Best Weighted Vests for Training

Aerobic and anaerobic exercises are both challenging and gratifying at the end of the day. However, unless you are hitting the gym, chances are that you will reach a plateau at some point. 

Your body will catch up, get stronger and become faster to a point where your routine no longer presents itself as a challenge. One way to make things interesting again and tap into new gains are weighted vests. 

Today we are going to show you our picks for top 10 best weighted vests for workout/training, discuss what they offer and how to choose the right one.

Top 10 Best Weighted Vests for Workout/Training:

Weighted vests just so happen to be very popular among different echelons of law enforcement and military. One of the most used models in those communities is Brute Force weighted vest. Considering the attitude some members of these communities have towards their gear, you know that Brute Force is doing something right with this piece of kit. As one could expect, these come in Multicam but also in solid colors. 

Aside from their use of 1000D Cordura ballistic nylon, Brute Force weighted vest is unique for another reason. This vest doesn’t come with any weights. There are no cast iron ingots or anything similar to add that artificial resistance to your workout. Instead, Brute Force went with well designed sand pockets. You’re looking at a network of pockets which can accommodate up to 20lb of sand. 

At this point you are probably thinking that there’s nothing special about 20lb of weights. That’s true, but replace sand with shot or other stuff and you can get that weight much higher. Overall, this vest is incredibly durable, very agile and suitable for both men and women. The retention system is great and allows you to establish a very good fit with ease.

CAP’s designs are by far some of the most prolific on the market. Their Barbell series in particular. Most people who explore these vests know about the Barbell but not many know about its short version. CAP offers these in versions that range from 30lb to 50lb, which is a far cry from what the legit Barbell can take. However, keep in mind that this vest also brings forth a bunch of benefits which the full sized model simply doesn’t offer. 

To start things off, it’s designed for optimal range of motion. CAP has ensured this simply by tailoring the vest so that your abdomen is always free. You can bend over, twist and do just about any exercise without feeling impeded in any way. Beneficial design aside, CAP Barbell Short gets you all the goodies we are used to seeing on the full sized model. 

In other words, you’re getting that bulletproof build quality, good materials and a rather balanced weight distribution. There are slots in the front and the back of the vest so that you can always nail that weight equilibrium. With the additional padding it’s by far one of the most comfortable vests on the market.

Mir’s Super Slim AIR Flow adjustable weighted vest is niche design of its own that was mean to cater to those who need absolute comfort. One glance at it reveals just how they have managed to meet those standards. This is a very low profile vest you can wear under clothes without printing. The only drawback is that it is very limited in terms of weight. At 16lbs it is far from the heaviest thing out there. 

However, if you are an endurance runner who goes for longer runs every day, this compromise between weight and comfort may actually be worth it. The weights are fully removable so you can gradually work up to that 16lb figure. Another thing worth mentioning is that fit is very good no matter your gender or body type. You can easily adjust the vest using the provided straps. 

Furthermore, one of the most redeeming features of this design has got to be its ability to breathe. Airflow is something that holds back most weighted vests, but not this one. Mir has achieved good airflow by using mesh fabrics and other methods. All things considered, this is a perfect solution for runners but also beginners.

Next on our list comes another slim model meant for those who value comfort over anything else. Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO is takes on a very low profile approach to weighted vest design. Where most other brands pretty much insist on robust and sometimes too stiff ballistic nylon, Hyperwear went with a very soft and stretchy fabric that morphs with your body.

The weights are smaller than usual and come in form of iron ingots. They are packed both at the front and the back of the vest with each ingot sitting in its own pocket. Hyperwear ships these with 10lbs worth of weights although there is absolutely room for more. This is also one of the true unisex layouts on the market. Fit adjustment is done by using a simple yet comfortable lacing system on each side of the vest.

It’s not as quick to get in and out from because of this, but that is a very small price to pay considering all of the other benefits it has to offer. Another thing that is worth mentioning is the lack of movement during use. It doesn’t shift around which prevents chaffing and guarantees good comfort no matter what.

