your workout, it needs to fit comfortably, so it doesn’t affect your workout performance or cause injury. Aduro Sport Weighted Vest is ranked number one with a strong reason being it fits comfortably on men, women, and children with its soft neoprene material. RUNFast/Max Adjustable Weighted Vest is ranked in the top three since it’s one size fits all fits comfortably on most people. Henkelion Running Weight Vest made the list since it’s adjustable straps prevent slipping and sliding.
Also, you want a weighted vest that will keep you cool during your workouts to prevent your body from getting overheated or dehydrated. miR Air Flow Weighted Vest showed up on our ranking list since it’s airflow design keeps you cool throughout your entire workout. Hyper Vest Pro ranked towards the middle since it has open side ventilation for a cool and comfortable workout.
On top of comfort and staying cool, you need a vest that’s going to last a while and can withstand intense workouts. Although ZELUS Weighted Vest appeared short in the rankings, it’s premium chloroprene rubber allows you to work out under the most extreme weather conditions without damaging which earned it a spot on our list. Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite made the top 5 because it’s durable fabric and elastic laces allow it to last under any condition.
A weighted vest improves your strength. Weighted vest require you to add resistance to everything you’re doing.
8 cycling and running subjects support the claim that resistance training increases your strength. These cyclists and runners underwent strength training for 3 days a week for 10 weeks, and after the 10-week cycle, the subjects average leg strength increased by 30% (1).
A study by Texas Tech University backs up the notion weighted vest increases the strength of collegiate football players (2).
This 6-week study performed on collegiate athletes showed that performing plyometric drills with a weighted vest increased their strength more than performing plyometric drills without a vest.
A weighted vest increases your endurance. The same study mentioned earlier also showed that heavy resistance training increases your endurance by 11-13% during cycling and running (3).
A weighted vest makes you better at bodyweight movements. The added resistance to weighted vest makes you stronger on push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and planks.
Bodyweight strength is correlated with more relative strength which is the strength for your size. With that being said, the more pushup and pullups you’re able to rep out, the stronger you are for your size.
If you’re capable of performing pushups and pull-ups with a weighted vest on your body, then you’ll substantially increase the amount of reps you’re capable of doing without the vest on.
A weighted vest can boost your immune system. In 2010, ABC Science issued a study proving that exercise boosts your immune system. Researchers from Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina examined subjects between the ages of 18 to 55 to determine how much exercise affects their health over 12 weeks.
Those in the top quarter of fitness levels experienced 43% fewer days with upper respiratory tract illness (URTI) than those in the lowest 25% of fitness levels (4).
The premise of this testing is that the stronger your immune system, the less likely you are to get sick.
A weighted vest adds variety to your workouts. Traditional workouts can become boring and dull leading many to plateau in their fitness journey. With a weighted vest, you’ll be sure to always mix up your workouts and keep progressing.
Whether you want to go for a run, walk, or do bodyweight movements, a weighted vest will keep your workouts fun and interesting.
A weighted vest makes you faster and quicker. A 2014 study performed on 24 male sport science students examined the effects of different loading conditions on acceleration, maximum speed, and final performance of a 50m sprint.
The study looked at the countermovement jump and 50m run with and without an extra loading and inferred that resistance training with a weighted vest increases your speed (5).
A weighted vest increases your power. Wearing a weighted vest makes your legs stronger and the more leg strength an individual has, the higher their power will be. Also, the stronger you are for your body weight, the more power you will possess.
Power is the combination of speed and strength. If you’re lighter and have high strength, you’ll be fast and explosive, therefore more powerful.
A weighted vest increases your vertical. As a result, if you increase your power, your vertical will increase as well. Wearing a weighted vest to do leg exercises and plyometric exercises will build strength and power in your legs which will make you jump higher.
A study published in 2016 scrutinized the effects resistance sprint training had on explosive performance in elite soccer players. The 32 young Spanish soccer players participating considerably improved their jumping ability after resistance sprinting (6).
With a weighted vest, you can do resistance sprints enabling you to jump higher.
A weighted vest improves your cardiovascular health. Wearing a weighted vest increases the intensity of a workout. According to Circulation Research, substantial evidence links higher levels of physical activity to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (7).
When you exercise, you increase your cardiac output which lowers your chances of developing various cardiovascular diseases. Of course, the more intense the exercise is the more blood your heart pumps which keeps your cardiovascular system healthy.
A weighted vest increases your V02 max. Your VO2 max is the amount of oxygen your body is capable of consuming during exercise. Europe PMC published a study showing heavy resistance training increased individuals V02 (8).
As well, an inquiry looked at the metabolic response endurance training athletes had with an added load. The data presented an increase in the athlete’s VO2 during submaximal running after the added load period (9).
