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How Heavy Should a Weighted Vest be?

how heavy is a weighted vest

Adding a weighted vest to your fitness routine is a great idea. A weighted vest can enhance many activities by adding a distributed weight load to an activity, but how heavy should a weighted vest be?

A weighted vest works on the principle of making the body work harder during various physical fitness activities by adding distributed weight. It also helps each individual become fitter, build muscle, and burn more fat.

Various sizes and weight capacities are available for weighted vests, giving you plenty of choices. As a result, choosing a weighted vest can be challenging. Often, people are not sure what weight is right for them. The purpose of this article is to explain how heavy your weighted vest should be. The following information will help you decide what size and type of weighted vest to buy.

How Heavy Should a Weighted Vest be?

How Heavy Should a Weighted Vest be?

BOX Weighted Vest for running

The vest’s weight will depend on your current fitness level and the type of exercise you’re doing. Despite the absence of research on exactly how much weight a vest should contain, published studies have used five to fifteen percent of a person’s body weight in weighted vests. The recommendation is based on therapists’ experience with the maximum weight allowance for backpacks. Putting too much weight on a vest can lead to overstimulation and/or back injuries.

The ideal percentage of your bodyweight the weighted vest should be for burning more calories and gaining is 10% of your total body weight. Although you’ll have great weight distribution, you’ll still need to support your back and shoulders as you load the weighted vest. I have included some recommended weights for a variety of exercises below.

  • Any resistance between 2.5 and 5kg will be enough for running and other cardio activities.
  • A 10-15kg weight is ideal for building strength and muscle.
  • As long as you have developed experience working with weights and are physically fit, you can use 20kg.

However, remember always to choose a weight that feels comfortable to you. Fitness-wise, it’s better to do less than to get injured; you won’t be able to achieve your goals. 

How Heavy should be a Weighted Vest for Beginner?

The 5-kilogram mark is an excellent starting point for beginners. Do not confuse holding a weight in your hands with carrying it on your torso. As a result, you can move more efficiently and keep your arms free to perform other activities.

Don’t do any exercises you aren’t comfortable doing after putting the vest on. Performing them in poor form can result in injury or disproportionately working your muscles. The weight should also be distributed evenly, and the vest should not be too heavy on either side. 

Wear the vest tighter than you would a corset but looser than you would a shirt. Ideally, it should move along rather than follow you as you turn and shift. The maximum weight you should wear should be around 12% of your total body weight. Putting on too much weight at once can make you sluggish and slow.

Things to consider before purchasing a Weighted Vest

Body Compatibility

Are your shoulders broad, or do you have a petite figure? Do you have a flat body, or does it have visible curves? Before you buy a weighted vest, you should consider your body type. To ensure your investment doesn’t go to waste, you need to take note of this factor. Before purchasing a weighted vest, read the specifications carefully. Additionally, some products are designed specifically for women, so keep that in mind. 

Vest's Material

Weighted vests should have breathable materials if you intend to wear them for an extended period. Your body shouldn’t be confined to fabric with no insulation. Furthermore, no one enjoys smelling bad during and after training. Vests made from sweat-proof material are typically made from neoprene, which is dense and durable. In addition, neoprene does not react to your body and is soft. 

Design of the Vest

Which vest would you choose if you had a choice? Would you choose one that covered your entire upper body or one that only covered your chest? Although everyone’s answer will differ, choosing a compact and well-stitched vest will suit most people. Despite their sleek designs, adjustable vests tend to be long and heavy compared to fixed-weighted vests. Therefore, before choosing a vest, ensure that you search appropriately. 

Cost of Your Vest

If you want to invest in something long-lasting:

  1. Don’t choose cheap or poor-quality weighted vests.
  2. Don’t add this fitness accessory to your arsenal unless you have saved enough money.
  3. Don’t sacrifice quality just because you cannot afford it.
  4. Consider both cost and value when deciding on pricing.

Weighted Vests: Frequently Asked Questions

How heavy should a weighted vest be for a child?

The vest should weigh anywhere from five to ten percent of your body weight. Children weighing more than 50 pounds should wear vests weighing no more than 5 pounds. Since no studies have been done to determine a standard bodyweight limit, the weight allowance is based on backpacks.

How often should a weighted vest be worn?

Your fitness history will determine how frequently you use a weighted vest. Initially, you should use a weighted vest 1–2 times per week until you become accustomed to the weight change. However, if you’ve been exercising regularly, a weighted vest could benefit you once or twice weekly.

Why are weighted vests good?

The weighted vest is an excellent way to burn fat or build muscle. They provide serious results in a very minimalistic way. Among military, police, and firefighters, weighted vests provide the strength they need. Training with a weighted vest can increase endurance, speed, and power, which is why they’re popular among athletes and runners.

Are weighted vests effective at speeding you up?

You will become faster and more explosive when you wear a weighted vest regularly and do plyometrics or explosive exercises. Using weighted vests for speed and power is common among pro athletes.

How Heavy Should a Weighted Vest Be? – Conclusion

So how heavy should a weighted vest be? Training with a weighted vest on shouldn’t be too difficult to incorporate into your workout regime. To find out what weight is right for you, you might need to use your weighted vest a few times when you first begin. Make sure you take things slowly. Begin with a relatively light weight and gradually increase it as you become more comfortable.

Weighted vests can challenge some people, such as the elderly or those with limited cardio capabilities. Consult your doctor about using a weighted vest if you want to lose weight or get in shape.

Mike Horton (head of Weighted Living)

by Mike Horton

Mike is one of the lead editors at Weighted Living and the author of this article. He's become fascinated with weighted products (a bit too much we think) and loves to see all the different ways they can improve our loves. He's written quite a few weighted product guides as well.

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