- Weighted Vests: Get More Out of What You Do
- Best Weighted Vest Quiz
- In Depth Weighted Vest Reviews
- 1.) RDX Adjustable Weighted Vest
- 2.) Perfect Fit Weighted Vest
- 3.) Empire Women’s Weighted Fitness Vest
- 4.) CROSS101 Adjustable Camouflage Weighted Vest
- 5.) CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest
- ListofFit Best Pick: CROSS101 Adjustable Weighted Vest
- Factors Considered in Best Weighted Vest Ratings
- Why Selecting a Quality Weighted Vest Matters
- 5 Awesome Exercises That Are Even Better With a Weighted Vest
Weighted Vests: Get More Out of What You Do
Within the last decade there has been a marked increase in the interest of weighted vests. Exercise programs such as Crossfit and Beachbody’s Insanity have been major hits in the fitness world and often focus on whole body movements and using one’s own body weight to produce big fitness results. For some more advanced fitness buffs, the weighted vest adds a whole new layer to this type of workout and is an easy way to add weight to your workout to produce faster results. With a great weighted vest you can easily make each push-up, pull-up, plank, jump rope, sparring session, and sprint more intense. Heck, research shows that even just doing your regular daily activities with a weighted vest will show a significant increase in your athletic performance (we don’t necessarily recommend this as the same study also showed that just using a weighted vest during exercise will suffice). The research also advises that when working out with a weighted vest you will see a real benefit by adding just 5-10% of your body weight for 50% of your training sessions. The moral to that lesson is that you don’t need to pack on an extra 50 pounds to get the results you are looking for. Other research also shows that when used by older women weighted vests can lower the incidence of falling episodes.
As we’ve shown here a weighted vest can be a crucial component to many workout plans that focus on differing goals. Whether you are an Olympic hopeful, a Crossfit junkie, or just trying to build a little strength to avoid another fall, the weighted vest is a useful tool in each scenario. Below we have selected five of the best weighted vests that money can buy. Be sure to consider the weight ranges that each vest provides and consider what your primary purpose is for buying a weighted vest.
P.S.- As an added bonus to this article we’ve included five exercises that are even better with a weighted vest! Either click on the link or scroll to the bottom of this article. Be sure to check out the slides and the corresponding videos for instruction on how to properly execute each exercise.
- Weight Options: 14kg or 18kg
- Price: ~$85
- Best Use: CrossFit, Running, Strength Training
- Pro: Best looking weighted vest in the list and comes in many different color options.
- Con: Only comes in two weight options: 14kg and 18kg
- Weight Options: 20 lbs. and 40 lbs.
- Price: ~$50
- Best Use: Strength Training
- Pros: Flat flexible weights that move with you throughout your workout
- Con: Stability can be an issue when attempting to run in the Perfect Fit Vest
- Weight Options: 8 lbs.
- Price: ~$34
- Best Use: Running, Cardio
- Pros: Designed to fit a woman's body snug allowing for walking and running
- Con: Lightweight options may not suite fitness buffs who want a bigger challenge
- Weight Options: 20 lbs, 40 lbs, 50 lbs, 60 lbs, 70 lbs, 80 lbs, 100 lbs, 120 lbs, 140 lbs
- Price: ~$30-$250
- Best Use: Strength Training, CrossFit
- Pros: Large range in weight options, build quality of this weighted vest is heavy duty
- Con: Depending on the size vest you purchase the Cross101 can feel a bit bulky which can limit range of motion for some users
- Weight Options: 20 lbs, 40 lbs, 50 lbs, 60 lbs, 70 lbs, 80 lbs, 100 lbs, 120 lbs, 150 lbs
- Price: ~$53-$220
- Best Use: Strength Training, CrossFit, Hiking
- Pros: A quality standard weighted vest that offers solid build quality and functionality
- Con: Fit for some users will be an issue due to the one size fits all sizing
Use our quiz to determine which weighted vest best suites your needs.
