Kick Your Workout into Overdrive with a Weighted Vest

Do you know that the heavier you are, the more calories you burn? The more weight that you carry, the more your body has to work on any activity that you perform.

One of the easiest ways to add resistance to your workouts is to wear a weighted vest. This will immediately make the muscles fight against an added load, activating more muscle fibers and enacting a higher metabolic and hormonal response, which, ultimately, will make you leaner and stronger.

In a study from the University of Iowa, participants who wore a weighted vest 10 to 20 percent his body mass increased their metabolic costs, exercise intensity and load on the skeletal system just during walking.

Take Your Fitness Routine to the Next Level

I first purchased a weighted vest when I hurt my ankle. I wanted to be able add more intensity to my cardio workouts. I really love training at a high intensity.

The vest really helped. The vest added 20 percent of my total weight and I was dying at 20 minutes into an elliptical machine workout, which to me is a much easier workout than running.

The increased caloric expenditure caused by adding a weighted vest will rev up your metabolism and help take your goal to the next level.

What You Need to Look For

1. If you still have over 15 pounds to lose, hold off on adding a weighted vest until you have 10 or less pounds to lose.

2. I don’t advise running with a weighted vest unless you are an expert and have a comprehensive program that involves speed, tempo, long duration and hills workouts. Even then, I’d use it for no longer than 20 minutes.

3. The weighted vest is excellent for plyometrics (dynamic jumping exercises), strength (the whole body: upper and lower body and abs) and for increasing intensity in aerobic activities such as walking, the elliptical and/or StairMaster.

4. Start by adding 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight, depending on your fitness level, and no more than 20.

5. Be prepared to spend a good amount of money on this. There are many cheap options, but you’ll end up wasting money. A good quality vest won’t stain your clothes, develop odors and put additional stress on your back. Fit is the most important factor. The weighted vest should never bounce.

The Strength Weighted Vest Workout

This routine will focus on strength. You’ll perform 4 super-sets (two or three exercise in a row that work opposite muscle groups, performed back to back with no rest), Take a rest just at the end of a complete superset for no longer than 60 seconds.

Beginners: Perform each super set once for 12 reps.

Intermediate/advanced: Perform each super set for 10 reps. If the vest starts to feel too easy, either add more pounds to the vest or add dumbbells to increase the resistance.

The exercises:

Hold squat and lunge: Perform a regular squat and hold the position at the bottom for five to ten counts. That’s one rep. Go directly into a lunge.

Push-up to trunk rotation and incline push ups: Perform a push-up and then turn to the side while you raise your arm and keep the body in a straight line. Keep your hips stable. Don’t sink. Then, do another push-up and turn to the other side. That’s one rep.  Then select a bench or a bar that allows your body to be inclined and perform the next push-up exercise.

Backward lunge to side and single squat: From standing position, move your leg backward to a lunge and then move the same leg to go into a squat. That’s one rep. Do the same with the other leg. Once you have finished this do a single leg squat from a standing position sit and raise your body up with one leg while the other is straight off the floor. Keep your core tight, chest up and the weight on the ball of your foot.  If it’s the first time doing this exercise, hold into something until you progress.

Plank , decline push-ups and Turkish get up: In a plank position, raise one leg off the floor and keep alternating for the numbers of reps set.  Then on a bench or chair place your foot to perform a decline position. Make sure that the chest lowers first before the hips. Keep the hips tight and abdominals in at all time so the body doesn’t sink. For the Turkish get up, use one arm as the leading arm and shoot it straight up towards the sky. Use your lead hand as your guide, continue to reach towards the sky as you rise to a lunge position. Keep rising, as if someone is pulling your lead hand towards the sky, until you are standing up

Some Good Ones to Buy:

Expect to pay more than $100 for a good weighted vest.

The Uni-Vest is adjustable so you can share with someone else. It’s a 10-pound vest that you can take up to 20 pounds in the shorter version of the vest.

The Hyper Vest is the one that I have and used in this workout. It comes in sizes so it fits perfectly. It dries fast and it can be taken to 19 pounds in the smallest size.

Marta Montenegro inspires people to live healthy lives by giving them the tools and strength to find one’s inner athlete through her personal website She created SOBeFiT, a national fitness magazine for men and women, and the Montenegro Method DVD workout series – a program she designed for getting results in just 21 days by exercising 21 minutes a day . Marta is a strength and conditioning coach and serves as an adjunct professor of exercise physiology at Florida International University.

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