Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, get stronger or improve your cardio endurance, a weighted vest can get you there faster. The added resistance that these vests provide burns more calories and makes your muscles work harder. The key to success however, is to choose the right brand of weighted vest. If you don’t, the thing will probably become so annoying and uncomfortable that you’ll ditch it after a couple of workouts. That’s why we’ve gone to great lengths to discover the best weighted vest on today’s market.
What to Look For in a Weighted Vest
There are a number of factors to consider when buying a weighted vest:
When it comes to the weighted vest market, there are two basic varieties. The first looks a bit like a bullet-proof vest and covers the entire torso. The other type is the shoulder weighted vest that looks a bit like a backpack without the actual pack. It does not cover the middle part of your torso. Obviously, the full body weighted vest has potential to include more weight. The advantage of the shoulder weighted vest is that it provides more free movement of the arms. For this reason, it is more popular for those who feature a lot of plyometric style work in their training.
There are a range of vest weights available on the market. Ideally, you should choose a product that allows you to remove weights in increments of one KG or less. If you have not used a weighted vest before, you should know that they take quite a bit of getting used to and just a small weight in the vest can have a significant effect on the intensity of your workout. If you progressively use it, however, your body will get used to it and you will need increased resistance so you should have a vest that allows you to add more weight to it.
The smart way to go, then, is to purchase a weighted vest that is heavier than you currently require, but that allows you to remove weight and then add back as needed.
In many ways, the comfort level of your weighted vests is the most important factor. After all, if it is annoying and uncomfortable to wear, you won’t do it. You need a vest that is adjustable and that provides needed padding to avoid discomfort.
Method of Fastening
It is imperative that the fastening mechanism of your weighted vest be both simple and reliable. Vests will either come with a buckle or a Velcro fastening mechanism. A general buckle type mechanism will be more secure, especially when you are planning to be involved in plyometric or CrossFit type training.
Best Weighted Vest UK – Our Picks
BodyRip Weight Vest
The BodyRip weighted vest is made in the UK by an established manufacturer of fitness equipment. It is available with weights up to 10, 15, 20 and 30 KG. The weight is in the form of sandbags which are removable. It comes in black and that is the only colour that they offer. When you wear this full body vest, you will look somewhat like a member of a police bomb disposal unit.
The weighted sandbags are housed in small rectangular panels on the front and back of the unit. This vest is very well made, featuring double stitching, soft foam lining on the inner and a smooth, comfortable feeling on the outside of the material. A couple of pairs of straps go down the front of the vest diagonally. This helps to keep the unit securely in place and ensures that it fits comfortably. Shoulder pads make sure that you won’t experience any discomfort during prolonged periods of wear.
Performance wise, the vest does a very good job. It stays in place, and the foam padding ensures that you will remain abrasion free. However, the shoulder pads could be a bit thicker to accommodate for long distance runners. If you are wanting to mainly use it for shorter more intense workouts, then this vest is a great choice.
The BodyRip weighted vest is reasonably priced and sold with a money back guarantee.
Surreal Weighted Vest
The Surreal weight vest is a full body vest with evenly distributed weights to ensure proper balance. The weights are in the form of small sandbags that are removable. This vest is available in weight ranges between 5kg and 30kg.
The fastening mechanism used on this weighted vest is Velcro. The manufacturers have used a very high quality of Velcro and there are no user reviews stating any issues with that coming undone, even after a significant period of time. Your comfort is assured with extra padding on the shoulder straps.
This is a one size fits all vest that can be adjusted to customise. However, it should be noted that, even though the vest is designed for both men and women to wear, women who are rather busty will not be able to load the front row of weights.
The vest is made from moisture, odour and sweat resistant materials. This is a well priced full body vest that is secure, versatile and sturdily made.
- Full body vest
- Removable weights
- One size fits all
- Velcro fastening system
- Shoulder padding
DKN 20kg Adjustable Weighted Vest
The DKN 20 KG adjustable weighted vest comes in a one size fits all design. It provides resistance in the form of small rectangular sandbags that are evenly distributed around the vest to ensure that you have an optimal balance when you are working out. The maximum weight of this vest is 20 KGs. The weights are removable so you can begin with a lighter resistance level and progressively build your way up to the 20 KG maximum.
This adjustable weighted vest is secured by way of a high grip Velcro belt to provide a secure hold that will not slip around while you are exercising. The vest includes padding to prevent any chaffing or other discomfort while training. The weights are situated on both the front and the rear of the unit. The weight increments are 510 grams each, allowing you to customise the precise resistance that you require for your workout. There are a total of 38 weight packs with this vest.