In Depth Weighted Vest Reviews
RDX’s weighted vest has some really cool features that will keep the weight stable throughout your torso while keeping you from overheating. The RDX weighted vest includes a wicking fabric that keeps the sweat off of you while keeping the weight close to your core. Two velcro straps, one over the chest and one on the lower abdomen, keep the weight in place evenly during workouts. While not speaking of performance, the RDX is hands-down the best looking weighted vest we’ve seen so you will look cool wearing it.
Currently, the price for one of these vests on Amazon is a steep $86. We’ve seen this price jump around from a low of $55 not long ago. Either way, the RDX Adjustable Weighted Vest is quite expensive, especially when you consider some of the other quality vest options on this list for less.
These RDX Weighted Vests indeed do a nice job at sticking close to your body due to the flex panels that allow the weights in the vest to move with you as you do different exercises. On the negative side of things, the RDX weighted vest is one size fits all so this vest will fit better for certain users. If you are a smaller person then you may find the vest does not contour to your body in the same way it did for our testers. The vest comes in two size weights: 8-14kgs and 10-18kgs. Compared to some other weighted vests on our list the adjustability in weight is not great.
The Perfect Fit Weighted Vest is the most road-ready weighted vest we tested as it features a highly reflective cover that ensures you’ll be seen during your next run. The vest uses weights that are flat and flexible allowing the vest to move with you through varying exercises. Perfect Fit Weighted Vest comes with a single lower abdomen heavy-duty velcro strap that works to secure the weights to the user. The weights are removable allowing users to adjust the amount of weight for the vest depending on the workout they are doing.
Perfect Fit does not come in at the top in terms of value. The 20 pound vest is currently priced around the $60 price point, while the 40 pound option will cost you over $90. The vest is high quality which does make it a better value than it would be otherwise, however, compared to other options such as the CAP Barbell Weighted Vest it is hard to justify the price of the Perfect Fit Vest.
The Perfect Fit falls into the same trap as the RDX Weighted Vest in that both only offer a one size fits all option, which as we discussed previously can be a problem for certain users who may be smaller or larger than most people. The single velcro strap does a good job overall keeping the vest in place but does allow for the upper body to feel a bit loose, and users have commented about the fact that the vest can become uncomfortable after prolonged use. Due to this we do not recommend this weighted vest for those looking for one to use while doing daily activities. Having the adjustability in the weights is nice and adds flexibility to the workouts you can do while implementing the vest.
Empire Women’s Weighted Fitness Vest is a bit different from the other weighted vests that we reviewed, but due to its quality and uniqueness it finds its way into our top five. We like the actual plastic clips that help to tighten and secure the vest as opposed to the velcro straps. The “X” shaped design helps to spread out the vest’s weight more evenly so that you will not tire after using it for long periods. This thing even has a pocket that you can use to store things like your keys or cell phone. Empire’s weighted vest fabric is a mixture of both lycra and spandex which makes it flex and keeps it soft during wear.
The Empower Women’s Weighted Fitness Vest comes in at a price around $35. This is cheaper than most of the other weighted vests that are available from our reviews, but that does not tell the whole story. For one, obviously this weighted vest only has 8 pounds of weight compared to most others that start at 20 pounds. We still view this vest as a decent value due to the uniqueness of the design and the quality materials that the vest is made from.
Due to the design of the Empower Women’s Weighted Vest the weight stays in place and it is very comfortable to wear long term. This is a great choice for those who are looking for a low weight vest that can easily be worn during your daily chores and activities. As the title of the product states, this is a product designed for women so fellas will likely find this product fits too snug due to their larger frame. A weakness for us is that the weight is non-adjustable which means that if 8 pounds is too heavy for you, you are out of luck.
