If you're a long distance runner or sprinter, I'm pretty sure you've wondered if you can become any faster. Well I'm here with some good news, the answer is yes. In this article I'll cover the benefits from running with a weighted vest and which are one the best the year, 2017.
Using a weight vest for running and training will not only improve your endurance but also your speed. It's ideal for runners wanting to improve their explosiveness and get those world record speeds. Are you ready to change your life?
Weight vests for running come in many sizes, shapes and colors. Since you'll be wearing the vest for longer periods of time, it's important that you get yourself something that sits good. While it's possible to use any vest, there are specific models designed for running in mind. But before we get into all that, let's take a look at the benefits and if there are downsides.
The best weight vests for running
As stated above, practically any weighted vest can be used for running, but if you want maximum comfortability and performance, it's recommended to get something specifically made for running. Down below you will find our favorite running weight vests.
Hyperwear Hyper Vest
This is one of our favorite vests, we have a written review of it in case you're interested in something more in-depth. The Hyperwear is quite expensive, but also one of the best available on the market today.
It's made from flexible fabric which is odor resistant and also keeps you cool during hot summer workout sessions. The sides are open for even more ventilation. Thanks to the stretchy fabric and slim profile you get full range of motion, it doesn't feel like it restricts your breathing either.
The biggest downside is the lack of included weights, 10lbs is not a lot, even for small person. You could buy additional weights, but the only extra weight pack gives you a mere 5 lbs increase. In total this vest will be able to hold 15 pounds. It's ideal for long distance runners, but if you're a sprinter you might want to look for something heavier.
IronWear Speed Vest
The IronWear Speed vest is not as popular as the Hyperwear one, but still offers a great workout for runners and athletes. It's made specifically for running sports, like track and field, soccer, football and baseball. Also check out or IronWear Speed vest review.
It's made from a breathable polyester mesh material which allows cool air flow through vest. The mesh materials makes it resistant to liquids as well, it's even possible to take it for a swim. It's fully padded and has large open gaps for your arms, allowing for full range of motion.
This weighted running vest comes in two versions, short and long. The shorter version weights 10 pounds while the longer one weighs about 17 pounds. Sadly it's not possible to add any more weights.
Cross 101 Vest
Cross 101 is a "cooler" running weight vest, with a cool paint job and plenty of slots for weights. It has a similar shape to the IronWear but is not as breathable. The best about the Cross 101 is its price, being the cheapest of all three. We have a written review of the Cross 101.
While it's not a completely true running vest, it offers full range of motion and has the ability to hold a lot more weight, 40 pounds to be exact. It comes with ten 4lbs iron weights, so you can easily adjust the weight for your level.
This vest is a one size fits all, it should be comfortable for almost everyone as long as your adjust it properly. But even with it adjusted properly the vest can still rub against your skin when your run, so keep that in mind.
The benefits with a weighted vest for running
Obviously there are huge benefits to this training method, otherwise there wouldn't be as many products out there. There are three major benefits to wearing a weighted vest when running:
- Improved cardio
- Faster Speeds
- Improved skeletal structure
The effects of running or walking with a vest were recently examined in this article.
Running with the vest on will be a real burden, both for you body and your mind. But this is what you want, the body builds strength to hold all that extra weight, when you take the vest off you're suddenly stronger than before.
The cardiovascular benefits
A person weighing 300lbs will have a much harder time when it comes to running, it's because they weigh more. That extra weight puts more pressure on your cardiovascular system, meaning you have to push yourself harder than to ever to go the same distance as your normally do. Now sadly overweight people can't just take those extra pounds off after their workout, we can however. You could say you're tricking the body in a way and thus developing your breathing and oxygen intake.
Increases your running speed
Because of the additional weight, your muscles will have to work twice as hard to perform the same movements as before. But just doing a normal run with the vest on will not give any major benefits to your speed. To become faster you need to do sprints with the vest, getting that speed is all about being as explosive as possible.
Having all that extra load on your body makes your bones thicker, which is great for preventing any potential injuries. The extra weight stimulates your osteoblasts cells, the response from these cells is to create new bone material in order to support the load on your body.
Things to keep in mind
Like always, if there are benefits there are drawbacks. While most of these drawbacks can be avoided by being careful, it's still worth taking a look at potential problems, especially if you're a beginner.
Too much load will alter your running style
One thing to avoid is to use too much weight, running with a weight vest that is too heavy will have negative effects on your running style. You'll find yourself having a lower and shorter stride, and even though you're in a better physical form before, you won't notice any difference in speed or distance.
Potential stress on your joints
This doesn't apply to everyone, but it's worth keeping mind that a weighted vest for running might cause unnecessary stress on your joints and ligaments. To prevent this it's recommended to start slowly, don't put on all the weights at once, instead increase the weight in small increments. A good starting point is 5% of your body weight. If you feel discomfort in knees or other joints after a workout session, you should decrease the amount of weight or just not use the vest at all.