The material that the DKN 20 KG adjustable weighted vest is made from a sweat resistant and highly durable material.
- One size fits all
- Adjustable weights
- 510 gram weight increments
- Sweat resistant material
- 30 weight packs in total
Adidas Weighted Vest
The Adidas weighted vest is one of the most popular weighted vests in the UK, and the only reason it didn’t make our top pick was the relatively low weight limit of 10kg.
Otherwise, it’s excellent. The fit is superb and the material and workmanship is to usual Adidas high standards.
The weight packs are also strategically distributed across the vest for maximum comfort. There are also D rings on the back, which you can use to attach resistance bands, or even a parachute for doing parachute runs.
Lastly the material is highly breathable meaning it’s especially good for those long cardio workouts when you want to really push yourself to the limit.
- Eight weight packs
- Up to 10kg weight
- Fully adjustable and durable material
- Metal loops to attach resistance bands
- Weight packs in 0.5kg, 1kg, 1.25kg and 2.5kg
RDX 20Kg Adjustable Weighted Vest
The RDX Adjustable Weighted Vest is a full upper body, heavy duty vest with a 20 KG maximum user weight. Even though it looks quite bulky, it is actually quite comfortable to wear. It is very well made with double stitching at the seams and the lightweight neoprene material is comfortable to wear. The outer material is reflective, providing extra protection when you are running outdoors at night time.
This vest comes in red and black, which makes a nice change to many other vests, which are only available in black. The weight blocks are made of heavy-duty plastic and are completely removable. This makes them more hardy than the sandbags that most weighted vests use to add their resistance.
The weights are divided up into 20 small weight blocks to allow you to select the precise weight that you need and to progress in weight as you get stronger.
Padding on the shoulders provides extra comfort on your pressure points.
The bulky nature of this vest may make it a little tricky to fit into your gym bag. The vest is secured by way of thick, wide velcro padding to provide a secure hold while you are exercising.
- 20 weight blocks
- Hardy plastic weights
- Shoulder padding
- Breathable neoprene
- Red and black
RDX WVX-R1R Adjustable Weighted Vest
The RDX Adjustable Weighted Fitness Vest is a less bulky version of the RDX vest reviewed above. It features patented Flex panels that do a good job of keeping the vest in place. This makes this vest ideal for multi-plane movement, which is a great choice for people who are doing plyometric type jumping exercises.
The maximum weight of these vests is 18 KG. Weights are easily removable to allow you to customise your resistance level. Weight placement is evenly divided to ensure ideal overall balancing. Unlike many competitors, there is no weight placement over the shoulder blades on this vest. That makes it far more comfortable to use than those other versions.
RDX claim that this vest is the most comfortable you will ever wear. We don’t know about that, but we do know that it is extremely comfortable, thanks to generous padding and smart technology. Adjustable straps allow you to securely fit the vest. The moisture wicking fabric of the vest prevents sweat and odour build-up.
This vest is ideal for cardio, plyo and CrossFit training.
- Light and airy design
- Patented flex panels
- Very secure
- Mositire wicking fabric
- Adjustable straps
Xn8 Weighted Vest
The Xn8 weighted vest is available in 10, 15 and 20 KG versions, with all weights being removable. This is a one size fits all vest. It does not restrict your arm movement as you train and features a secure hook and loop fastening system to provide a secure hold. The weights consist of iron sand and are housed in soft neoprene padded pouches. The weights are securely held and will not fall out, regardless of how hard you are training.
This vest features hi-viz reflectors on both the front and the back to keep you safe when running outdoors at night.
This vest is made from neoprene and comes in an attractive red and black design. The ergonomic design and slim look of this weight vest makes it ideal for use by the elderly. However, the shoulder straps may get uncomfortable if you are exercising for an extended period of time, such as going for a long-distance run. This vest is, therefore, best suited for gym use or short duration workouts.
- Hi-Viz reflectors
- One size fits all
- No arm movement restriction
- Hook and loop fastening system
Viavito Women’s Weighted Vest
The Viavito weight vest is the only vest on this review page that is specifically designed for women. It is also the only shoulder weight vest that we are currently reviewing here. The minimalist design of this vest makes it a great choice for CrossFit, plyometrics, running or doing other types of cardiovascular workout. It is not ideal for use when doing body weight exercises like pull-ups or push-ups.
This womens weighted vest has a maximum user weight of just 5 KG. Because it is not being used to actually add resistance to gravity bodyweight exercises, this should be more than sufficient for most applications. The weights are removable, allowing you to start low and increase as your cardio endurance improves. The vest itself is made from durable neoprene, which is both sweat and moisture resistant.