Compared to the previous few models we have shown you, this one from Titan comes across as crude. There is a good reason for this, though. Titan’s adjustable weighted vest is not meant to be low profile nor was it designed to compromise its load bearing capabilities for comfort. What Titan wanted is a platform that would allow you to truly push yourself to your limits. 

They’ve achieved this by packing up to 60lb of weight into a package that is reasonably priced. This kind of introduction makes it sound like Titan’s adjustable weighted vest is overly crude. That is not the case. Despite its simple appearance and design, Titan’s vest offers a decent amount of comfort. It features padding in all the right places, including shoulder straps. 

This is another one of those unisex designs that will work for men as well as women. The fact that this particular vest uses a very slim waist belt for fit adjustment and retention drives that point home. It is not the perfect option for running as it has the tendency to move around, but it is more than suitable for calisthenics or crossfit. At this price, it’s a steal for sure.

If you are looking for a decent, well rounded setup for your first vest, RUNFast/Max Pro weighted vest is definitely worth looking into. It is a jack of all trades that can work for just about any activity you have in mind. RUNFast went with a very sturdy set of materials as well as hardware. Not only that but they have also used wide straps to lock the entire thing down. 

Once you find your fit, those large overlapping velcro flaps hold everything in place perfectly. This isn’t one of those vests that is flying all over the place as you run. Comfort wise, there probably could have been more padding applied to the shoulder straps although the vest feels perfectly fine when used for a few hours. As far as weight goes, you can choose between 12lb, 20lb, 40lb, 50lb and 60lb versions. 

RUNFast even went so far as to include a media pouch at the top of the vest where you can store all your media devices and other items. Along the same lines there is also a water bottle holder built into one of the velcro flaps. RUNFast adjustable weighted vest is absolutely worth looking into.

Low profile, stealthy weighted vests don’t really get much better than the Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite. They have taken this design and pretty much perfected it in every way possible. It is by far the most unimposing vest you can get right now. However its ability to act as a tight fit shirt rather than a weighted vest is not its only nor its most redeeming feature.

That is reserved for the weights that come with this vest. Most of the models of this type are limited to right around 10lbs. That is not the case with Hyper Vest Elite. This bad boy can carry up to 20 pounds of weights which are distributed over the front and the back of the vest. Again each little iron weight has its own pocket where it fits rather snugly. 

You won’t experience weights shifting around as you exercise. Much like other solutions of this type, Hyperwear went with a simple lacing system for fit adjustment. It is worth mentioning that both the laces and lacing hardware are top notch and won’t give up on you anytime soon. Generally speaking the entire vest is made of durable materials and absolutely does inspires confidence.

Our next pick for this list comes from Mir and represents one of the best short stack weighted vests you can get your hands on right now. Upon a quick glance it may look just like another short vest, but you really have to look closer at this bad boy in order to figure out all of those awesome yet not so obvious details it has to offer. Starting from the top we have a rather comfortable layout. 

Short vests can sometimes be rather uncomfortable because everything is located in such a small area. That’s not the deal with this one. Mir actually went on and took care of all major issues that plague this design in general. There is plenty of padding on the shoulder straps as well as elsewhere. These come in versions of 20lb, 30lb and 50lb, while weights come in form of standard iron bars. 

What truly makes this particular model so special is the fact that you can machine wash it without worrying whether or not it will hold together. There is nothing worse than a vest that has been accumulating sweat for days. Sometimes you just need that fresh start and clean workout gear.

Getting a weighted vest on a budget often times seems like a mission impossible scenario. In reality it’s far from it. Models such as Aduro Sport Weighted Vest are marketed as unisex, but they generally work much better with female physiology, especially if you are curvy. One quick look at this rig will tell you that it is no ordinary weighted vest. 

