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Training with a Weighted Vest

I remember this workout like it was yesterday. This picture was taken in Madison, WI at the 2017 Games mid workout.

The workout was called the Vest Triplet:

4 rounds, wearing a vest:

400m run

24 squats

12 burpee box jump overs

It was warm out, and I was weighing in around 217lbs at this time, so with a 20lb vest I was 237lb. There was no pacing, it was just go!

Training with a vest is no joke. I program some workouts to be done with a vest for the competitors on my program, and this adds another level of challenge to the workouts. I only do this for more advanced athletes because I know that they’ve mastered the basics and they’re ready to add in the extra load.

Right off the bat wearing a vest spikes your heart rate higher than if you weren’t wearing a vest. The vest also loads directly to your shoulders and upper body, which directly taxes your respiratory muscles (the diaphragm and deep intercostals). Learning to stay calm when you can’t breathe normally can become an exercise in improving autonomic nervous function and learning how to counter that fight or flight response.

If you’re just starting out with a weighted vest, wear one on a walk or a jog and learn how your body reacts to having it on. Once you get used to it, we can start to think about adding in different movements.

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