Have you ever experienced vigorous sweaty workouts without much noticeable progress?

I have. It seemed like I hit a plateau and couldn’t move on, no matter how hard I tried. I knew I had to change something but felt demotivated.

Then, I realized a solution might be stupid simple - adding extra weight and resistance during workouts.

Guess what: It works!

Ready to move the needle in your workouts?

Check out the best weighted vests and a thorough guide on how to find the right one for yourself to help you move your workout to the next level. [1]

Our Top Weighted Vests

1 - RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest (Editor's Choice)

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This is one of the best weighted vests you can use to add resistance to your strength training and enhance your overall workout.

The attached belt enables a quick and easy setup. Athletes of different fitness levels and abilities can use this adjustable weighted vest for a wide range of activities, from hiking, climbing, and running to calisthenics or CrossFit workout, to make their lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, planks, abs, legs and any other exercises more demanding and effective.

  • Weight: 12-60lbs
  • Size: One size fits most
  • Material: Strong nylon
Pros
  • Provides weight adjustability and superior comfort for most body shapes
  • Gives the most bang for your buck
  • Has a handy pocket for your phone, keys, and earphones, plus a water bottle holder for extra storage
  • Extremely durable and comes with a lifetime warranty
Cons
  • You may need to pay a few more bucks for shoulder pads

2 - Cross101 Weighted Vest

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This comfy one-piece weighted vest with Velcro straps and an attached belt for easier closure may be good for jogging, hiking, climbing, walking, CrossFit, weight, strength, and other workout types. I’m sure nature lovers would love the camouflage design.

The iron ore weights can be easily added or removed in 2.5lbs or 4lbs increments depending on the selected vest weight.  Also, the padding on the shoulders is optional, so you may want to order pads or wear a T-shirt with sleeves underneath it to avoid shoulder irritation.

  • Weight: 20-80lbs
  • Size: One size fits most
Pros
  • Comfortable and adjustable weighted vest
  • Provides additional storage compartments for your water bottle, headphones and other items you may want to keep close while training
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Users reported that it might bounce when running or doing e.g. push-ups if you leave it loose, but if you strap it on tight, you might find it difficult to breathe.

3 - miR Airflow Weighted Vest

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This weighted vest comes with solid 3-pound iron weights that can be added or removed in a minute, and users claim it’s of amazing quality built to last.

It doesn’t wrap around your whole torso, just your upper chest and abdomen allowing free movement during your bodyweight, strength, cardio, and other fitness training sessions.

Although breathable, it may not be the best weighted vest for running as users claim it’s a bit bulky and moves around too much.

Also, this length makes the vest perfect for petite individuals and those with a shorter torso, whereas its soft material, air-flow design and shoulder pads ensure additional comfort.

  • Weight: 20-60lbs
  • Size: One size fits most
  • Material: Soft hybrid fabric
Pros
  • Enables a wide range of movement thanks to its shortness and narrow shoulder straps
  • Adjustable size and removable weights
  • Machine-washing and tumble-drying allowed to keep it clean always
Cons
  • Reaching all the straps and buckles on the back to make it snug might be challenging without someone’s assistance

4 - Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO

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With its stylish unisex design, Hyperwear Hyper vest Pro comes with 10lbs of high-density steel weights and with the capacity to add more depending on the selected sizes. It’s pretty lightweight, easy to put on and take off, fits snugly and comfortably without bouncing.

What’s more, its breathable, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant material paired with open sides provides excellent ventilation, which makes it one of the best weighted vests for running, walking, calisthenics, CrossFit, and many other high-intensity activities.

Also, the material is easy to clean and thin so you can wear your Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro even underneath a loose hoodie, T-shirt or other workout clothes if you don’t want it to be seen.

  • Weight: 10lbs
  • Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Material: Tyvek Lycra Nylon
Pros
  • Superior comfort without any motion restrictions
  • Available in different sizes
  • Side lacing makes this vest easily fit your body shape
Cons
  • A bit expensive

5 - CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest

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Although versatile, functional, and suitable for all fitness levels, this adjustable weighted vest might not be your first choice for running or some CrossFit activities, but it’s ideal for any bodyweight, cardio, HIIT, and many other workouts.

