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 best weighted vest for running in 2018 but also the benefits of using them.
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, make sure to check out our Hyper Vest Pro review, in case you’re interested in something more in-depth. The Hyperwear is quite expensive, but also what most people would consider as the best weighted vest for running.
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.
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 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 also have a Cross101 Weighted Vest review if you want to know more.
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.
As you probably noticed by now, the vests on this list are a little different than the “average” vest. Because these are weight training vests for running, they are all slimmer and less heavy. That is especially the case for the HumanX vest. It has a nice tight fit, but not so tight that you cannot breath. It feels good on the body when you run, it doesn’t jump around at all. Even big guys will have an easy time running and jumping with the vest without feeling like they’re being squeezed to death.
It’s possible to adjust the weight from 1 up 20 pounds, which makes it a great introductory weighted running vest. There’s plenty of room for progress in other words! The weights are developed using a patented technology that allows them to go along with the shape of your body. A lot of the cheaper vests out there have “static” weights which usually press into your body if you’re doing mobility exercises.
Does this running vest sound something you’d like to try? Make sure to read our in-depth HumanX weight vest review for more info.
This weighted running vest might not look like much to the world, but it’s actually a decent vest that does the job without being compromises. It comes with twenty individual weights, making it possible to vary the weight from 1 lb up to 20 lb. So this one is also a great choice if you’re just starting out with weighted vest cardio. The weights themselves are flexible which allows for maximum comfort while still giving you plenty of resistance. As if that wasn’t enough comfort, they’ve padded the shoulders and made the fabric breathable.
Some users have however reported that the vest does bounce a little while running but I can almost guarantee this is due to user error. I mean, it’s not really rocket science. Just make sure to tighten it enough and you should be fine.
Don’t forget to check out our review of this vest!
The benefits with a weighted vest for running
Obviously there are huge benefits to running with weights, 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
If you want to know more about the effects a weighted running vest has on the body, we can highly recommend taking a closer look at this journal. It’s a scientific study that goes in depth, if you have the time you should definitely read it.
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. I have personally been running for a very long time but it wasn’t up until recently that I discovered the true benefits of jogging with a weight vest. The cool thing about this whole method of training is that you don’t need a lot of weight to notice the results, as little as 10 pounds will challenge you greatly.
The cardiovascular benefits
A person weighing 300 lbs 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.
How to choose the right weighted vest for running
With hundreds of different weighted vests for jogging it can be tough to choose the right vest for you. Down below you’ll find three key things to look for.
While most vests these days come in a fit that fits almost everyone, there are of course models that offer a better fit for different body types. If you’re a woman with large breasts a traditional running vest can be quite cumbersome to wear, if that’s the case we recommend buying a model that is “open”.
Some models can also only be put on over the head while other models can be taken on like a regular jacket, over the shoulders. Make sure to check for all these things when you a buy a weighted running vest.
Obviously the most important part, without any weights you will not be getting any resistance. But how much resistance should you aim for? Well that is mostly up to you, but if you’re looking for advice I’d suggest to stick with 20 lb vests if you’re doing long distance running. While it might not be the heaviest, it does offer plenty of resistance and doesn’t destroy your joints. Running for longer periods of time with too much weight can cause long term damage, keep that in mind.
If you’re more of a sprinter and looking to boost your explosiveness you can of course go with a heavier vest. One thing to keep in mind is that the heavier you go, the bulkier and less comfortable the vest will be. There are slim and flexible running vests up to 40 pounds, after that you’re looking at much stiffer models which are not at all suited for running, sprinting or jogging.
Another very important aspect when it comes to weight jackets for running, if you’re not comfortable while running chances are you will get demotivated quickly and ditch the weight harness after a couple of training sessions. Luckily for you we’ve only included running harnesses that we know are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. If you decide to choose with something we haven’t recommend, make sure to read reviews to see if people find it comfortable to wear. Very often you’ll find that the seams will dig into your skin and cause a rash, can you imagine getting a rash 10 miles into your run?
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.
Running with weights – Do it right
You might think it’s as easy as putting on the weighted running vest and go for a jog, but in reality there are several things you have to keep in mind.. If you want to stay injury free that is. Down below we have linked a great video that explains how to do it right.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can I wear vests for activities other than running or jogging?
Answer: Of course, other uses include hiking, walking, calisthenics and much more. Some even use these kinds of vests for children with autism.
Question: Why should I use a weight vest for running?
Answer: To increase stamina, build thicker bones, grow bigger, become more explosive and so on. If you want to progress to the next level, definitely go with a running vest.
Question: Do these vests come in different sizes?
Answer: Generally speaking most weighted harnesses for running come in one size. Luckily the majority have a strap which makes it easy to adjust the fit. There are also some vests made specifically for women.
Question: What’s a good starting weight?
Answer: This depends on your current fitness level. If you’re an avid runner that can easily run 10 miles without any troubles, you can go for something heavier. If you’re just starting out however, you will do just fine with something light. Most beginners do not even need a vest when they’re first starting out.
Question: Why are the so darn expensive?
Answer: Considering what you’re getting for the price, most of the weighted running vests are actually decently priced. I don’t recommend skimping on quality just to get something cheaper. A cheap weighted vest for running might save you some money, but you will quickly realize that it’s not comfortable and that the seam will start to fray very quickly.
Question: Can’t I just use any type of vest for running?
Answer: Yes, you can. But I have to stress that weight jackets that are made specifically made for running exist for a reason.