If you like being versatile in your workouts but want to invest in one product, then weighted vests could be just what you’re looking for.
However, with so many different features, such as removable weights, weight type and style, how do you know what is right for you?
We’ve narrowed down a list of the five best weighted vests on the market to help you in that all-important decision.
Before you jump into our curated list, we’ve answered a few questions your might have before buying a weighted vest.
What Does Weighted Vest Training Do?
It might seem like an obvious answer, but weighted vests can add so many benefits to your workout.
On the face of it, weighted vests are there to add extra weight and resistance to your workout to help you increase your gains.
Using a weighted vest is more efficient than just wearing a simple backpack filled with weights. It distributes resistance evenly around your body, ensuring you’re working out correctly.
By increasing the difficulty level for each exercise during your workout, your body will need to work harder. This mean and each move will require greater energy.
A 2021 Study showed adding 10% of your bodyweight via a vest can burn significantly more calories than carrying 5% of your body weight or using no weights at all.
The best weighted vests will offer you options to increase or decrease the vest’s weight with either plates or sandbags.
What Exercises Can You Do In Your Weighted Vest?
The best weighted vests can be used for a multitude of training, from aerobic exercises such as running or hiking to strength training such as weights or CrossFit.
Most commonly, they are used for:
- Weight loss during walking exercise
- Endurance building while running or doing drills
- Building muscle via a bodyweight session doing pull-ups, push-ups and squats
How Heavy Should A Weighted Vest Be?
The weight will differ depending on your current fitness level and the type of exercise you’re using your vest for.
Despite having great weight distribution, the heavier your go will still mean your back and shoulders will need to support it.
As per the study earlier referenced, 10% of your total body weight is ideal for burning more calories and making gains.
Here are some suggested weights for different exercises:
- Running and cardio, 2.5-5kg is suggested to aid resistance
- 10-15kg is suggested for strength and muscle building
- 20kg can be used if you have already built-up experience working with weight and have the correct level of fitness
However, always be sure to opt for a weight that feels most comfortable to you. Less is always more, and you cannot reach your fitness goals if injured.
For running and other cardio activities, anywhere between 2.5 and 5kg will add enough resistance to feel a difference.
10 – 15kg will do the job for strength training and muscle building.
Go for the 20kg+ options only if you’re already experienced working with weight and have a base level of fitness and muscle.
Some extra things to consider when trying to select your weighted vest include:
- Type of weight—weights are often made from either metal or sand and can come in bars, pouches or plates
- Can the weight be removed to help build-up to the total mass during your workouts?
- Weight mass—your need for a heavy or lighter vest will be dependent on the variety of exercises you are using it for
- Style, comfort and durability—how do you want to look in your vest, how breathable is it, is the fabric comfortable to be worn with little coverage underneath?
Table of contents:
- Domyos Strength And Cross Training Weighted Vest
- Bulldog Gear Weight Vest
- XN8 Sports Adjustable Weighted Vest
- Bodyrip Weight Comfort Padded Vest
- Empower Women’s Weighted Vest
Weight: 10 KG
Type of weight: Flat metal plates
Best for: Value
The Domyos vest is Decathlon’s own brand meaning it’s great value for money.
It offers a lot of versatility, weighing 6kg on its own. You can use it for a variety of exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups and running.
As seen in the Instagram image, this vest can be combined with other equipment to intensify your workout. See What Is The Best Home Exercise Equipment? to help you build your workouts.
There are separate four 1kg chopping board plates included.
The weights can be inserted at the front and back to bring the total weight to 10kg. This is ideal for building up your workouts in both strength and cross-training—without going too heavy, to begin with.
When the vest is at full capacity of 10kg, it can become stiffer. This means it may not be as great for exercises such as running or cardio.
Once the weight plates are added, it can look quite like a bulletproof vest— so it’s not one we’d suggest wearing on your daily errands to the supermarket.
With a fitted cut, the vest ensures the weights are flush to your body. Having the weights close to you helps not to compromise on your movement while you work out. The plates are methodically distributed around the vest providing great weight stability.
As well as the above, the vest provides stability via adjustable shoulder straps, rip-tabs at the waist and there is also padded inner lining to aid comfort.
The straps buckles are made of plastic, suggesting they may break sooner over ones made of metal. However, the jacket is reasonably sturdy and comes with a two-year warranty to put your mind at ease.
Type of weight: Solid metal bars
Best for: Beginners
We’ve highlighted the Bulldog Gear as one of the best weighted vests on the market, due to its flexibility in adding weight.
