Pushups With A Weighted Vest: Is It Worth It?

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Find out whether pushups with a weighted vest are a good idea, how to do them, how much weight to use, and more.

Weighted vests tend to be a great equipment option for weighted pushups since they can’t fall off or move around too much (at least they should do these things).

If you get to the point where you can do more than about 18 pushups per set, a weighted vest can really make your workouts more time-efficient and/or effective.

At this point, you would add a vest and add weight over time to stay within the amount above or fewer pushup repetitions.

Similarly, from a certain point on, more resistance will be necessary to do pushups in a way that benefits muscle strength.

You simply also get the other typical benefits of pushups to a slightly larger extent.

How to do pushups with a weighted vest

Take the following steps to do pushups with a weighted vest:

  1. Strap on a good weighted vest.
  2. Sit on your hands and knees with your shoulders more or less above your hands.
  3. Step back with your feet until you are in about a straight line from your heels to the top of your head. Again, keep your shoulders above your hands.
  4. Slowly lower your chest as far as possible by folding your arms. Keep your upper arms at about 45 degrees or less to your sides. Keep the rest of your body in a straight line.
  5. Push your body back up in a controlled motion so you are back in the position of step 3.

One of the benefits of weighted vests is that you can add resistance to a variety of exercises without too much extra effort.

In turn, weighted vest pushups are about as hard in terms of technique (but not strength) as the regular version.

How heavy should a weighted vest be for pushups?

How heavy a weighted vest should be for pushups depends on your training goals and strength level.

For example, to grow your chest, tricep, and front deltoid muscles, your weighted vest should be so heavy that you can only do about 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 18 reps.

How many pounds or kgs this will be depends on the individual.

One person could not do these ranges with bodyweight pushups.

Another person could need a weighted vest of 120 pounds (55 kg) to stay within the ranges above.

On top of that, how many pushups you should do for other training goals varies too.

Benefits of weighted vest pushups

While the technique of weighted vest pushups may not be that different, they do offer extra benefits. Some of these are:

  1. More muscle growth potential: To grow your chest, tricep, and front deltoid muscles you have to pressure them enough. Weighted vests make more pressure possible.
  2. Quicker workouts: By being able to add pressure with a vest, your workouts require less time to achieve the same results as bodyweight pushups.
  3. Weight is relatively easy to increase: A big part of weight training is gradually increasing the resistance. Many weighted vests are adjustable which makes them great for this purpose and in turn, pushups.
  4. Improves bone density more: Similar to your muscles, your bones can get stronger by safely pressuring them. Weighted vest pushups are more effective at this than the regular version.
  5. The weight can’t fall off: Weighted vest pushups are great compared to other weighted variations because the weight can’t fall off. This is more convenient and safer.
  6. Can improve muscle strength: To improve muscle strength, you need enough resistance to make pushups so hard you can only do a few reps. Stronger people may need a weighted vest for this.
  7. Can help you lose slightly more weight: The combination of more muscle mass growth and moving a heavier weight makes it so weighted vest pushups are slightly better for weight loss.

A weighted vest is not the only type of weighted pushup that offers these benefits but it is one of the top choices.

Best pushups with a weighted vest

When it comes to pushup variations you can do with a weighted vest, there are not necessarily “optimal” options.

There are mostly variations that potentially become less optimal.

For example, decline pushups are already harder than regular pushups.

By adding a weighted vest to the exercise, it may become too hard to do in rep and set ranges that are optimal for your training goals.

Additionally, in something like plyometric pushups, the vest may increase the pressure on body parts like your wrists too much.

So overall, regular pushups, or if you are strong enough the tricep-focused version, tend to be safe/good options for a weighted vest.

Are weighted vests good for pushups?

If you are strong enough and/or want to train muscle strength, weighted vests will generally be good for your pushups.

In these cases, the extra pressure from the vest will enlarge the existing benefits of pushups.

By pressuring your body more, exercises tend to offer more results.

At least if you don’t overdo it.

Keep in mind that adding a weighted vest to pushups also increases your injury risk slightly.

Make sure your regular pushup technique is good enough and your body is strong enough before adding extra pressure.

Additionally, people who are not a fan of this equipment option can also consider weighted vest alternatives to add resistance to pushups.


Can you do pushups with a weighted vest?

Yes, you can do pushups with a weighted vest if your body is strong enough and your technique is good enough.

What results can you expect from weighted vest pushups?

The results of weighted vest pushups are generally similar to the bodyweight version but to a larger extent.

For example, weighted vest pushups typically offer more muscle growth potential than the regular version.

Do keep in mind that weighted pushups are not for everyone.

Your technique needs to be good enough and your body needs to be strong enough.

Can weighted pushups build muscle?

Yes, weighted pushups can build muscle at home or in the gym if you do them the right way, use a good workout routine, and consume enough nutrients.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.