How To Run With A Weight Vest – 3 Awesome Steps

If you want to up your running game, one of the common strategies is to use a weight vest. A weight vest is basically a vest that is made from the heavy material or has pockets that you can fill up with sand bags and other weighted objects.

The reason why athletes wear weight vest is to add to their body weight in order to get a more intense workout. With a weight vest on, exercises such as walking and running become more challenging.

The reason for the effectiveness of the weight vest lies in its adding to your weight and forcing your body to work harder during the workout. Benefits of using the vest include better strength, endurance, agility and speed.

How can running with a weight vest help you? How can you get used to using a weight vest? Read on to learn the answer to these questions.


Step 1: Select The Best Weight Vest


1. The Weight Of The Vest

With the wide range of weight vests available, it is essential that you select a vest that will fit your personal needs and fitness level. There are four main factors to consider: (1)

Weight vests are commonly designed to have weights ranging from 20, 40, 60 and even up to 100 pounds. Generally speaking, heavy weighted vests are designed for those who are advanced in their training and the lighter vests are for females and beginners. Before you decide to use a weight vest, you need to make sure that you already have above average fitness in order to avoid injuries.

2. The Type Of Vest

If you want to be able to control the weight in your vest, an adjustable weight vest is the best option. These vests have removable weights and allow the user to help you slowly gain control of your workout. When selecting a weight vest for running, it is recommended that you choose something not too heavy since too much weight may move about while you run.

3. The Design Of Vest

Depending on which area of your upper body you want to focus on, some vests focus on the upper chest while others focus on the torso. The weight vests come in different shapes that target different parts of your body.

For example, if the vest is worn on the upper chest, the focus is on the back. Take time to select the best vest and make sure the weight is evenly distributed in order to avoid injuries.

Step 2: Focus On The Benefits

The second step if you want to start running with a weight vest is to focus on all the benefits you will gain by using a weight vest. As we mentioned earlier, weight vests work by intensifying your workout by adding resistance which promotes muscle growth and strength.

​They are great ideas when you find that your regular exercise routine is too easy and not challenging any longer. The following benefits can be gained by using a weight vest:

1. Increased Agility

According to one study published in 2012 (2) wearing a weight vest during daily activities improved agility slightly. The vest, however, did not help increase speed. It was concluded that using the vest during regular training half of the time for up to four weeks could gain an increase in agility. In addition, if you run four times a week, wearing a vest that is 5-10% of your body weight is said to improve your agility during sports such as basketball.

2. Increased Aerobic Performance

The performance effects of wearing a weight vest during walks were discovered in one study involving college and military students. Aside from increased performance, it was also found that there was also an improvement in aerobic performance. Using a weighted vest increased the demand of the exercises but also reduced the time it took to reach exhaustion. (3)

3. Increased Strength

Another benefit that comes with using weight vests is a boost in body strength. One study cited in the Journal of Applied Physiology examined how weight vests affected the strength of those athletes who already had high levels of performance.

After strength training of three days a week for ten weeks, the leg strength had an increase of 30%. In addition, endurance during running and cycling increased by about 13%. (4) Having increased strength as a runner means you will be able to run for longer.

4. Increased Calorie Burn

Since weight vests can help you gain muscle, improve your strength and agility and overall performance, they can also greatly affect your weight loss. Being able to do more than you used to also means being able to burn more calories than you normally do.

Step 3: Know The Do’s And Don’ts

Although weight vests have all the aforementioned benefits, the fact is that they are mostly considered a good idea for those who are advanced in their training. Basically, if you are new to running, it would not be recommended that you use a weight vest yet. Here are some of the dos and don’ts when using a weight vest: (5,6)

Do & Don't With Weight Vest

What You Should DO:

  • Stick to the 10% rule in which you do not exceed 10% of your normal body weight
  • Know your fitness level before deciding to wear any weights
  • Be extra careful when running with vests since they can throw you off balance and cause injury if not used properly
  • Do strength workouts with weight vests before deciding to run with them

What You Should NOT DO:

  • Jumps with the weight vest since this adds too much pressure on your joints
  • Wear a vest that doesn’t feel comfortable
  • Do any lower the number of reps you do with a weight vest to ensure you keep proper form
  • Underestimate the power of a weight vest. They may look like simple outer garments but come with much power.

Final Thoughts About Weight Vests

Using weight vests is like using any other fitness tool. You need to understand what you are using and train yourself properly. Since they are easy to wear, many underestimate them and this results in injuries so don’t’ make the same mistake.

If you are planning to use the vest in your running, remember to select the best vest, learn the benefits and take precautions.

For beginners, always remember that weight vests are not just there to try and make your workout harder but require a level of mastery to be effective. Only with a well-organized program will you benefit from running with a weight vest.

The fact is weight vests can be amazing tools if you add the right load and place them in the right areas.

​Did you enjoy this article? Have you tried running with weight vests? How was your experience? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Also, feel free to share this article with any friends who are thinking of using a weight vest for running.