The weight is easily adjustable in 2.5lbs increments while the Velcro pads allow for easy adjustment around your waist.  In a nutshell, the CAP Barbell weighted vest is solid, comfy, and worth every penny.

  • Weight: 100lbs
  • Size: One size fits all
  • Material: Reinforced nylon and polyester
Pros
  • Top-quality, durable, tear-resistant material
  • Fully adjustable weight, waist belt and padded shoulders for a secure and comfortable fit
  • Flexible with reflective stripes for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions
Cons
  • Hefty price tag

6 - Box Weighted Vest

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This extremely durable weight vest is a fantastic companion for intermediate to advanced CrossFit and calisthenics athletes.  It’s specifically designed for gym, building strength, running, jumping, and weight loss workouts.

Its fully padded natural contouring offers a snug comfortable fit. Plus, the adjustable belts, narrow shoulder straps, and open sides don’t restrict your movements and allow you to breathe easily and stay cool. The back belt is secured with a kipping flap.

The weight is perfectly balanced, and you can adjust it quickly and easily with added weight cast-iron bars in 2.5lbs increments. It’s not a cheap product, but undoubtedly worth the investment.

  • Weight: 45lbs
  • Size: One size fits all
  • Material: Heavy-duty military-grade nylon
Pros
  • Customizable with easily adjustable and removable weights and belts for a full range of motion
  • Robust and easy-to-clean moisture-resistant material
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty against material and workmanship defects
Cons
  • Can bounce a bit when running but no more than any other weighted vest

7 - Aduro Sport Weighted Vest

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This simple and practical backpack-style vest with a well-balanced weight concentrated between your shoulders is best for beginners because it’s light.

It also comes with an adjustable front belt with buckles and a mesh pocket on the back for extra storage.

Aduro sport vest is made of breathable and hand-washable material, which makes it great for intensive training.

Many users say it fits snugly without bouncing around or moving while practicing, even when running or jumping, doing push-ups, pull-ups, dips, burpees,lunges, and other cardio exercises and weight training.

Although this sleek vest is designed as unisex, it’s perfect for female curves and allows excellent mobility.

  • Weight: 6lbs
  • Size: One size fits most
  • Material: Neoprene with a mesh storage pocket
Pros
  • High-quality material, super comfortable with padded shoulders
  • Odorless iron filling
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • Fixed weight

8 - Tone Fitness Weighted Vest

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This versatile weighted vest that fits snugly enough may work great for climbing, running, walking, weightlifting, kickboxing, yoga, HIIT, and many other workouts from low to high intensity.

It has an additional pocket where you can put your keys, money or MP3 player while exercising, but many users claim that it’s not big enough for a smartphone.

This vest seems perfect for women, but if you’re small, it may shift, bounce, and wobble around during intensive workouts or a hard run. Similarly, it might be too tight and uncomfortable for big guys or women with broad shoulders and a full chest.

  • Weight: 12lbs
  • Size: One size fits most
  • Material: Soft neoprene
Pros
  • Comfortable and allows a full range of motion
  • Inexpensive
  • Reflective stripes help to keep you safe while exercising in the dark
Cons
  • Non-adjustable weight, so unsuitable for gradual progression

9 - Harbinger Men's Adjustable Weight Vest

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You can use this functional weight vest for CrossFit, strength, endurance, and other high-intensity workouts to increase resistance while doing sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, box jumps, burpees, jumping jacks, deadlifts, or sprints.

Its durable outer material is resistant to abrasion, tears and pulling, and the stitches all look strong. The vest is also machine washable, so no worries about sweating.

Fully-adjustable waist closure and wide Velcro straps allow lots of size adjustment for a snug comfortable fit like a regular vest, so it isn’t overly bulky and stays in place once strapped together. Plus, it allows maximum mobility.

You can add weights in 20 one-pound increments and rest assured that they’re going to fit securely without moving even during the most intense workout.

  • Weight: 20lbs
  • Size: One size fits most
  • Material: Neoprene
Pros
  • Multi-purpose vest suitable for high-intensity training
  • Highly adjustable weight and size that provides maximum mobility
  • Sturdy, durable material
Cons
  • The weights are extremely difficult to put in and take out of the tight pockets

10 - Pure Fitness Adjustable Weighted Vest

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Many users say this multi-functional adjustable weighted vest is comfortable when walking, hiking, jogging, or doing push-ups, pull-ups, planks, squats, burpees, and crunches.