A weighted vest improves your sleep. Resistance training gives you better quality sleep. A meta-analysis of 38 studies was compiled together yielding 211 effects on 201 subjects to determine the effect acute exercise had on sleep. The scanning conveyed a positive correlation between exercise and decreased sleep disturbances (10).
A weighted vest improves cognitive function. A growing number of studies are starting to praise the fact that physical exercise leads to increased mental health.
Lack of exercise can lead to all sorts of problems like obesity, anxiety, and depression. Here’s an article that examined the positive effects aerobic activity had on cognitive function (11).
A weighted vest improves your core strength. Weighted vests allow you to do a variety of bodyweight movements that engage your core. Your core is used as stabilizing muscles through many compound movements such as squats and pushups.
With a weighted vest, you can challenge your core with weighted sit-ups and planks to build strong abdominals.
A weighted vest boosts your metabolism. Consequently, the more efficient your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn. Nowadays, resistance exercise has been established in numerous science-backed studies to increase the rate at which you burn calories.
In this study, endurance athletes wore a vest weighing 9%-10% of their body weight every day from morning to evening for 4 weeks. The study separated the athletes into an experimental and control group. The experimental group had a lower 2 mmol lactate threshold, improved running time to exhaustion, and an increased VO2 during submaximal running (12).
Concluding that anaerobic metabolism in the leg muscles during submaximal and maximal exercise increases after an added load period. Furthermore, a couple of resources inspected how walking with a weighted vest affected metabolic responses. 10 people performed a standardized test with a weighted vest on a treadmill and showed that using a weighted vest can increase metabolic responses (13, 14).
A weighted vest helps you warm up. Warming up is important to prevent musculoskeletal injuries and increase performance before a physical activity. One study showed that warming up with a weighted vest improves running performance.
NCBI published research suggesting that wearing a weighted vest on a treadmill has a priming effect on leg stiffness and running economy enhancing competitive endurance performance (15).
Besides, The Journal of Athletic Training performed a study on female athletes in 2006 to determine the acute effects warming up had on them with and without a vest. 18 healthy high school female athletes performed a 5-minute jog combined with 4 randomly ordered warm-up protocols. The experiment measured each female’s vertical jump, long jump, seated medicine ball toss, and 10-yard sprint. A significant vertical jump was measured after the females warmed up with a weighted vest on (16).
A weighted vest burns more calories than working out without any extra weight. Of course, the more energy an exercise requires, the more calories you burn. Workouts with an added load increase your energy output to burn more calories and stimulate fat loss. Weighted vest increases the workload you do, therefore increases the amount of calories you expend.
According to a 2014 study conducted by ACE, walking with a weighted vest burns more calories than walking without a vest. 13 untrained female subjects, ages 18 to 55, walked at a constant speed of 2.5 mph at a 0% incline with a weighted vest 15% of their body weight and elicited a 12% increase in the amount of calories burned (17).
ACE also looked at the effects weighted vest had during stood cycling. 12 trained female subjects, ages 32 to 48, randomly performed a 4-minute standing vest trial. The women either didn’t wear a vest or wore a vest of varied weight. Their VO2, kilocalorie expenditure, and HR were monitored, and they had a 67-76% increase in energy expenditure (18).
In other words, wearing a weighted vest can improve the amount of calories your body burns when exercising among a holistic of other benefits.
A weighted vest helps you burn fat. When you add resistance to movement, you ignite a muscular response that builds muscle. As a result, the more muscle you have, the less fat you’ll have.
Also, muscle increases your basal metabolic rate which is the amount of calories you burn at rest. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn, and as a result, torch more fat.
A weighted vest builds muscle. Countless evidence has shown that resistance training builds a substantial amount of muscle (19). Training with a weighted vest adds resistance to any movement you do.
A weighted vest equips you with the tools to add resistance to compound movements like pushups and pull-ups which work some of the largest muscles in your body for maximal muscle growth.
A weighted vest creates muscle confusion. Doing the same movements time and time again can cause progress to stale. When you mix up the movements you do, your muscles can start to make progress again.
Adding a weighted vest to your workouts will shock your body and make it adapt to something it’s not used to and cause muscle growth as a byproduct.
A weighted vest gives you better balance and posture. Bone health is important for good posture and adding a load to your body strengthens your bones. 36 volunteer, sedentary menopause women were randomly divided into three groups: aerobic, weighted vest, and control. After 6 weeks of exercise, results proved that both aerobic and weighted vest exercises stimulate bone synthesis while wearing a weighted vest significantly increases your balance (20).
A weighted vest prevents bone loss in postmenopausal women. Weight training is one of the best activities you can do to strengthen your bones, and with a weighted vest, you’ll maintain strong bones for life. According to the study above, wearing a weighted vest improves female bone synthesis (21).
