How To Train With A Weighted Vest

How To Train With A Weighted Vest

Thinking of indulging in a weighted vest? Good idea – training with a weighted vest can be a great way to increase speed and power and maximise intensity in your training.
Read on to find uses for your new investment that will result in increased muscular power and endurance, Vo2 Max benefits, increased bone density and even weight loss (and not just from taking your vest off!)

Pushups

Increase your upper body strength by adding resistance to this simple but classic move. Using a weighted vest can increase the metabolic costs, exercise intensity, and loading of the skeletal system thereby increasing your Vo2 max and muscular endurance for race day performance!
Try the Conor Hancock method: set a timer for 10 minutes and perform 10 pushups every minute, on the minute.

Plank

Wearing your vest while holding a plank will ensure you keep your core tight and whole mid-section braced to prevent your hips dropping to the floor thereby building a rock-solid set of abs, glutes and lower back!

Squats and Lunges

Use your vest to supercharge your squats and lunges – be performing these your legs will adapt to the added resistance and requiring more oxygen so when it comes to training without your vest you will see gains in muscular endurance helping you run faster for longer!

Pull-ups

We are all going to have to climb over a wall at some point during an OCR, so pull-ups and pulling exercises are essential. Performing reps of pull-ups wearing your weighted vest will let your body get used to lifting up a heavier weight, so when it comes to pulling only your body weight (and maybe a little added mud) over an obstacle, you will feel light as a feather.

Climbing

In addition to your pull-ups, if you are lucky enough to have access to an indoor rock-climbing centre (or a nearby mountain to climb) then wearing your weighted vest can show massive gains in grip strength as well as benefits for full-body muscular stamina and lung capacity.

Plyometrics

While these will need to be performed very carefully as plyometrics by their very nature put a lot of strain on the body, a few initial reps of box jumps and any explosive movement using an added load can drastically increase the metabolic needs and oxygen consumption of your muscular system, not to mention that taking the vest off will then make you feel like you’ll be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

Weighted Vest
It was impossible to come up with a caption sillier than this picture already is

Sprints

Sprint training with an external load such as a weighted vest has been shown to have benefits on posture, technique and overall power output in sprinters when training with as little as 5% of their bodyweight added. 2-3 sprints wearing a vest followed by 2-3 maximal sprints without will help you see increases in your speed.

Hill Sprints

Wearing a weighted vest to increase the difficulty of running up a steep incline can aid in training your body to run more efficiently, maintaining an upright posture and strengthening your legs. As with the flat sprints, 2-3 loaded efforts followed by 2-3 unloaded will be plenty to notice a difference.

Everyday Activities

Tests of weighted vests worn during daily activities measuring the effect on running speed, jumping power, and agility in young men proved successful in improving postural balance and power production capacity as well as improving agility-related performance.

When it comes to simply walking, wearing a vest will not interfere with your normal gait (like other methods eg. ankle weights can) or the way you impact the ground, yet still add enough of an external load to increase the intensity and benefits from the exercise.

Burpees

You didn’t think we were going to leave out burpees did you? Performing full burpees with a weighted vest will massively strengthen your core as well as power output from your upper and lower body. It is important to take your time and maintain strong core stability during this exercise as well as landing softly to prevent any unwanted strains!

Remember These Simple Rules

  • Spend extra time on a thorough warm up before any training session using a weighted vest.
  • Mainly use your weighted vest for speed & power within training – not long endurance work, the endurance will cross over from the speed & power sessions.
  • Don’t wear them during every training session – no more than 50% of your training sessions should utilise a weighted vest to prevent over-exertion or strains from occurring.
  • Make sure it fits and is on tight!

Written by me, Keith Fairburn; 
Personal Trainer, Sports Therapist, S&C Coach. 
Ninja Warrior Semi-Finalist, Obstacle Racer, Salming Running Ambassador.
 
If you have any questions about anything I’ve written in this post or want to get in touch use my contact page.
 

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