What You Should Know Before Working Out With A Weighted Vest

Going to the gym can be a great way to challenge ourselves with strength and conditioning exercises. But what if you want to exercise outdoors and still get the same benefits? Then a weighted vest might be just the thing for you. Wearing a weighted vest during outdoor activities can increase calorie burn and help with strength training (via Shape). So, how do they work? "Most vests sit over the shoulders, chest, back, and core, like a vest you would wear under a suit or a life vest for swimming," Astrid Swan, a celebrity trainer, explained to Shape. The extra weight makes activities much harder to perform, requiring additional energy exertion and thus improving endurance and strength. 

While it seems like a simple addition to your workout routine, there are a few best practices when it comes to choosing the right fit. Although you may want to jump right into a weighted vest workout, it's essential to understand the associated risks beforehand.

Choosing a weighted vest

When determining which type of weighted vest to purchase, Healthline recommends considering comfort and breathability. Things like built-in shoulder pads tend to mitigate friction, and cloth that wicks sweat tends to keep you dry and cool. Additionally, some vests are designed to fit the female body by accounting for differences in body shape and added comfort around sensitive areas like the breasts.

Another important consideration is an increased risk of injury, particularly if you have poor posture or are adding too much weight too soon. "I've seen a lot of lower-back injuries from people throwing weight on their backs when they don't have basic pushups down yet," Darin Hulslander, certified strength and conditioning specialist, tells Men's Journal. Hulslander also suggests that those who have neck or back issues should avoid a weighted vest until they've built up strength in those areas. However, weighted vests can be a great way to add versatility to your workout routine and challenge your body in new ways once you've mastered the basics.