Ryan Shephard DO: To Weight Vest or Not to Weight Vest
Ryan Shephard DO on the Merits and Drawbacks of Weight Vest Training
You may have seen someone out there getting after it particularly hard, wearing a weight vest that adds extra poundage to their workload, just to get a better workout.
If not, keep a lookout. They may look like vigilantes wearing protective gear, but, really, they’re just runners and cross trainers trying to get faster and get stronger.
Below Ryan Shephard DO discusses the benefits and drawbacks of using a weight vest in your training regiment.
Benefit: Weight Vests Make You Stronger and Faster
Generally, with weight vests, you can add as little as 3-5 pounds and as much as 50-100 pounds, which will certainly add intensity to your training routine. If you do body squats, pull ups, push-ups, and run and hike with your weight vest, you’ll find your normal, resting rate of speed and strength will increase substantially.
Drawback: They’re Hard on Your Spine
Weight vests will always add strain on your body — your back and joints especially. It’s best to purchase a weight vest that fits snugly, so the weights aren’t bouncing around. You want the weight to stay snug against your body. Try not to run crazy long distances with the weight vest. Do sprint intervals and go on longer hikes with the weight vest to minimize wear and tear on your spine and joints that come along with long distance running. Make sure you also incorporate stretching, yoga, and maybe even a trip to the chiropractor or massage therapist here and there to supplement your weight vest training.
Benefit: Weight Vests Increase Endurance and Boost Cardio
The weight vest makes you work harder to do the same things you normally do without wearing the weight vest. This will drastically increase endurance and bring your cardio to new levels. You’ll be smoking your old mile times and less winded in doing so.
Drawback: Weight Vests Vary in Quality
A run of the mill weight vests at Big 5, for instance, might not even last you one training session, while other weight vests will last you the rest of your life. We recommend the MIR Weight Vests, which have metal weights you can add as needed. Start with low weight and gradually build yourself up.
Ryan Shephard DO is here to help people live more active lifestyles. Weight vests are a great tool for getting after it, but just make sure that you don’t push your body further than it can go.