All workout exercises, machines, benches, and accessories are designed to do one thing: intensify the effort of your workout to maximize your outcomes. That is the purpose of all working out. And weighted vests are another example – they increase the intensity of your workout to maximize your results.
Working out with a simulated higher body weight increases every function associated with the workout – cardio, breathing, and muscle hypertrophy. This develops your endurance while burning calories at a higher rate.
Zipping into a weighted vest increases the amount of weight you must move around in order to work out. You’re no longer just moving your own body around, but your own body plus 5-10%. That increase makes a big difference to your lungs first, then your heart, and soon every aspect of your physical response to your workout including sweat, endorphins, and your recovery process.
The research set is not yet large, but studies have been done that show that working out with the additional resistance can improve speed, endurance, and VO2 Max, which governs how much oxygen you can absorb which in turn governs how intense all of your workouts can be…. And the benefits are similar to the benefits of a great workout – just catalyzed higher with the addition of a small amount of extra weight. For example …
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1. Weight Loss
Working out burns calories and fat. Working out with 10% extra weight burns more calories and fat – it’s just about that simple. Increasing the intensity of your workout with even a small amount of weight ripples through your workout with escalating results.
2. Core Strength
Because the vet is worn over the shoulders and torso, it automatically targets core muscles, strengthening the muscles that connect all the vertebrae of the spine – the central core of your strength.
3. Vigorous Respiratory Health
When intensity increases, your body needs more oxygen to support all your bodily functions. A weighted vest workout causes your heart to beat faster which immediately signals the brain: “We need more oxygen over here!” And the lungs listen – they begin working harder to process more oxygen to deliver to fatiguing muscles. This lung workout changes your respiratory health, building strength and endurance just like in your muscle tissue.
4. Muscle Hypertrophy (Growth)
The process of muscle hypertrophy is started by triggering an adaptation response in the muscle tissue. Doing strenuous exercise, like weighted vest training, creates microscopic tears on the muscle tissue that – when healed – create new muscle issue. This growth process is accelerated when the workout is more strenuous, so adding another 10% weight to your body during your workout, ripples through every rep of ever exercise to increase muscle growth overall.
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5. Burn More Fat
The presence of the weighted vest for working out creates a bigger oxygen deficiency in your muscle tissue, elevating your heart rate to supply those fatigued muscles with healing blood flow and oxygen. All of this translates into more calories and fat loss during the same workout routine.
6. Bone Mass Benefits
One of the hidden benefits of a weighted vest workout is an increase in bone mass. Like your muscles, your bones will grow stronger the harder you work out. For example, if you go for a run or try out the exercises listed below, your bones will form new bone mass.
How does it do this? When you increase the amount of weight your body has to carry, it improves the function of osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are special cells that help synthesize bone matrices and work to coordinate the mineralization of the skeletal structure. Therefore, weighted vest workouts will help strengthen your bones.
Not only will your bones become bigger and stronger, but they will also become denser. This is important for two reasons. First, as we age, we are at a greater risk of experiencing a fall that may result in breaking a bone. Having strong bones helps prevent this. Second, as we age, we are also at a greater risk of developing degenerative bone diseases like osteoporosis. Having solid bones helps combat this as well.
7. Improved Balance and Posture
Last on our list of benefits of weighted vest workouts is improved balance and posture. Good balance and posture are some of the most important yet most overlooked characteristics of good health.
When you move around with a weighted vest, your body needs to exert more energy to keep your balance. Studies have shown that even a 5-10% increase in body weight via a weighted vest slightly improved agility-related performance.
8. Top Weighted Vest Exercises
Now that we have answered the question of “do weighted vests work,” let’s look at the top-weighted vest exercises beyond simply going for a walk.
The best-weighted vest exercises for the upper body are push-ups and pull-ups. Push-ups will help build your chest muscles, while pull-ups will help build your back muscles. For the lower body, the best-weighted vest exercises are squats and lunges. Both of these will help strengthen your quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Lastly, the best thing you can do for core exercises is planks. Aim for 30-60 seconds as your goal. Beyond a weighted vest, these exercises don’t require any equipment or take up much room to perform. They are a great way to get the most out of weighted vest training.
It’s a lot to think about – we get it. If you have questions about weighted vests, weight loss, muscle growth, working out with weighted vest, or any of the conditions discussed here, connecting with a doctor in a discrete setting has never been easier.
Opt Health is a telehealth platform that reconnects men with wellness, fitness, strength, and sexual vitality through scientific preventive medicine. From your own home, you can schedule with a physician, meet one-on-one via video conference, receive test results, and have medications delivered to your door.
For questions, inquiries, or appointments, don’t hesitate to contact us. Get personalized support and insight from top-tier physicians available 24/7.