The material is pretty sturdy without unpleasant or chemical smell, and the seams are strong. The weight is well-balanced, and the strong, wide Velcro strap holds everything in place.

Reflective strips ensure better visibility and safer jogging at night so that you can workout to strengthen your muscles and improve your stamina, be it day or night.

Since quite a few users complained that openings for the sandbags aren’t adequate and that the removable weights easily fall out, this vest may not be ideal for fast-paced, high-intensity exercises like sprinting and plyometrics.

Also, some users said they could use a bit more padding on the shoulders.

  • Weight: 20lbs
  • Size: One size fits most
  • Material: Reflective Nylon and Terylene trim
Pros
  • Fully adjustable closures and weight
  • Good price-quality ratio
  • 90-day warranty
Cons
  • It may be tricky to insert the sandbags into tiny slots

Buyer’s Guide - What to Look for in a Weighted Vest?

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When choosing the right weighted vest for yourself, you may want to consider all the factors below to get the most out of it and maximize your fitness gains.

Focus On Its Purpose

Want your weight vest to be super functional and effective? Then, you should carefully select it depending on your goals and the type of training you’re going to use it for because different activities require different materials, weights, and other features.

Here are my two cents to help you decide.

  • Weights Vest for Calisthenics - The best weighted vests for calisthenics and other types of strength training and workout should be heavier but with adjustable weight and made of robust and durable material with high abrasion resistance. They should also be shorter and not so bulky, with narrower shoulder straps to allow your body a broad range of motion while bending, pushing, jumping, etc.
  • Weighted Vests for CrossFit - Since CrossFit includes various dynamic activities, a good weight vest for it should ensure full freedom of comfortable movement for your arms and the whole body. It could also be heavier but preferably adjustable and made of a material that provides adequate ventilation.
  • Weighted Vests for Running or Walking - The best weighted vest for running or walking should be lighter, thinner, made of reflective material, and should fit snugly so that you can move freely and comfortably. Try pairing this with a stepping machine to add an extra challenge to your workouts.

The metabolic impact of wearing a weighted vest is greatest in activities requiring a significant component of vertical work (e.g., stepping exercise or inclined walking or running).

- Cedric X. Bryant, Health and Fitness Expert

Find the Right Size And Weight

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The right size and weight of your weighted vest will also depend on the exercises you’ll do while wearing it.

Many vest models on the market nowadays are typically made as unisex backpack-style with a fixed weight, and in one universal size with the shoulder and waist straps that you can adjust to fit your body comfortably. These may not be the best weighted vests for women in particular because of the specific female body shape.

The other most commonly available weight vest designs include:

  • Full-sized vests - cover your whole torso with evenly distributed weight on the front and back, and may restrict your movements when bending, crunching, etc.
  • Short-stack vests - have all the load on your chest and upper back to leave your abdomen free

The weight is the primary reason for buying a vest, so it’s critical to determine it right. If the weight is too low, your vest will be useless, whereas you risk injuries if your vest is too heavy.

For instance, for developing muscles, it would be wise to start with an adjustable vest that weighs around 10% of your total body weight and gradually progress. Just make sure that you spread out the weights evenly when adding or removing them.

Adjustability, Security and Comfort

man wearing weighted vest

When it comes to weight adjustability, two typical vest types are:

  • Fixed weight - cheaper version with built-in weights which can’t be removed
  • Adjustable weight - more expensive, with separate sandbags or metal bars which let you add or remove weights to suit your needs and fitness level

Weight adjustability is important when choosing your weighted vest because it allows you to do a variety of exercises. Also, a weight vest should be quick and easy to adjust while exercising so that you don’t lose your momentum.

Comfort is another critical factor because wearing an uncomfortable weight vest that doesn’t fit you properly may be distracting, cause blisters, and affect your workout results.

Security of all your workout gear mustn’t be compromised. Weight vests are usually secured with straps, zips, or clips, and they shouldn’t limit your movement or breathing while exercising.

High-Quality Durable Material

Should I really explain why?

Of course, you want your weighted vest to be long-lasting, so you’ll pick sturdy material like neoprene or nylon, which can endure your intense training and is resistant to tear and rubbing.

