September 26, 2020
Using A Weighted Vest for During Training
Fitness enthusiasts who like to burn calories are often involved in different kinds of exercises. These can be walking, running, or hitting the gym. Exercises such as walking or running are high-calorie burning but if you like to go a notch higher by adding a strengthening element to the mix, then, a weighted vest will be of interest to you.
What is a Weighted Vest?
Just like the name suggests, these are exercise jackets that have small removable weights in them. They help increase resistance and so are great for cardio conditioning. They can sit over the shoulder, back, chest and core almost like a life vest used in swimming or as bulletproof. The amount of weight it will carry can vary based on the product that you purchase though most will be able to accommodate extra if you need to add them.
The more the weight is used, the more the resistance you will experience. They are great for plyometrics, weight training and cardiovascular workouts.
These vests are of two types; the full body and the shoulder.
Full body weighted vests typically have openings and capacity to carry more weight. They are also heavier than the shoulder vest and the weights are distributed more evenly around the body. This type is good for building strength, muscle mass and can also be used to build endurance and stamina. They are designed to sit tight and fit the body so that the extra mass will not affect movement but will naturally follow the body’s gravitational pull. The weight range for this type is usually between 10kg to 40kg.
Shoulder weighted vests on the other hand are not as heavy as the full-body variant. They are designed as shoulder straps and are useful for activities like running or walking. Their weight range is between 1kg and 10kg.
Why Use Weighted Vests?
Using a weighted vest comes with several benefits as you will see enumerated in this article. We will however quickly list a few below.
Improves Strength and Endurance
Carrying extra mass when exercising requires strength as well as an increase in oxygen intake. This increased exertion at the same time depletes your store of energy. The logic behind this is that the greater the weight, the harder your muscles will work and this will help in your muscle and stamina development.
By adding more weight, it influences the extent to which the muscles are strained and by doing so, the stressed muscles coupled with the increased intake of oxygen helps your body gain strength as it adjusts accordingly.
A word of caution on this though; you must understand your body and know your limit. Avoid adding so much weight so as to make it difficult for you to move as this will have more of a negative impact that a positive one. Start from a comfortable point and increase gradually.
Better Cardiovascular Performance
Running or jumping while wearing weighted vests will make it more challenging and this causes the cardiovascular system to work harder as it tries to compensate for the extra resistance. This results in increased metabolism and the ability to take in more oxygen which also strengthens the lungs. After wearing them for a while, your body will become conditioned which means that you will run faster than normal when you are not wearing them.
Increased Bone Mass
Aside making your muscles stronger, using a weighted vest will transmit load through your bones as you work out. This extra load will bring about an increase in bone mass because it will stimulate osteoblast cells, which help in developing bone material, as a response to the demand by the weight it is carrying. This will make the bones denser, stronger and able to support more weight.
In addition to all the above benefits, they also help add variety to your workouts. You can mix, remove, or add to the demand made on the muscles as needed or depending on the kind of workout you are doing per time.
What to Consider Before Using A Weighted Vest
Before using one, you may need to consult your physician to be sure your health is good enough and that you can carry out such workouts. Another thing to be mindful of is your fitness level. You may need to get up to speed with that before trying to use the vest. You can do this by gradually easing into an exercise routine until you reach levels where your body is now accustomed to performing the exercises.
Also, consider the kind of training that you are involved in. They may not be of much help if what you are doing are bicep curls or upper body isolation exercises.
When buying, you will find that some brands offer unisex and one-size-fits-all products while others have products that are available in different sizes and fits with adjustable straps for a snugger feel. Most will allow you to remove or insert the weights as you find suitable. The type of weighted vest you should use will depend on the activities you are involved in, what you are trying to achieve, and also how often you will be using it.
Weighted vests are supposed to act as an enhancement to your exercise and training routine and not as a hindrance. This means that the addition of weights should be done in a way that provides enough resistance to help you achieve your training goals rather than limiting or hindering you. Remember to speak to your doctor before you make the plunge and also be sure to purchase a product that is suitable for your routines.