Another 2000 bone study investigating the long-term effects wearing a weighted vest had on exercise displayed a prevention in hip bone loss. 18 postmenopausal women showed an increase in bone mineral density after engaging in weighted vest exercises 3x per week over five years (22).
A weighted vest improves your attention span. People, especially children, suffering from ADHD have notable improvements in their ability to pay attention after wearing a weighted vest.
The American Journal of Occupational Therapy examined the role of a weighted vest played in increasing the attention and decreasing self-stimulatory behaviors of preschool children. 5 children were measured over 6 weeks and all demonstrated a decrease in the number of distractions and an increase in the duration of focused attention (23).
A weighted vest could be bad for your back and spine for people with back problems. People with a bad back and spine should avoid adding any resistance to their bodies because this only makes the matter worse.
The back and spine are crucial for your overall well being. Your spine is an essential component of the CNS (central nervous system) which is critical for the movement of the human body.
A weighted vest can alter your sense of gravity. The added weight vest places on your body can make you lose balance especially when you factor in workouts that require speed, explosiveness, or agility. That’s because all these movements make your body create a different angle of body lean, altering your natural biomechanics.
A weighted vest may cause spinal compression. Any load placed on your body causes spinal compression. Spinal or disc issues can create problems through your back and up to your neck.
If you experience any pain, numbness, or tingling in your upper extremity while using your weighted vest, it’s important to consult your doctor.
Weighted vests could lead to overheating and dehydration. Working out increases your body temperature, and when you add a weighted vest in to the mix, you increase your body temperature even more. The thickness of a weighted vest will store extra body heat which may onset dehydration.
You must drink plenty of water before, after, and during exercise to stay cool and hydrated.
Weighted vests can lead to impact-related joint injuries. The extra stress vest place on your body impacts significant forces to your body when running or jumping.
Weighted vests may hurt your shoulders. When you wear a weighted vest, your upper body supports the top layer putting unwanted pressure on your shoulders.
The biggest culprit to shoulder injuries with a vest is the weight shifting up and down as you exercise. To prevent this, make sure your vest fits tightly and snugly around your body.
If you’re using it for low-intensity exercises like walks, you can use it every day. However, if you plan on doing high-intensity exercises like HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or sprints, you should only use it a few days a week.
Of course, walks are low intensity and don’t require much energy exertion from your body, so you can go on walks every day with your vest with no repercussions. Although, HIIT workouts are taxing and doing them too often with your weighted vest can be dangerous for your body. Too much HIIT training can not only injure your muscles as a result of overtraining, but it can increase your cortisol levels.
Also, if you’re going to use your vest to strength train make sure you work a variety of muscles and take days off to give your muscles a chance to recover. For example, if you do push-ups one day, do pull-ups the next day. If you work out the same muscle group too often, you’ll increase your risk of injury and form muscular imbalances throughout your body.
Noteworthy, you can wear your weighted vest every day if it’s used to treat ADHD. As aforementioned, studies have connected wearing a weighted vest to decreased distraction and increased focus (24).
How much weight should I get for my weighted vest? There is no recommended weight. It will depend on each individual’s strength level. However, many therapists recommend 5-10% of your body weight. Be careful not to use too much weight, or you could injure yourself.
How much weight should I start with for my weighted vest? It depends on what fitness level you’re at and if you’re training for strength or endurance. If you’re a beginner, it’s better to start light and work your way up to 20% of your body weight. For endurance training, you want your vest to be lighter than when you’re using it to strength train.
What size is a weighted vest? Sizes of weighted vests vary. For example, a small one is around 20 lbs while a medium one weighs about 23 lbs. Also, many vests allow you to add resistance to them.
Can I hand wash my weighted vest? Yes, you can hand wash your vest with mild detergent, although the vest should not be soaked in water for a long time.
What’s the best weighted vest for CrossFit? Since CrossFit is an intense workout that requires various movements, it will raise your body temperature. To avoid overheating, you’ll want a vest that’s comfortable and keeps you cool. We recommend the Hyper Vest Pro or miR Air Flow Weighted Vest for CrossFit to stay cool and hydrated.
What’s the best weighted vest for women? We recommend the ZFOsports weighted vest for women because it’s specifically designed for women.
What’s the best weighted vest workout? That depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. You can sprint, jog, and do weighted calisthenics with vests for a variety of workouts. The best workout will include a mix of all of them.
What’s the best weighted vest for kids? Our top-ranked Aduro Sport Weighted Vest is the best weighted vest for kids. It’s flexible and fits comfortably on men, women, and children.
What’s the best weighted vest for dogs? None of the weighted vests above are meant for dogs. Dogs have vests specially made for them, so you’ll have to do your research on that.
