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Working out with a weight vest

Inspired by the recent Crossfit Games workouts – and frustrated with my lack of progress on bodyweight work – I recently decided to add a RunMax weight vest to my arsenal. I purchased the weight vest through Amazon. There are a variety of size configurations – I decided to go with the 40 lb option.

When it arrived, I discovered that the vest has 10 cylindrical pockets – 5 in front, 5 in back. The configuration determines the weights stored in each pocket. In my case, each weight is 4 lbs.

I initially put 5 weights into the vest – 3 in back, 2 in front – totaling 20 lbs. After a couple of sessions, I decided to even out the load by inserting another weight in front, bringing the total to 24 lbs. This was more comfortable when performing various activities.

I decided to apply the vest to the following circuit:

  1. Push-ups
  2. Chin-ups
  3. Hanging straight-leg raise
  4. Step-ups (18 inch bench)
  5. Air squats – or Belgian split squat

My objective in using the weight vest is to increase strength.

Here are some subjective opinions:

  • I’ve found the weight vest superior to using a weight belt. The vest allows me to do weighted exercises (e.g., push-ups) that I can’t apply with a weight belt and I don’t have to deal with a swinging weight affecting my form.
  • The weight vest requires me to be more conscious of form and also to slow down.
  • I feel generally more stable with a vest versus using a counterweight with squats.

So far, I am very pleased with the results. I’ve noticed more stamina (reps) when going without the vest versus prior to using the vest. I have been very careful with form – in particular, loading up my back muscles – to avoid injuries.