Body-weight exercises, such as pushups, pullups, squats and aerobic exercises, are tried and true methods of staying in shape. If you're looking to increase the amount of resistance during your workouts, you might add a weighted vest to your routine. But when adding a weight vest to your workout routine, you need to consider a few things for both optimal performance and safety.
Choose Your Weight
Before working out with a weight vest, decide how much weight you want to add to your routine. Some weight vests cannot be modified, but others can have weight added or removed. If you're unsure of how much weight you want to add to your workouts, start out cautiously and use a vest of 10 to 15 pounds. You can always add more weight or get a heavier vest if you think the lighter weights aren't adding much to your workouts.
Wear it Correctly
Depending on what kind of exercises you're doing, how you wear your weight vest can be crucial. If you're doing static exercises such as pushups, planks and squats, a loose vest isn't going to affect you too much. On the other hand, doing pullups, box jumps and cardio exercises with a loose vest can add unnecessary impact to your joints and can be annoying. Fasten the vest tightly to cut down on excess movement.
Doing pushups, squats and other strength-oriented exercises with the use of a weight vest adds resistance to the exercises and can increase your muscular gains by increasing the effort of the exercises. Weight vests can also be added to simple exercises such as walking and jogging. Increasing the effort of these exercises can boost metabolism and raise endurance levels, according to a 2006 study in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise."
Wearing weighted vests adds resistance to your workouts, and only a small amount of weight can make a big difference. Using weight vests that are too heavy for you or wearing a vest during every workout can have risks, including joint injuries and strained muscles. The American Council on Exercise recommends wearing a weight vest over running with free weights, but cautions that you should only use a vest that weighs 5 to 10 percent of your body weight.
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.