There are no metal ingots, no pouches to add more. Aduro took a whole different approach with this model. It’s a fixed weight vest that comes in a few different versions. You can get a 4lb, a 6lb and then a much heavier 25lb version. The entire vest is laid out in a very minimalist way. It consists of a set of shoulder straps which are connected to the main load bearing element in the back. 

The whole thing is made of neoprene and has weights implanted across the entire structure. Securing the vest is easy thanks to two sternum straps which are adjustable. They were kind enough to put protective pads underneath those two buckles so that they are not rubbing against your chest during use. Overall the comfort is on point and so is the versatility.

Mir is one of the few brands out there who offer dedicated solutions for women. That isn’t to say that the market isn’t full of unisex models which work great for women. However, when something is custom tailored for a specific application, it is generally going to be much better at it. Mir Womens adjustable weighted vest is their take on a standard rig but adjusted for female physiology. 

That translates to the center of mess being pushed down towards he abdomen, thus leaving the chest area relatively free. The build quality and materials used are great. The vest only inspires confidence but it simply delivers day in, day out. One of the absolute best things about this model is the weight it offers. Most weighted vests designed for women are light in nature. 

You will rarely see them go past 20lbs. This setup offers anything from 10lb to 50lb in 10lb increments. Additionally, you can customize each of these versions with additional iron ingots in 3lb increments. As usual, Mir has added padding in all the right places which makes this a rather comfortable vest. Fit is adjusted using the velcro waist belt system and it works rather well.

Category Breakdown

Weighted Vests For Crossfit

Crossfit is one of those activities that has gotten many interested into fitness. This whole idea relies on plenty of compound movements and exercises which you don’t often see in other disciplines so to speak.

It is exactly this diversity that makes crossfit the perfect environment for use of weighted vests. Not only can you can target your muscles much more efficiently, but you can actually focus on aerobic or anaerobic part of your routine, or both if you wish to.

Weighted Vests For Running

Running is one of those activities that is really limited when it comes to implementing new challenges. Sure, you can run up hill but that gets you only so far in terms of increased resistance. When you put on a weighted vest, you don’t have to chase hills and crazy inclines to get a workout done.

Instead, you can get a constant new level of resistance that you can control. Weighted vests intended for running are generally lighter and fairly low profile compared to some of the other designs out there.

Weighted Vests For Calisthenics

Calisthenics have perfected the body weight approach to fitness to a point where it has become a form of art. Body weight exercises have traditionally been suitable for application of artificial weights.

Once you master calisthenics, adding some weight is only a logical progression that will yield new thresholds for you to reach. Vests suitable for this activity tend to allow for unimpeded movement and great range of motion.

Weight progressions is an important aspect though, which is why you will see heavier vests with more capacity.

Weighted Vests For Women

Most weighted vests these days are marketed as unisex and while most of them work for men, not all of them work for women. Because of the uniqueness of women’s physiology, niche solutions were pretty much required. There are plenty of brands out there who produce vests designed specifically for women.

These range in size and weight, but all of them generally offer great levels of comfort regardless of your size and shape. If you’re a woman that can use one of the numerous unisex models, more power to you. However, if those have proven to be uncomfortable, you can always turn to these niche models.

Word of Caution

Before we get into weighted vests, how to choose one and all that good stuff, we need to put out a small disclaimer of sorts. Weighted vests are designed and tailored for users who have reached a certain level of physical fitness. 

If you are a just starting on this path, make sure that your body can handle the additional weight. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself.

How To Choose The Right Weighted Vest For Your Needs?

Intended Use

Not all weighted vests are created equal. If you take a gander at our list up there, you will undoubtedly notice that they come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes and formats. There is a good reason for that. 

Every activity comes with its own set of requirements when it comes to vest design, weights, materials and so on. That means that figuring out the main use for the vest itself is the number one item on your to-do list. With all that said, there is some room for error. 