The maximum weight that this vest carries is 5 Kg. It is made from durable neoprene, which has the added benefit of being comfortable to wear. In terms of overall fit, it stays firmly in place and doesn’t budge once you have secured the buckle and strap tightly. The fastening system keeps the vest secure so that it doesn’t unnecessarily move around when you are exercising.
- Shoulder Design
- Specifically for women
- 5 KG max weight
- Buckle and strap fastening system
What is a weighted vest?
A weighted vest is a training aid that you wear when you are working out. It fits onto your upper body just like a normal vest. The vest has small weights inserted in order to add extra resistance. Weighted vests are also used by medical practitioners when working with specific conditions.
Why wear a weighted vest?
Weighted vests add resistance in the form of extra weight to your body. This makes it more difficult for you to perform certain exercises that pit your body against gravity. Examples of this are push-ups, pullups and squats. The added resistance will make it harder for you to perform the exercise, requiring your body to adapt by getting stronger and more muscular.
A weighted vest will also ensure that you burn more calories while you are wearing it. From the moment you put the vest on, your body will have to do more work to function, so every step that you take while wearing the vest will lead to an accelerated metabolic rate. This will help you to lose stored body fat faster.
Weighted vests are also popular among runners and people looking to improve their cardio endurance. Going for a 5 mile run in a weighted vest is a lot tougher than running without one. It is more taxing on your cardiovascular system and will, therefore, improve your heart health.
What are some different applications for using weighted vests?
Weighted vests are quite a versatile training tool. You can simply wear one during your regular workout to increase your caloric burn. However, the real benefit comes when you include exercises in your workout that specifically pit your body against gravity. As previously mentioned, pullups, push-ups, squats, and other bodyweight exercises are ideal.
You can also increase the intensity of your plyometric exercises by wearing a weighted vest. It becomes harder to perform exercises like box jumps, burpees, or side-to-side lunges when you are wearing a vest. Another good use of the vest is to wear it while you are rope climbing.
When it comes to improving your cardio endurance, boosting your fat burn, and improving your heart health, wearing a weighted vest in the cardio room is a smart choice. You can wear it while running on the treadmill, pounding away on the stair stepper or elliptical or even when using the rowing machine. Of course, you can also wear it when running outdoors. Another effective use of a weighted vest as to wear it while you are doing a boxing punching bag workout.
Should beginners use a weighted vest?
Beginners to exercise can use a weighted vest on certain things. Any exercises in the cardio room can be performed wearing the vest as it will allow you to burn more calories. However, when performing such resistance exercises as push-ups and pullups, you should not progress to wearing a vest until you are able to do a decent number of reps. For instance, do not use added weight on pullups until you can do 15 perfect reps (no kipping) in a row. Similarly, you should be able to do at least 50 quality push-ups (nose touching the ground) before you consider adding extra weight by means of a weighted vest.
Are there any risks involved in wearing weighted vests?
Yes, there is a risk of injury associated with the use of weighted vests. Just as with any exercise training tool, if used improperly it can harm you. If you adhere to the advice given in the previous answer, you will not use a weighted vest until your body is capable of handling it. Most weighted vest injuries occur when people try to do weighted vest exercises like pullups or push-ups before their body is strong enough to do so. As a result, their form breaks down and they end up injuring themselves.
If you are a person who has problematic joints you may also have some negative repercussions from using a weighted vest. This also applies to people who have lower back problems and who are suffering from heart health conditions.
Weighted vests can also negatively impact upon the stride of a runner. If you use a vest that is too heavy for your body and your ability level, you may end up developing a short stride pattern that is not very healthy and that may lead to long-term hip problems.
Are weighted vests useful for bodybuilders?
Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder who is dieting down and performing cardio to get as ripped as possible for a competition, you will not benefit from a weighted vest. The will not do anything to add to the intensity of such exercises as presses, curls and weighted squats. Save your money and put your focus into increasing the weight on the bar.
If you’re ready to take your workouts to the next level, then a weighted vest will certainly help you to do it.
Our pick for best weighted vest on the market today is the BodyRip Weight Vest, providing a secure, comfortable adjustable weight option and a max 15kg body weight.
The best heavy vest is the RDX WVX-R1R Adjustable Weighted Vest, it being the least bulky of the full body vests reviewed and providing a very comfortable fit.
For running we love the Adidas Weighted Vest, which is possibly the most comfortable on the list, and has a relatively light weight limit (10kg). However if using for longer runs, it’s a great choice.
Finally, the best weighted vest for women is the Viavito Women’s Weighted Vest, which is a minimalistically designed shoulder vest that is also extremely comfortable.
Ready to buy? Click here to jump back to our table of top picks!
Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API