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Used for a variety of training approaches, a weight vest workout is one instance when carrying a little extra baggage can actually improve your physical performance for a wider set of muscle groups. That’s because the added weight of these vests create additional resistance during muscle building, body-weight exercises, and heart-pumping cardio activities – making you expend more energy to achieve your fitness goals.
A typical weight vest includes adjustable shoulder and lateral straps that allow it to be customized to fit any torso. That way, the weight is properly positioned in the optimal center of gravity for each body type. This concentrates the weight in the chest and upper body during training, which works the abdominals and builds core muscle strength. Another benefit is that most weight vests allow you to add more weight as strength improves for greater workout intensity.
With their high versatility, weight vests allow for a broad range of exercises, such as walking, jogging, rope-jumping, bike riding, core strengthening, and weight training. But before you go strapping on that 75 lb. vest for your next set up pull-ups, be sure you’re properly conditioned to carry the extra weight. When adding a weight vest to your fitness program, start out light then gradually work your way up to a heavier weighted vest over a few months. Going too heavy, too soon can put excessive stress on your joints and cause injury.
By taking on a little extra baggage, and incorporating a weight vest into your fitness routine, you can quickly accelerate your gains in the following areas.
The added resistance of a weighted vest increases the intensity of your workout, forcing your body to work harder and burn more calories during each weight-bearing exercise. While the increase in caloric burn may be nominal for less strenuous exercises, it is still both measurable and effective over time.
Benefits from wearing weight vests are seen in both strength training and aerobic activities. Besides using greater energy, carrying extra weight during exercise requires added strength and oxygen. With any exercise the more weight used, the more the muscles have to adapt to the higher weight; this builds strength. And when the extra weight is removed, endurance is improved from the body getting used to both the vigorous exercise and the use of additional oxygen.
When exercising with a weight vest, the body’s muscle memory is triggered to adapt to the added weight. Both body and mind believe extra weight has been gained when, in fact, it has not. The result is muscle memory that will react with the extra weight in mind. This fitness phenomenon produces significant gains in speed and quickness that would not be obtained without the extra baggage applied.
Similar to how the body adjusts to extra weight by getting stronger and faster, muscles and bones become denser to support the supposed heavier musculoskeletal caused by wearing the vest. First, muscles strengthen and grow and then bones become denser and stronger to handle the extra weight. It’s a fact; weight-bearing exercises improve muscle and bone density.