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People who are considering training with a weighted vest for the first time often want to know what is a good weight for a weighted vest.
It is not an easy question to answer because many factors need to be taken into consideration.
Table of Contents
- Things to Think About Before Buying a Weighted Vest
- How to Choose a Weighted Vest
- The Different Types of Weighted Vests
- Choose the Right Material of Weighted Vest
- How Should a Weighted Vest Fit?
- What’s the Heaviest Weighted Vest You Can Buy?
- Why I Use a 40lb Weighted Vest for Cardio?
Things to Think About Before Buying a Weighted Vest
First of all, the weight of the vest is only part of the equation. You also need to take into account your training experience and your physical condition.
If you are a beginner, then you should start with a very light vest and then build up your strength progressively as you go along. If you are already in good physical condition and have been lifting weights for at least a few months, then it is perfectly fine to start with a heavy vest.
The age of the person also plays an important role. As we get older, our bones and joints begin to weaken and so it becomes harder for us to carry a heavy load. So if you are older, then you should start with a very light weight until your body has built up enough strength to handle a heavier vest.
There is no specific formula for determining how much weight you should be carrying in your weighted vest. You will need to experiment with different weights until you find one that allows you to do your workouts comfortably and effectively.
How to Choose a Weighted Vest
The best solution in my opinion is to try a vest that allows you to adjust the weight it can carry. Try to avoid weighted vests that do not allow the weights to be taken on and off. This is because you’re not going to be training at the same intensity forever, it’s better to give yourself the option to add or remove weight in the future.
If a vest does not allow you to change the weights then it’s not worth buying in my opinion. having the option to increase the weight as you become stronger is key.
The vest should also be comfortable to wear, which may sound odd But if the vest for example is designed badly and it digs into your shoulders, or clatters around and keeps slamming your chest or back whenever you walk, you won’t get the maximum benefit or feel like using it long term.
Getting a good fit will also allow you to carry the weight more comfortably and maintain a good posture throughout your workout. Carrying weights with bad posture is a very bad idea.
The Different Types of Weighted Vests
To make your workout more comfortable and effective, it is important to choose the right type of weighted vest, and there are a few things you need to consider when making this decision.
The type of vest you will need will depend on the kind of workouts you want to do. For example, if you are looking for a vest to use while doing cardio workouts then there are specific vests that will be better suited for this purpose than others.
Plate loaded vests are a good option as you can add and remove the small metal plates yourself.
Another good option are full size plate loaded weighted vests. These vests are more of a speciality and you won’t see many around, but they enable you to load full size gym plates on them and have a larger maximum weight. The largest EZ vest allows up to 300 lb of weight, which is twice as much as conventional vests.
Choose the Right Material of Weighted Vest
When choosing a weighted vest it is also important that the material used is of good quality and durable. This will make the vest last longer and also be more comfortable to wear.
Leather vests are a good option as leather is a long lasting and strong material, but they can be a lot more bulky and more rigid.
I’d say don’t be discouraged to consider a non-leather vest. Some of the materials used in the higher quality vests are very strong yet lightweight (when not loaded with weights).
A vest being lightweight just makes it easier to transport and store when it isn’t being worn.
Be sure to choose the right size weighted vest for your size, as this will determine how comfortable it will be to wear, and how well it fits on your body.
How Should a Weighted Vest Fit?
Whatever weighted vest you choose to buy should fit you close, but not so close that it doesn’t enable you to do your exercises properly.
You need to be able to move around and perform full range of motion without restriction.
You also need to ensure that it isn’t so tight and restricting that it effects your ability to breath!
Some weighted vests are more contoured for the female body than the male body, so look out for those types of specifications in the descriptions also.
Top tip –Try to examine how the weighted vest is secured and what ability the vest has to adjust the fitting. Look out for things like whether the straps are made of velcro or if it’s a belt clip fastening system, is it plastic or metal, will the fit change drastically depending on how much weight I have attached.
These are the sorts of things you have to try your best to investigate before you buy.
What’s the Heaviest Weighted Vest You Can Buy?
The heaviest weighted vest that I have seen holds a weight of 300lb. This vest allows you to carry the same weight plates you use on a barbell which is very handy.
I think this is the best option if you don’t want to have to buy more plates later when you want more resistance.
Training with the max of 300lb attached to you would of course not be recommended for beginners, but you don’t have to train with the maximum amount loaded, you have the option of starting with whatever weight you want. It’s just good to know that you can max out at 300lb and you’re not limited.
Vests of this type are mainly used by experienced athletes who require a lot of resistance training for their workout routine so you would find that the strapping materials and overall functionality of the vest is made with an athlete’s ease of use in mind.
The weight capacity of this vest in particular is the real selling point here, but buyers shouldn’t neglect to look at the design of the vest to find out if the vest is practical for the user. For example, does it have pieces of velcro that annoyingly scratch against your skin as you wear them? A problem I had with the first weighted vest I used and ended up having to send back for a refund.
Why I Use a 40lb Weighted Vest for Cardio?
With all things considered, I currently train cardio with 40lb on my vest. Why? Because it’s the perfect weight for me right now when doing cardio.
It’s important not to have too much weight on your vest when doing high intensity cardio, the reason for this is that the added weight can do damage to your joints.
I only use this weight for cardio, my chosen method is to walk on a steep incline while monitoring my heart rate.
It doesn’t cause any discomfort during exercise, and the vest I use enables the weight to be evenly distributed across my upper body.
If you’re looking for something lightweight with low resistance levels for weight training, then training with a weight under 20 lb would be just fine for you. If you’re looking for something heavier with high resistance levels then up to 300 lb maximum vest would work fine.
If you’re doing cardio, be aware of not adding too much weight and giving yourself joints pain.
But you really have to pay attention to what kind of workouts you intend to do and what resistance level works best.