A weighted vest will take any workout to another level, adding load and resistance whilst keeping your hands free. Most people use a weighted vest to burn calories and speed up fat loss. But weighted vests can also help you pack on muscle. Here’s how.
1 Press ups
Press ups are one of the best “push” bodyweight exercises, but it’s easy to hit a plateau. Once you can do 20 or so with good form, how do you progress?
Adding a weighted vest will increase the load, and help you build more muscle. Do push ups in a weighted vest and you’ll change a training variable and put more demand through working muscles and stabilisers.
The traditional way to add extra load to dips is with a dipping belt, but a smarter option is a weighted vest – because you can keep it on for your whole workout. Weighted vest dips are easy and practical, and can be combined with loads of other bodyweight exercises.
We love doing bodyweight lunges in a weighted vest, because the weight is evenly distributed and your hands remain free (great if you’re working on balance). Try doing a variety of lunge variations in a weighted vest: forward stepping lunges, reverse lunges, or walking lunges.
4 Air squats
Doing air squats in a weighted vest takes them out of the realm of bodyweight exercise and turns them into a light weighted squat. Put these in a HIIT or circuit session and feel the difference.
5 Pull ups
Have you mastered pull ups? Take them to the next level by doing them in a weighted vest. This will help you build serious muscle through your back and arms.
6 Bulgarian split squats
We love a split squat for building muscle in the quads and hamstrings, but it can be difficult to add load without challenging your balance too much. A weighted vest solves that problem, distributing the extra load and leaving your hands free to help you balance.
7 Triceps press up
This press up variation is tough enough as it is, but if you want to build more mass in your triceps, do them in a weighted vest. You might need to scale back on the reps at first, but it’s a great challenge for more advanced athletes.
3 WODs you can do in a weighted vest
Murph Hero WOD
“Murph” is one of the best-known CrossFit Hero WODs, named after a Navy SEAL killed in action in Afghanistan. You can do Murph in a weighted vest – just chip away at it and keep going.
1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 press ups
300 air squats
1 mile run
21-15-9 is a classic CrossFit rep range combination – here’s one to try in a weighted vest.
You can get a great workout in with no equipment except your weighted vest. Try this as an example:
7 rounds for time
7 sit ups
7 jumping squats
7 press ups
60 second plank hold