Weight Vests

I know some of you might be thinking, “weight vests?!  I don’t think I’m trying to lose weight not gain it!”  And I totally understand this post won’t be for everyone.  If you’re just getting started or have your main focus as weight loss, using a weight vest probably isn’t for you.  But some others might be looking for a way to take things up a notch.  So this is a little write up on how I use my weight vest.

Who Would Want to Use a Weight Vest?

So as I mentioned already, if you’re just starting out, this is probably not something you should worry about quite yet.  A weight vest is more useful for people who have been doing their workouts for a while and need some extra intensity.  If you feel like you want to push yourself harder, it could be a good option.  I have used mine in two main situations.

1. Push ups and Pull ups.
weight vestsIf you’ve done P90X, you know there are a ton of push ups and pull ups in the routine.  Chest & Back, Back & Bi’s, Legs & Back, etc. all have you doing a lot of body weight exercises.  So you might get to a point where you want to make push ups harder.  You can always do more reps, because as you get stronger you will be able to.  But maybe you don’t want to be doing 40-50 push ups in a set.  Or maybe you can do 15-20 unassisted pull ups.  To make push ups or pull ups harder, a weight vest is a great option.  It adds to your body weight, so you bring your reps back down and can really work on increasing your strength even more.  I’ve noticed that after using my weight vest for a month, when I do pull ups without it on they feel super easy and I can knock out more reps.  Same goes for push ups.  It’s an awesome way to increase the intensity of body weight moves and increase your strength, especially if you’ve hit a plateau with how many reps you can do.

2. Cardio Days.
Plyo X, the Insanity workouts all can be intensified with a weight vest.  Even if you add just 10 lbs, you’ll notice it big time during these workouts.  I’ve used my weight vest numerous times on cardio days and it really elevates my heart  rate and gets me sweating more than normal.  It doesn’t take a lot of weight to really make a difference and increase the intensity.

One note I would make here is that during cardio days, if you use a weight vest it’s even more important to focus on your form.  That goes for push ups too.  If you try using too much weight and your form goes south, that can lead to injuries.  That is the last thing you want.  So if you give this a try, make sure to focus on your form.  If you start to feel your form slipping, take off the weight vest and continue on with the workout.  There’s no harm in that, it’s the smart thing to do.  Also, for push ups, if you feel your lower back start to dip, that means it’s time to lighten the vest or take it off and get proper form back.

How Much Weight Do I Need?

A good thing to consider is how much weight are you really going to need if you give this a try.  There are weight vests out there that literally go over 100+ lbs.  I definitely wouldn’t recommend that for most people.  I personally have a weight vest that can go up to 30 lbs and I think that is plenty.  I’ve only used the full 30 lbs a few times.  I knew I wanted one that could hold more than 20 lbs, so I’m glad I went with this route.

When you’re getting started out, you want to start light anyways.  Since you’re not used to it yet, you don’t want to load yourself down too much right away because it will be hard to maintain good form.  The first time you use it, I would start out with 10 lbs max in it.  Again, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but you’ll feel it big time.  Especially on those cardio days.  And as you get stronger and progress, you can slowly add weight every week or so.  That’s how I have used it.  Mine has 12 2.5 lb weights, so I just add one or two a week, depending on how I felt the previous week went.  So start light, and work your way up.

Who Makes the Best Weight Vests?

There are quite a few options out there to choose from for weight vests.  You can go to a local sporting goods store and they typically have a few options.  A search on Amazon brings up quite a few options as well.  But out of all of the weight vests on the market, there is one company that really stands out in my opinion.  I would highly recommend checking out www.weightvest.com

Why I say that is that they make the best quality vests out there.  They use metal bricks for weights, not bags filled with pellets that could break.  The pockets the weights go in are super sturdy and won’t rip or tear like I’ve seen on other vests.  They also fit extremely well and don’t slide around during your workouts.  I had a different vest initially, but it moved around a lot when I worked out, which actually put more pressure on my lower back.  So I took advantage of their trade in program and got a 30 lb Box vest.  It fits really snug and never moves during a workout.  It has also held up extremely well and I’m sure it will be with me for a very long time.

So if you’re considering adding a weight vest to your arsenal, my recommendation is to go with www.weightvest.com.  They are a little more expensive than other options, but it’s worth it in my opinion for the fit and the superior quality.  If you’re looking for a way to make P90X even more extreme than it already is, then adding a weight vest is the way to go!

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