Why Wear Weight Vests?

By Linda Hibbard

Weighted vests are worn by men and women for many different reasons.

How do firefighters build their bodies to have such strong physiques? It’s from carrying around all of that extra gear. This type of strength, muscle and bone density-building principle is Weight-vest training.

By wearing a weight vest during my most active time of day, whether it is going on a walk, jog or just working around the house, I’m getting the same strength training benefits without having to go through the motions of lifting weights.


Weight vest training is good for more than just firefighters and competitive athletes; bodybuilding and middle-aged women can all reap its benefits. The principles behind training with a weight vest are very simple. You’re basically training your body to handle more weight than it’s used to.

Athletics – In a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology in 1987, a group of athletes each wore a weighted best equivalent to about 10 percent of their body weight from morning until nighttime. When compared to a group that only wore the vest every other day, constant vest wearers displayed better oxygen intake capabilities to support longer and harder workouts. They were able to achieve a higher intensity of exercise before muscle failure. The daily vest wearer also logged longer running times before exhaustion and increased speed on stair running. Wearing a weighted vest improves cardiovascular strength and stamina. The extra weight of the vest makes the body work harder to do most daily physical tasks, athletic training or even just walking. Wear a weight vest while practicing your sport. The additional weight will improve your body mechanics, including muscle strength, for when you are not wearing it, thus making your movement more precise and effective. Wear a vest while doing calisthenics and plyometric workouts for performance improvement.

Builds Bone Strength – The National Osteoporosis Foundation NOF, says the best exercise that contributes to the development and maintenance of bone mass is weight-bearing exercise such as walking, dancing, jogging, stair-climbing, racquet sports and hiking. Living bones adapt themselves both in size and internal structure to the mechanical forces applied to them. The amount and strength of the bone are directly linked to the amount of activity that forces the bones to bear weight and move against resistance.

Weight Loss – Wearing a weighted vest effectively increases your overall bodyweight, which increases your daily energy expenditures or calorie burn and promotes weight loss. In studies conducted by ‘Walkvest,’ individuals who walked on a treadmill for 45 minutes burned 150 – 230 calories without the vest and 250 – 330 calories with vest adding only 4 to 6 pounds of additional weight. The weighted training vest has become one of the most popular and effective tools to lose weight as well as to tone the body and build bone mass.

Job Training – Firefighters & our Soldiers use weighted vests to effectively train their bodies to carry heavy loads for their professions. Oxygen tanks, heavy back packs and people are required to be carried in the most difficult of jobs.

Weight vests weighing 4 to 75 pounds for men and women are available at: http://www.womenspersonalfitness.net/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=68

About the Author: Linda Hibbard holds certificates in Personal Training and Lifestyle/Weight Management. Innovative health and fitness products for men and women are available through her website at


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