Here at TB12, we do everything we can to make sure our workouts are as functional as possible. For this reason, we like using bands because they allow us to incorporate more sport-specific movements into our training. That doesn’t mean that we are against training with weights – in fact, one of our favorite additions to our workout is our weight vest! Here are a few other reasons why we love using weighted vests:
Improve Bone Density: Research suggests that adding a weighted vest to your workouts can both help to prevent and even reverse bone loss, a condition often characterized as osteoporosis and osteopenia – which affects over 50 million people in the US every year. It all starts with Wolff’s law, which states that bones grow in response to stress – in short, we need to apply some sort of external stress to our tissues in order to stimulate bone growth. That's where exercising with the weighted vest comes in: research shows that in post-menopausal women, performing exercises with a weighted vest helped to prevent bone loss in the pelvis. Another study showed significant improvements in the bone density of the femur, as well as improvements in balance and significant weight loss in women who wore a weight vest when walking, stair climbing, and performing balance exercises.
Build Functional Strength: A weighted vest can add weight to normal bodyweight movements – without the need to hold a dumbbell or carry a barbell on the back – allowing us to stay functional while we keep our arms and legs free to do other movements. Even adding a weighted vest to something as simple as your daily afternoon walk can be greatly beneficial over time, as the added weight will give you a better workout and help both strengthen your muscles and improve your bone density. If you're looking to use the vest to make your workouts more challenging, wear it while you do your banded squats, deadlifts, planks, lateral band walks, jumps, and nearly any other functional exercise. These vests are such a unique training tool because they really can be added to almost any exercise, so get creative!
What to Look for in a Weighted Vest: You’ll want to consider a few things while looking into using a weight vest. First and foremost comfortability – you’ll want a tight, secure fit without compromising your ability to breathe. Vests with velcro allow for quick adjustments for the just-right fit. Another consideration is whether or not you’ll want an adjustable weight vest. An adjustable weight vest can be beneficial for those looking for a tangible progression. However, the drawback to this is that most of the added weights are external to the weight vest, and are not necessarily securely fixed into the weight vest, which can result in some bouncing around. In addition, you’ll need to remove weights fairly evenly from the right and left, as well as the front and back of the weight vest to prevent an uneven weight distribution while working out. My preference is a set weight that is securely fixed in the weight vest to limit any bouncing and to limit any uneven weight distribution. Looks matter too! Non-adjustable, velcro-weight vests give for a sleek, low-profile appearance. In fact, for those who aren’t interested in being boisterous about their weight vest use, these can easily be hidden under a t-shirt.
A weighted vest is a very easy and convenient way to apply an external load to your body in a safe manner – and can help you build muscle and get into shape. Not only that, but they are a valuable and extremely versatile part of a functional program and can really enhance your at-home workouts!