The vest weighs in at a mere 2kg on its own. It is ideal for beginners as you can slowly build up the weight to suit you and your fitness level.
With 18 secure pockets for the additional 1kg solid metal bar weights, you have complete control over how heavy you load up the vest for your workouts.
A Velcro flap secures each weight pocket. The weights then build up in a total of four banks across the front and rear.
At a max weight of 20kg, this vest can help you push yourself to the limits to burn even more calories during each workout.
Though it is at the pricier end of the market, the quality does not disappoint. The vest is thick and strong in the body, ensuring it is very robust.
There’s nothing worse than being distracted during a workout by your weighted vest shifting around. The Bulldog gear weighted vest has been designed for a snug and secure fit that hugs your body to ensure no extra movement.
The restrictive snug fit may be a worry; however, as the vest is not as long in the body as many others, it aids movement. The weight bricks themselves are also more manoeuvrable than larger weight vest plates, making it an ideal fit for all body types.
Bulldog even offer a free weighted vest challenge that you can download. For more workout inspiration, you can also follow Men’s Health senior fitness editor Andrew Tracey on his weekly ‘Bulldog Gear Challenge’ training blog.
Weight: 8kg or 10kg
Type of weight: iron sand filled pouches
Best for: Comfort
If you’re looking for comfort, the Xn8 Sport will be right up your street.
This is the best weighted vest for wearability. The X-shaped composition is aimed at maximum function, practicality and manoeuvrability.
It is made from top-quality elastic neoprene, meaning it’s soft, flexible, breathable, and even heat resistant.
Not only does this vest come in a multitude of weights, but it’s designed with the wearer in mind. The shoulder straps are ‘slip-resistant’ and made from a thickened material to aid comfort during prolonged usage–making it ideal for aerobic sports such as running or long walks.
Available in either 8kg or 10kg, the vest has six concealed pockets for the iron-sand filled weight pouches—meaning it’s easy to vary your weight for different exercises.
The Xn8 Sport is great for both men and women due to its generous adjustability. Four buckles can be tightened or loosened—two on the check and two on the shoulders. It also has great stability and won’t impact your workout.
This vest also comes in various colours and has reflective elements so that you can look stylish—day or night—while still making gains.
Weight: 10kg, 15kg, 20kg, 25kg, 30kg
Type of weight: Sandbag weights
Best for: Heavyweight and durability
The Bodyrip is the heaviest featured in our best weighted vest list and is ideal for all kinds of exercise.
Its removable sandbag weights offer an alternative to metal, meaning the vest is even more comfortable and flexible for intense workouts.
As well as this, the vest is designed to evenly spread the sand weights, helping with balance and stability.
Although this vest is a one size fits all, the large straps ensure you’ll have a solid, secure and stable fit.
The neoprene and nylon fabrics make this vest durable and help avoid sweat absorption, which is a clear perk when working out.
However, as expected, things can become dirty over time. This material is a great option because it can be easily hand-washed, keeping the vest fresh and odour free.
With reflective tapes in its design, you can work out in the Bodyrip weighted vest day or night, whatever suits you.
Bodyrip also suggests some quick and easy exercises for you to do in your weighted vest, such as:
- Overhand Pull-Ups
- Abs Walkouts
- Box Jumps
Weight: 3.6kg or 7.2kg
Type of weight: Iron sand-filled pouches
Best for: Women
This vest features as our best weighted vest for women. Designed by women-owned brand Empower, it has been made exclusively for women alone and isn’t just a smaller copy of a men’s vest.
Made for the ‘real woman,’ the Empower vest has an X-shape design, made with comfort and function in mind.
The neoprene fabric is soft and stretchy, helping to fit all different body shapes.
With padded shoulders and adjustable side straps, you can move freely and comfortably for a long time without the vest becoming uncomfortable as you regularly change positions.
The vest weights can be adjusted, enabling you to gradually build resistance or tailor the weight depending on your exercise.
Since the vest is well equipped for changing weight, you can use it for running, strength training, CrossFit, or anything that takes your fancy.
If you’re looking to increase strength and endurance, tone your core and burn calories while being comfortable, the Empower vest is for you.
Specialist sports insurance from Insure4Sport
Though weighted vests are relatively safe, they still come with risks such as loading up your weight too quickly before you’re ready or not adjusting the vest properly to your body, causing interference.
That’s why, if you’re working out on your own at home, in the gym or with clients, you must protect yourself and others.
At Insure4Sport, we offer specialist insurance for personal trainers and gym members to cover you for injury (personal and third party), damage (to your equipment or third-party property) and theft so that you can exercise with peace of mind.
Find out more and get an online quote in minutes here.