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 accessory in the workout equipment category. If you’ve ever worn football shoulder pads for a 2+ hour long practice, you have an idea of how a weighted vest will fatigue your muscles and hit ones you didn’t even know you have. Weighted apparel can be an excellent passive way to build muscle over time, but they are also great for increasing the intensity of a workout session. The top weighted vests will challenge you physically, without limiting your bio-mechanics.
Weighted vests are a powerful supplementary tool for athletes and fitness buffs, helping build strength faster and increasing calories burned. True enough, some people choose to simply wear weighted vests while out for a stroll or walking the dog. Some weighted vests are slimmer fitting while others are super bulky with capacities upwards of 100 pounds. We take a look at the most popular vests for every purpose.
15 Best Weighted Vests & Training Clothes of 2018
Here is our weighted vest reviews section. First up, our comparison table gives you an overview of the top options out there right now (Sorted by Price Low to High). For those of you on mobile devices select the green + symbol to view more specifics on each item.
Past the chart, you’ll find our reviews (Sorted by Price Low to High) where we take a closer look at the 15 best weighted vests and clothing. One thing to watch out for is the shipping costs on the weighted vests, especially the heavier ones!
|SPRI Thumblock Wrist Weight Set||1-4 lbs||1 or 2 lbs||Wrist ; Strap|
|CAP Barbell Adjustable Ankle Weights||20 lbs||10 lbs||Ankle ; Buckle|
|Valeo Ankle & Wrist Weights||2.5-20 lbs||2.5, 5, or 10 lbs||Wrist and Ankle ; Strap|
|Tone Fitness Weighted Vest||12 lbs||n/a||Vest ; Buckle|
|Empower Women's Weighted Fitness Vest||8 lbs||n/a||Vest ; Buckles|
|Cross 101 Adjustable Weighted Vest||1-40 lbs||1 or 2 lbs||Vest ; Strap|
|Pure Fitness Weighted Vest||0.88-40 lbs||0.88 lbs||Vest ; Strap|
|Harbringer Adjustable Weight Vest||1-40 lbs||1 lbs||Vest ; Strap|
|RUNMax Adjustable Weighted Vest||12-140 lbs||Varies||Vest ; Strap|
|MiR Adjustable Weighted Vest||3-60 lbs||3 lbs||Vest ; Straps|
|V Force Weight Vest||2.5-30 lbs||2.5 lbs||Short Vest ; Buckle|
|Titin Hyper Gravity Weight Compression Shorts||0.5-4.5 lbs||0.5 lbs||Shorts ; Fitted|
|Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO||0.14-10 lbs (extra weights sold separately)||0.14 lbs||Vest ; Tie|
|CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest||2.5-150 lbs||2.5 lbs||Vest ; Strap|
|Titin Force Weighted Shirt System||0.5-8 lbs||0.5 lbs||Shirt ; Zipper|
The least expensive weighted wearable in our list is the SPRI Thumblocks. The lockable design helps keep the weight rooted in place throughout your workout. These are a great option for someone looking to give their walks, aerobic workouts, and classes like Zumba an intensity boost. Furthermore, wrist and grip strength is extremely important in many sports and comes in handy during weightlifting. The wrist is often overlooked muscle and these weights from SPRI can be a way to hone in on them.
These CAP Ankle weights are perfect for toning your legs or adding some inches to your vertical. Each ankle weight is 2 pounds and has a capacity of 10 pounds (20 total pounds for the set). It is designed with five external pockets, so you can adjust the weight and keep stepping it up over time if you choose. You may be able to get away with wearing them under some baggy pants to tone those legs on the fly.
Our pick for the best ankle weights
Valeo’s Ankle and Wrist Set is very similar to CAP product above. However, this set is also designed to be used on the wrist. So you’re getting a ton more functionality in this 2-in-1 for just a slightly higher price than the SPRI Thumblocks or CAP Ankle Weights. This set is one of the most popular strength training wearables out there. Use them for fitness, rehab, martial arts, improving balance, or your favorite home workout routines. Valeo offers 3 options for interested buyers: a 5 pound, 10 pound, or 20 pound set.
Our pick for the best lightweight vest
This is a well-constructed, lightweight vest (12 pounds) that is ideal for most body types. Tone Fitness calls it a one size fits most vest. This weighted vest features reflective strips for walking and running safely at night. It straps down pretty well too, so you can use it for stuff like kick boxing and P90X workouts for an extra challenge.
Our pick for the best weighted vest for women
Empower makes this vest and it is one of the top rated weighted vests for women. It is a little lighter than the Tone Fitness Vest above coming in at 8 pounds but a very similar ‘X’ design.
Our pick for the best weighted vest for Crossfit
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.
Pure Fitness offers this vest in two versions: a grey/lime color that is 20 pounds and a grey/blue color that is 40 pounds. These vests include sand-filled weights each weighing 0.88 pounds so you can incrementally adjust this vest to your needs.
Harbringer’s adjustable weighted vest can be bought in a 20 pound or 40 pound version. The 40 pound version is only about $20 bucks more, so we highly recommend that route. This vest can easily be adjusted up or down with the 1 pound weights that come with the vest.
- Average Price Range: $80-120
- Type: Vest
- Closure: Velcro Strap
- Weight Options: 20, 40 pounds
- Adjustable? Yes; 1 pound increments
- Machine Washable? Yes
Our pick for the best weighted vest for running
If you really want a vigorous workout, run with the Run Max vest. Better yet run up some hills with the 140 pound version of this vest. Yes, that is one way to achieve boss status. The highlight of this vest is that it is offered in so many weight options and is backed by a one year warranty.
The MiR Weighted Vest is a more expensive option than most, but it is built to last and positively reviewed. Some people prefer this short vest design for better mobility and ventilation. If you’ve got some friends who own a short/full vest you may want to try them out before you pull the trigger on a weighted vest. MiR’s vest is adjustable in 3 pound increments.
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.
- Average Price Range: $150-200
- Type: Vest
- Closure: Buckle
- Weight Options: 30 pounds
- Adjustable? Yes; 2.5 pound increments
- Machine Washable? Yes
Our pick for the best weighted vest for Murph
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 making it one of the best weighted vests for workouts. Men’s Health Magazine voted the Hyper Vest PRO the best weight 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.
Titin’s Force Weighted Shorts System kind of remind us of a football girdle with slots where you slide in the pads. In this case, you can slide in weights for a maximum of 4.5 extra pounds. The extra weight will build your thighs, hamstrings, and glutes aiding with explosiveness and posture. It employs a belt system to stay in place. Most people opt to wear these as compression shorts under their apparel but it can also be worn as outerwear.
Our pick for best heavy weighted vest
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 heavy 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.
Our pick for best innovative weighted apparel
If you’ve got the dough, you may want to give TITIN’s Force Full Weighted Shirt System a try. It comes with a full set of gel weights so you can add up to 8 pounds to it. If you wear a hoodie on over it, most people won’t know you have it on and probably think you’ve been bulking up at the gym!
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 adjustable 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.