Choosing between all the different fitness equipment options can be challenging. Find out what benefits weighted vests offer to see if they are for you.
These range from more specific aspects of weighted vests like the no-handed resistance to more general benefits that you want to take into account too.
1. Weighted vests can help you build more muscle
From a high-level view, growing and strengthening muscles requires you to work them with enough pressure and repetitions (and give them enough rest and nutrients).
What counts as enough pressure for you depends on your current strength level and the muscles you are trying to grow.
For example, resistance training beginners can likely even grow strong leg muscles with bodyweight exercises. Even advanced lifters can likely grow weaker muscles like their triceps with just their body weight too.
That being said, for some muscles, you will need some extra external pressure. Even if it is just to make your workouts more convenient and effective.
In a situation like that, weighted vests can help you build more muscle than doing the same exercises with just your body weight.
This extra muscle growth and strengthening potential of weighted vests offers a variety of secondary health and visual benefits.
Something to note is that if building muscle is your goal, it tends to be smart to choose an adjustable weighted vest.
This allows you to change the resistance for different exercises and makes it easier to progress optimally as you get stronger.
2. Weighted vests are extremely versatile
Some pieces of fitness equipment like for example certain specialty barbells have very specific uses.
These can still be worth it for certain people and situations but it is also fair to say you have to invest a decent amount to improve only a specific area of your workouts.
On the other hand, you have weighted vests which are basically as versatile as bodyweight exercises. You can just strap them on and do these types of movements as usual.
You can even include cardiovascular workouts like running and walking in the list of weighted vest exercises (if you don’t use too much weight).
This versatility can be a great benefit of weighted vests for people who want to make one investment to make many of their workouts and exercises more effective.
3. Weighted vests can improve cardiovascular health
Your cardiovascular system includes your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
These body parts are responsible for extracting oxygen from the air and moving this oxygen, nutrients, and waste products to the right places inside of your body.
The more intense you move, the more your body parts need these substances to function and the more waste products they create.
In simpler words, by making your workouts harder with a weighted vest, your workouts will become more challenging for your cardiovascular system.
This can be a benefit since it can also lead to more strengthening (if you don’t overdo it).
If you are interested in this it can be worth considering cardiovascular workouts like running or walking with a weighted vest.
4. Weighted vests can help you lose more weight
Losing weight requires you to make it so your body needs more energy than is coming in from the things you eat.
While there are more effective ways to approach this too, you can still say that weighted vests can help in this process.
The first reason for this is that exercises with more resistance tend to require more energy from your body.
In simpler words, running with a weighted vest for 10 minutes will burn more calories (energy) than the same duration and speed with just your body weight.
Secondly, weighted vests make it so your resistance training workouts can build more muscle mass.
In turn, this extra muscle mass will make it so you burn more calories in your other workouts and the rest of your day.
You do want to keep in mind that as weighted vests help you lose weight, the same workouts will start to have fewer effects.
To keep seeing the same results you will have to make more positive changes.
5. Weighted vests can improve bone density
Similar to body parts like your muscles, your bones can adapt to the type of pressure you put them under.
More specifically, exercises with the extra weight from weighted vests can improve your bone density more than the bodyweight versions (4).
Having denser bones reduces your risk of breaking them.
Since it becomes harder to improve bone density at older ages, it can even be worth focusing on this for younger individuals.
As long as you can do these safely, workouts with heavier weighted vests tend to improve density more.
Additionally, the exercises you do will influence what bones you strengthen.
6. Weighted vests make your workouts more time-efficient
One reason people don’t implement more exercise into their lives is that they find it challenging to find the time to do these.
To make this somewhat easier you can use workout tools like weighted vests that can increase the benefits you get per minute of exercising.
For example, even though you could potentially build muscle with sets of 40 bodyweight pushups, doing a set with 12 weighted ones can likely offer similar results in a shorter amount of time.
Similarly, your daily 20-minute walk will work your cardiovascular system harder if you add a weighted vest (and move at the same speed).
7. Weighted vests add resistance without holding anything
One of the more unique benefits of weighted vests is that you don’t need to hold anything to add resistance to your workouts.
First of all, this can be helpful in exercises like pull-ups, dips, and pushups if you don’t like the weighted vest alternatives like clamping a dumbbell between your legs in a pull-up.
Secondly, in some workouts like running and walking, having to hold a weight in your hands can feel awkward and mess with your balance and coordination.
Thirdly, in certain exercises like step-ups, lunges, and Bulgarian split squats it can be helpful to have your arms free to balance yourself if needed.
This no-handed resistance is not relevant for all workouts but because there are not many equipment options that offer this too, this benefit of weighted vests can be valuable in the right situations.