In this review feature, we take a look at the best weighted vests on the market. Weighted training clothes and vests have become a popular category in the workout equipment category. They can be an excellent passive way to build muscle over time, but they really shined when used to increase the intensity of a workout session.
Weighted vests are a powerful supplementary tool for athletes and fitness buffs, helping build strength faster and increasing calories burned.
11 Best Weighted Vests & Training Clothes of 2016
Here is our weighted vest reviews section. First up, our comparison table gives you an overview of the top options out there right now. Past the chart, you’ll find our reviews where we take a closer look at the 11 best weighted vests. One thing to watch out for is the shipping costs on the weighted vests, especially the heavier ones.
|Pure Fitness Weighted Vest||20-40lbs||Vest/Strap|
|Empower Women's Weighted Fitness Vest||8lbs||Vest/Buckles|
|Tone Fitness Weighted Vest||12lbs||Vest/Buckle|
|HumanX Weight Vest||1-40lbs||Vest/Strap|
|Cross 101 Adjustable Weighted Vest||5-40lbs||Vest/Strap|
|V Force Weight Vest||5-40 lbs||Vest/Buckle|
|Titin Hyper Gravity Weight Compression Shorts||4.5lbs||Shorts/Fitted|
|MiR Adjustable Weighted Vest||20-90lbs||Vest/Straps|
|Titin Force Weighted Shirt System||8lbs||Shirt/Zipper|
|Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO||10-65lbs||Vest/Tie|
|CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest||40-150lbs||Vest/Strap|
The company CAP Barbell manufacturers top of the line exercise equipment and their weighted vest is no exception. Conveniently, the CAP Weighted Vest is offered in eight weight options. Furthermore, the vests themselves are adjustable in 2.5 pound increments. So if you buy the 40 pound vest, you can remove 30 pounds (or however much you desire) until you feel comfortable and strong enough for heavier resistance. This alone makes the CAP vest one of the best weighted vests on the market.
The craftsmanship is top tier, the velcro straps and pockets are all very thick and intensively stitched. The weight mechanism with this vest are weighted sand bags, which are easy to remove and add quickly. The one size fits all adjustable belt finishes this vest off nicely and makes it an excellent choice for individuals of all fitness levels.
Hyperwear is the manufacturer of the Hyper Vest, a professional grade vest that has a price tag to match. While it is much more expensive than the CAP vest, the thin profile of the Hyper Vest (plus the stretch fabric) offers an unprecedented level of mobility during intense workouts. Men’s Health Magazine voted the Hyper Vest PRO the best weighted vest. The vest holds high density steel weights which are amazingly only 1/4 thick. Even with weights added, it would be difficult to tell someone was wearing this vest under a baggy shirt.
It comes in 5 sizes (small, med, large, XL, and XXL) and keep in mind that each size has a max load capacity. The vest comes with 10 pounds of weights and you can buy “booster packs” to add additional weight to the vest. Ultimately, it is an expensive proposition, but there’s nothing else really like it on the market yet. The fabric is also very high quality, exhibiting moisture wicking, ventilation, and odor resistance properties. An added bonus is that it is machine washable which is pretty much a must have with the amount of sweat that will be pouring into it after a crazy workout.
This weighted vest from Cross101 is a well priced vest with a pretty serious camouflage style. This is nearly half the price of other vests in the weighted vest category. The 40 pound vest comes with 10 four pound weights. These weights are made from iron ore. Obviously you can remove as many of the 10 individual pieces for your desired weight. The belt is wide and adjustable which makes it easy to fit snug to your body.
The downside to this vest is that it is not great for running and jogging as the weights slide up and down and may even smack you in the back if you get going fast enough. With a long enough run the friction could even rub you raw in a couple of the impact points so beware. Otherwise, this is an excellent vest for doing body weight exercises and strength and agility training.
The V-Force vest is a military grade, short style weight vest. This keeps the weight off the stomach and rests it on the shoulders much like a backpack. It is a very expensive vest, thankfully the manufacturer includes free shipping to addresses in the USA. It comes in 7 color styles with some pretty cool camo options as well.
The wider shoulder design makes this vest much better for hiking and running than a vest like the Cross101. The pockets are multilayered for maximum durability and the wide adjustment straps are very thick. The individual weights are each immaculately coated and labeled, they are very durable and are unlikely to bust and spill sand like some cheaper vests.
Other Options Worth Considering
How do Weighted Training Clothes Work?
Weighted training vests are exactly what they sound like: heavy vests worn on the upper body. There are a many designs but they all have one purpose and that is to be heavy. Most are equipped with pockets to be fitted with steel bars or small sand bags, and/or constructed with a very heavy material. They are an optimal way to add resistance to your workouts across the board without compromising biomechanics.
Some of the heaviest vests will feel like you are lugging around a second body and muscle fatigue will compound rapidly. For those of you who have played football, think of shoulder, neck, and back muscle fatigue that resulted from a two hour practice from wearing pads and helmets. Now take that fatigue and increase it exponentially across the body and you’ll start to have an idea of what wearing one of these weighted vests is like during an intense workout.
One of the prominent figures who popularized training with weighted clothes was Lieutenant Michael Murphy. He was a Navy Seal who was killed in action, continuing to fight even after sustaining multiple wounds. Besides living a life majoring in general badassry, Lieutenant Michael Murphy was known to do workouts which comprised of mile long runs, 300 squats, 200 push ups, and 100 pull ups all while wearing a 25 pound flak jacket. Some CrossFit athletes will perform the “MURPH” workout on Memorial Day where they have the option to rock a weighted vest during the duration as well—though not many are wearing a 25 pound version.
