Weight Vest Training for Runners
Benefits for training using resistance wear weight vest include:
- Supercharged core workout, while also working and strengthening other body parts. Don’t forget about your upper body, put your vest on and your triceps and biceps get a workout with your core too.
- Training with your weight vest will also reduce the chances of injury by doing exercises that your body was designed to do like running…. just add weight!
- Increased stamina and resistance, simply by doing your regular running routine, your times will improve as well.
Even if you are not a professional athlete, you can still get the benefits from using a weight vest. Simply doing your normal daily activities using one will increase your calorie burn, it can also increase the intensity of your walking/jogging activities which would normally be easy and help you to build stronger muscles and bones.
Adding a weight vest to your training regimen will increase your endurance and will help raise your VO2 Max. Additionally, you’ll raise your lactate threshold by working your muscles harder than they’ve been worked before. Weight vests are designed with your running training in mind. Getting out of the pack fast or finishing a race with a final sprint toward the finish can make or break your race.
A weighted vest is a device used by exercisers to make workouts more challenging. Weight vests are available in a variety of styles, but most are made of strong nylon, held in place with elastic velcro straps and are weight-adjustable by adding or removing sand packets or metal/lead weight. Weighted vests can be used for a variety of workouts, including walking, calisthenic exercises and running.
When it comes to performance, research has shown that using this type of extra load during sprinting or speed work requires your lower-body muscles to generate more force against the ground, and can lead to improvements in strength, power, and acceleration during running, as well as increased strength and efficiency during speed, power, and agility drills.
While a weighted vest is great for building your strength and cardio system up, you want to make sure you are not packing too much weight into the vest, and about to cause an injury to yourself. If too heavy, you could do your knee in, or get a stress fracture. An ideal target to start with is 5% of your total body weight, so if you weigh 100kg, 5kg is the starting point for your vest. It is easy enough to add more weight as you gain strength, whereas you do not want to cause issues by loading up too fast there.
Take your vest in the car with you if you are about to head out for a walk on a local track, it will add a lot more to your hike, and at the end of it, when you take your vest off, you will feel like you have just done a lot more than you actually have, and you will be walking on feathers.
- 2 minute jog
- 10 push-ups
- 10 squats
- 10 lunges
Just go out and give them a shot, remember to follow the guideline about how much weight to start with, as you don’t want to make it impossible to do the activities.
The weight loss factor of weight vests occurs through the burning of calories. This is especially seen when cardio workouts are performed with the weight vest on. Running is already hard enough on its own, so putting on an extra-heavy weight vest will only enhance the effects of this cardio workout. The theory behind the weight vest helping you to lose weight is that it intensifies the aerobic workout. With the increased intensity of the workout comes a proportional increase in the amount of calories that you are burning while wearing the weight vest. If the desired effect of running with a weight vest is to enhance the amount of calories you burn, then that increase will occur.
- If you decide to try using a vest, wear it as much as possible during your daily routine. Wearing a vest only for workouts may not provide enough stimulation of fast-twitch muscle fibers.
- Wear the weighted vest during some, but not all, of your training sessions. The vest actually slows your average speed during training, so constant use would eventually teach your muscles to work at a slower rate.
- Don’t try to substitute hand weights for a vest. Hand weights may slightly increase your oxygen consumption, but they won’t do anything for your leg muscles or increase your max V02 to any significant degree.
- Don’t attach weights to your ankles. The extra poundage could cause injuries and may wreck your running economy.
I have personally be using my weight vest on and off for about 6 months, I would say honestly more off than on, but when I do wear it, I really do find the workout intensity does increase big time. Where a 8km walk on the flat would be just a nice simple walk, chuck the vest on, and you can feel it in your legs, you will get the heart pumping, and at the end when you take it off, you will feel like walking on feathers – it is a nice feeling. Now if you do that enough, you surely have to be building up your endurance and muscles as well, so when you go for a run your legs will be in great condition.
If you are looking for a weight vest in New Zealand, and want a good quality one, I would recommend trying Hart Sport, I have one and love the quality and feel of it. I have tried “cheap” ones and they are just that, cheap.