For example, if you are interested in pure calisthenics or crossfit, you can’t really go wrong with most vests on the market. These activities are very forgiving when it comes to range of motion and other factors. 

On the other hand, if you are looking to get something that will make endurance running more challenging, the situation changes considerably.

Finding The Right Weight

Weights are arguable the most important aspect of any weighted vest. Without them you are just looking at an overpriced piece of nylon fabric. The situation here is fairly straightforward. You have two options. There are adjustable weights and fixed weights.

Adjustable Weight Vests

These are arguably the most common type of weighted vests out there. The idea is that you can add weights or remove them in a way that caters to your workout routine. Because agility and flexibility of use is at the very core of this design, most of these vests are utilizing iron ingots to manage weight. 

Depending on the brand and the type of vest you choose, said ingots will weight anywhere from 3lb to 5lb. One important thing to remember is the weight distribution, especially with heavier loads. Always make sure that your vest is as balanced as it can be in order to avoid injury or discomfort. 

Aside from ingot type adjustable weight vests, you will also find models which are designed to work with alternative sources of weight. The most common alternative material is usually sand. 

The thing about these types of vests is that you can use pretty much anything. There’s plenty of people who use birdshot or even buckshot bearings.

Fixed Weight Vests

The alternative to adjustable weight models are fixed weight vests. As you can probably tell on your own, you can’t add or remove any weight from these. They are lighter on average and designed mainly for beginners and those who have a casual approach to fitness. 

These are popular among runners due to their low weights and incredibly simple nature. The thing that mostly differentiates fixed weight vests is the layout and materials from which they are made of. Fixed designs tend to be more rigid, made usually from neoprene and quite minimalistic in nature. 

The reason why they are so popular among runners is because they don’t impede your range of motion. For the most part you won’t even notice that you are wearing one.

Full Size or Short Stack Vests

The most common designs available on the market right now are the so called full sized and short stack vests. Both of these fall into the adjustable category. The main difference between them is the layout of weights. 

Full sized rigs offer weight distribution along the entire front and the back of the vest. These panels cover the entire torso including the abdomen. The issue here is that such large panels tend to impede your ability to bend over and flex in the waist area. 

That is why there are short stack vests. These are designed to leave the abdomen free of any panels while concentrating all of the weight in the chest area and the corresponding area of the back. 

Which one you’ll use comes down to your routine, exercises you are planing on performing and similar requirements. At the end of the day both designs tend to carry the same or nearly the same amount of weight.

Additional Features

Despite their relatively rugged nature, weighted vests also come with features which are designed for convenience rather than function. The features we are talking about include reflective surfaces which are a great thing to have at night, media pouches designed to store your electronics and other accessories, as well as bottle holders and such. 

Whether or not these are important to you is a subjective thing. Some users like the extra convenience while others never use these features. No matter what your stance is on this, we think that you should definitely add this area of design into your decision making process.

Why Not Just Use Plate Carriers

There is a growing trend mainly among the crossfit folk where they go out and buy combat plate carriers and use them instead of weighted vests. This started within the military community among people who already own that type of equipment and who insist on training the way they fight. 

From their point of view it makes plenty of sense to load a plate carrier with ESAPI plates and train your guts off. However, if you’re a civilian who just wants to experience the effect of added weight, combat plate carriers are the most inefficient choice you can go with. 

Even the simplest weighted vest will outperform any carrier setup you can come up with. Not only will you be able to pack more weight but that weight is going to be well balanced and perfectly stabilized within the vest itself. The same cannot be said about an average plate carrier.

The Verdict

At the end of the day weighted vests are a true force multiplier for those who want to push themselves to that next level. We have listed our top picks which include some of the best models from a wide variety of categories. The idea was to give you a cross section of the market and show you what’s available out there. 

Some of these models are quite affordable, some aren’t. Either way it is important to find the model that best fits your intended use and your weight requirements. All of our picks listed above have proven track records.

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