What’s the best weighted vest for running? Running requires a lot of perspiration, so the best weighted vest for running will have a water bottle holder and keep you cool to stay hydrated and prevent overheating. Also, for endurance training, you want the vest to be lighter than you would for strength training.
With that being said, we recommend the Hyper Vest Pro, miR Air Flow Weighted Vest, or RUNmax Pro Weighted Vest. The Hyper Vest Pro has open side ventilation to keep you cool, the miR Air Flow Weighted Vest airflow design prevents overheating, and RUNmax Pro Weighted Vest has a water bottle holder to keep you hydrated.
What are some benefits of a weighted vest? Weighted vests give you a host of benefits such as increased strength, speed, endurance, and balance. As stated above, research shows it burns extra calories and improves your bone health as well (25, 26).
Is it okay to do walking with a weighted vest? Absolutely, weighted vests are great for walking and will strengthen your bones and help you burn more calories than walking without a vest.
What’s great about walking is that it’s a low-intensity exercise, so you can walk with it every day without any negative effects of overtraining or developing muscular imbalances.
How is a weighted vest for your posture? A weighted vest improves your posture by improving your bone health. The alignment and strength of your bones is imperative for an upright posture.
What’s the best weighted vest? Aduro Sports Weighted Vest is the overall number ranked vest on our list. It’s even fitted across your body to keep you balanced, comes with extra weight, and doesn’t slip while you’re doing vigorous exercise.
What about wearing a weighted vest all day? Wearing a weighted vest will strengthen your bones and can help you burn more calories. No research has found wearing a weighted vest all day to be harmful.
Can you do some running with a weighted vest? Yes, weighted vests are great for running. Just make sure the weight is lighter while you run than it is while you strength train.
Is a weighted vest good for weight loss? Yes, weighted vest adds extra weight to your workouts and burns more calories than working out without a weighted vest. Naturally, the more calories you burn, the more weight you’ll lose.
Is a weighted vest bad for you? Weighted vests are inherently safe. However, a weighted vest can cause joint pain and aren’t good for people with back or neck problems because the added load places pressure on your spine.
What does a weighted vest do to your body? A weighted vest adds extra weight to your body to increase the stress placed upon it during workouts. As a result, you’ll increase your strength, speed, and endurance.
Is it safe to walk with a weighted vest? Absolutely, walking places extra stress on your muscles and joints, but it’s a low-intensity exercise. Walking with a weighted vest on burns more calories than walking without one.
How long can you wear a weighted vest? You can wear a weighted vest for as long as you want because the amount of time you wear a weighted vest will have no negative effects on your body.
What does a weighted vest do for autism? A weighted vest helps people with autism because they improve people’s sensory processing which could increase individuals focus, attention, and learning.
Does a weighted vest make you faster? Yes, a weighted vest increases your running speed, and studies prove this (27).
Does a weighted vest burn more calories? Yes, adding weight to workouts increases the amount of calories burned. That’s because it increases the amount of work your body must do which results in more energy expenditure.
Is a weighted vest good for osteoporosis? Definitely, a weighted vest improves bone density for those with osteoporosis. In a study mentioned above, long-term exercise with a weighted vest prevented hip bone loss in postmenopausal women (28).
Is a weighted vest good for training? Yes, a weighted vest places extra stress on your body while you train, increasing your strength, speed, and endurance.
What does a weighted vest do for you? A weighted vest adds resistance to your workouts which makes you stronger and faster.
How do you make a weighted vest? You can create a DIY weighted vest by adding weights to clothes, but it’s not recommended. You want a vest made of high-quality like the vests listed above or you’ll impede your workout performance and risk injury. A DIY vest will likely create an uneven weight distribution and have negative effects on your body and workouts.
Why would a child need a weighted vest? A child suffering from autism may need a weighted vest to improve their attention. Sources claim wearing a weighted vest has a positive correlation with focus and attention in children (29).
Does a weighted vest work for ADHD? Yes, a weighted vest may increase your sensory processing which could improve ADHD.
How heavy should a weighted vest be? That will vary for each individual, but it should be heavy enough for a quality workout but light enough for the workout to still be safe. A good rule of thumb is to use 20% of your body weight.
When should I add a weighted vest to calisthenics? Once you can perform 8-12 reps with compound bodyweight movements like pushups, pullups, and squats, you can add weight to your weighted vest.
What does a weighted vest do for sensory integration? It adds additional pressure to your body which calms and relaxes people so the sensory stimulus can be processed.
Weighted vest add weight-bearing stress to your body to increase speed, strength, and endurance. Aside from the physical attributes weighted vest give you, they’re stellar for burning extra calories and have even been shown to increase your focus.
You must not have any back problems before using a weighted vest because the extra load placed on your body causes spinal compression which may cause problems in your back and neck.
For Fitbug’s #1 recommended vest, click here.