Also, finding a sweat-resistant vest that’s easy to maintain or has antimicrobial features would be highly beneficial.

No matter what material it’s made of, I like to wear a T-shirt with sleeves under my weighted vest to avoid direct skin contact with it and prevent any bacterial infections.

Price-Quality Balance

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Every product has its pros and cons, and it’s up to you to figure out which provides you with the best value for your money.

I wouldn’t go for the cheapest option, but for a mid-range weighted vest that perfectly matches my workout routine and goals, and fully satisfies most if not all of my training needs.

Look Out For Any Additional Features

By additional features I mean details that bring about your weighted vest functionality and convenience but may not be so critical.

For example, besides the essential requirements such as adequate weight, size, and material, a convenient weighted vest for runners would have:

  • Reflective tape added for better visibility, e.g. for an early morning or a late-night run
  • A pouch for your smartphone or MP4 player
  • An extra pocket for storing your keys and money
  • A bottle holder for your water, and the like

Also, you may prefer particular brands, colors, or any other similar features that fulfill your individual needs.

FAQs

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Are Weighted Vests Effective?

Yes, weighted vests are effective if you choose and use them right. Besides adding variety to your workouts, they can help you build muscle mass, strengthen your bones, increase calorie and fat burn, boost your strength and endurance, and more. In short, they can contribute to your overall health and fitness. [2]

How Heavy Should My Weighted Vest Be?

Your weighted vest shouldn’t exceed 10% of your body weight. [3] For example, a person who weighs 180 pounds shouldn’t wear a weighted vest that is heavier than 18 pounds.

Most experts recommend that individuals wear vests that are 5 to 10% of their body weight to help ensure safety and comfort.

- Cedric X. Bryant, Health and Fitness Expert

However, when you grow stronger, it may feel too light. So, buying an adjustable vest would be a smart long-term investment so that you can gradually increase the load to prevent injuries.

Are Weighted Vests Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, weighted vests are good for weight loss because they increase your workout intensity and enable you to burn more calories. [4]

Lifting weights can increase your lean body mass, which increases the number of overall calories you burn during the day.

- Jacque Crockford, CSCS and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise

Also, wearing a weighted vest while exercising, running, walking, or doing your chores combined with a healthy diet can bring about your faster and better weight loss results. [5] [6]

Do Weighted Vests Build Muscle?

Yes, weighted vests can help you build muscle. Wearing a weighted vest while doing your strength training (squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and the like) increases the difficulty of your exercises. As a result, your body responds to the increased overload stress of your resistance exercises. It means that your muscles adapt to these new excessive demands, i.e. grow. [7]

Do Weighted Vests Help Posture?

Yes, wearing a weighted vest can help improve your posture. It strengthens the muscles that are in charge of your balance and challenges their ability to keep the right posture until it becomes your habit even without wearing a vest.

Are Weighted Vests Bad for Your Spine?

A weighted vest can be bad for your spine if you don’t use it properly. Some experts claim that it may not be the best solution for those who suffer from back and neck issues, as it may cause soreness. If that’s you, it may be best to consult your physician before using a weighted vest.

It puts pressure on your spine, and if you have spinal stenosis or significant disc degeneration, it can cause problems all the way to the neck.

- Terry Downey, Physical Therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Are Weighted Vests Bad for Your Knees?

Weighted vests can be bad for your knees, especially if you already have some knee problems. Since they place additional stress on your joints and muscles, they can cause pain or even injuries. So you may want to seek professional advice when deciding whether weight vests are the right choice for you.

Which Weighted Vest Should You Pick?

Among all the best weighted vests in this review, my first choice is RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest because it’s highly adjustable, sturdy, versatile, and reasonably priced.

Unless you’re a newbie, the benefits you can reap from a weighted vest are undoubtedly numerous:

  • train all your muscle groups
  • increase strength and endurance
  • improve your technique, balance and explosiveness
  • make your training sessions more interesting and challenging by adding resistance, and much more.

So, figure out your needs and find the best weighted vest for yourself today.

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RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Provides weight adjustability and superior comfort for most body shapes
  • Gives the most bang for your buck
  • Has a handy pocket for your phone, keys, and earphones, plus a water bottle holder for extra storage
  • Extremely durable and comes with a lifetime warranty
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