These weighted vests and clothes are typically come with adjustment straps and are contoured to your body to fit snugly. Most are adjustable so you can add/remove individual weights (as shown in the example to the right) to adjust the resistance level. This helps them stay put even during the most vigorous workouts.
Some are designed so well it can be difficult to tell someone is wearing one under baggier clothes, it usually just appears like they put on 10 lbs of muscle on their upper body. Most commonly weighted vests are used in consort with speed or distance running, body weight exercises (calisthenics), and agility type drills. While weighted training clothes aren’t a primary means of building muscle or burning fat, they are a potent way to increase the difficulty of many exercises and accelerate gains.
Weighted vests have been shown in studies to improve neuromuscular performance in adults. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning showed wearing vests during training improved agility-related performance in young men. This is likely due to the effect that muscle fibers become programmed to believe there is more resistance on the body than there actually is, then after the weight is removed, the body still believe the extra weight remains. In turn, increased power output results. In response to the increased demand from the weightload, the human body will build additional muscle fibers to assist with the load.
5 Ways to Get the Most out of a Weighted Vest
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from using a weighted vest. It turns out that weighted vests are actually a pretty useful multi-purpose exercise tool. Weighted vest pull ups is a particularly effective way to incorporate a weighted vest, and much easier than wearing a weight belt and adding weight plates to it.
Here are some popular and creative ways to use one:
1. Do Cardiovascular Training with a Weighted Vest
You can start with 2 minute treadmill runs or 10 minutes of light jogging. Any type of cardio is going to be extremely difficult at first with one of these hefty training vests on. However, some of the best weighted vests will allow enough flexibility that exercising is not uncomfortable, just challenging. Once you build up to 45-60 minutes of running with a weighted vest and 0 breaks you’ll be ripped out of your mind. If you want to be super extreme strap on the weighted vest, pop the treadmill in steep incline mode, and see how long you can last before you start reaching for the lower speed button.
2. Endure a Workout Circuit with a Weighted Vest
It is possible to perform any type of circuit with a weighted vest, but obviously each circuit will vary in difficulty. If you’re working out at home, you can do a robust all body workout that rapidly gets your body into fat burning range. All you need is a treadmill, pull up bar, weighted vest, and your body weight.
Execute the Following:
- 5 Minute Treadmill Run
- 25 Push-Ups with Weighted Vest
- 25 Lunges with Weighted Vest
- 25 Squats with Weighted Vest
- 5 Weighted Vest Pullups
- 25 Weighted Vest Sit Ups
When first starting out, you may need a pretty long break before going through this circuit a second time. As your strength and endurance increases, you’ll be able to hit this circuit 3-5 times. Beginners will want about a 10 pound vest for a circuit such as the one above.
3. Go for a Weighted Vest Hike or Walk
Why not experience the great outdoors while getting a full body workout in that kicks your butt? Sometimes using a weighted vest for going out for a quick walk with your kids or partner is a nice way to turn a simple pleasure stroll into something that benefits your endurance level. For those that become easily distracted or bored with machine workouts, experiencing nature is a welcome addition. For walking, you’ll want a heavier vest of at least 25 pounds or even greater than 50 lbs depending on your fitness level. Intense hikes or mountain climbs you probably won’t want to go as heavy unless you plan to take a lot of breaks.
4. Lift Weights with a Weighted Vest
Any lifting routine can usually be supplemented with a weighted vest as long as it isn’t too bulky. Your lifts will be seriously amplified with a weighted vest on. Try hitting the big 5 lifts: squats, bench press, rows, cleans, and deadlifts with a weighted vest on. Do anywhere from 3 to 5 sets of each of these major lifts for a full body workout. Not only will you be hitting all the major muscle groups, all the core, lower back, and secondary muscles will be feeling the burn too. Plus you’ll expend that many more calories every exercise. Even doing something like this once a week with the added challenge of a training vest will keep the body strong and maintain muscle.
5. Do Weighted Vest Chores
Now this may seem a bit silly a first but hear us out. Gardening, laundry, yard work, and other types of chores can be amped up by throwing on a weighted vest. Housework is an inevitability of living, so you may as well get a workout in doing these activities you would normally be doing anyway. Two birds, one stone, right? You’ll burn that many more calories by adding that extra weight that your body as to work to carry around. Plus, if you’re concerned about being seen in a weighted vest at the gym, you can still put it to work at home.
Things to Consider Before Using a Weighted Vest
Before you go all Rambo and strap one of these bad boys on and attempt a 10 mile run through the dense jungle, you need to be honest to yourself about your current level of fitness. If you can only do 5 pull ups and you are shopping for a 75 pound vest, your just asking for trouble that first rep. If you already struggle through your workouts or the WODS you do for CrossFit guys out there, it isn’t a good idea to incorporate any type of weighted training clothes. If you’re only working out about one time a week a weighted vest probably isn’t for you either. Gradually conditioning yourself and building up muscle is the name of the game here.
Safety should always come first when it comes to any kind of exercising. Weighted vests, especially heavy ones, can increase the risk of injury, particularly when doing certain exercises such as pull ups for example. If you are doing high intensity cardiovascular exercise, some vests may cause overheating or feel as if they are constricting your breathing. Just remember to take additional breaks and drink extra water than you normally would.