CROSS 101 Adjustable Camouflage Weight Vest is made of a cool, durable camouflage material that lasts after prolonged usage. Testers commented that this vest exceeded expectations as far as build quality and comfort making it a great choice to use for both strength training and every day activities. The camouflage received mixed reviews. This is the only weighted vest where you have the option to pay a little more for shoulder pads that enhance cushioning.
This weight vest is by far the best value on our list. For a small comparison, the 20 pound Perfect Fitness vest is $60, while the comparable CROSS101 20 pound weighted vest is at the time of this article $37 with the optional shoulder pads. The truth is that there is nothing about the Perfect Fitness vest that would justify such a large price difference between these two products. If you are a budget conscious buyer then look no further than this weighted vest right here. Lastly, this vest comes with a one year warranty so you can buy with confidence.
As we mentioned our testers indicated that this CROSS101 Weighted Vest is well built and performs well during exercises and daily activities alike. A big strength for this vest is that it comes in nine different weight options that range from 20 pounds all the way up to a massive 140 pounds. This allows for this vest to meet the needs of many different users. The velcro strap is very similar to the Perfect Fit’s strap, and we would like to see a second smaller strap across the top to help with stability during running and other cardio. We do recommend investing in the shoulder pads if you plan to do prolonged exercises with this vest as not having them did cause some discomfort for our users.
The actual cover material of this weighted vest is quite good and comparable to many other options that are on this list. However, this vest does have some design weaknesses that are worth noting. The velcro strap is the poorest out of the five weighted vests that we reviewed in this article, and depends on a d-ring for tightening, which may cause chafing for larger users. We do love the eight different weight options that are available for the CAP Barbell Weighted Vest. Neoprene padding is included to offer greater comfort during hardcore workouts.
The CAP Barbell vest is a good value and one of the more affordable options in our best weighted vest list. The 40 pound option will set you back about $55. This is certainly affordable, but not the value that is provided by the CROSS101 vest. Overall, we would consider the CAP Barbell Weighted Vest to be an above average value.
There is nothing inherently bad about the performance of the CAP Barbell Weighted Vest, but it does not stand out in any specific area we measured. Testers did mention that this vest did become uncomfortable after time and would benefit from greater shoulder padding. Overall, the vest will stay on your chest well, but due to the lack of a second velcro strap the weights move more than we prefer. As with other weighted vests we’ve reviewed, the one size fits all will work better for certain body shapes. The CAP Barbell Vest comes in a 150 pound option, making it one of the heaviest weighted vests that money can buy. So, if you are insane or Mr. Olympia, we may have found the weighted vest for you.
ListofFit Best Pick: CROSS101 Adjustable Weighted Vest
When researching the best weighted vest we wanted to find the vest that had the perfect balance of high quality, affordability, and good performance in a lot of different workout situations. The CROSS101 does all of these things well and that is why it won for both our best pick and best value awards. All the other weighted vests that we tested are great choices, but each had their own individual weakness that kept it from the top spot. The RDX was too pricey, the Empower Women’s Vest just does not meet the needs of most buyers, and the CAP Barbell has some minor design flaws. We love that the CROSS101 Weighted Vest has the option for shoulder pads for a small extra cost, as this can make a big difference in comfort. They also did a nice job by offering a large number of weight options so that almost anyone can find a CROSS101 that will fit their needs. We do hope that in the future CROSS101 will consider more neutral color options as some users did not love the camouflage outer. Overall, the CROSS101 Weighted Vest will get the job done exercise after exercise, workout after workout.
For those into Crossfit and functional fitness in general, be sure to check out our best kettlebell article which also features a CAP product.
Factors Considered in Best Weighted Vest Ratings
Weighted vests need to have heavy duty materials that are able to withstand the punishment of quick movements while keeping the weights secured. We also looked for vests that offered a strong strap mechanism that would keep the weights firm without moving around too much which can cause discomfort. Padding is another crucial component to quality weighted vests, especially when used for prolonged cardio-based activities such as running and jumping rope.
At ListofFit we look at value as a combination between affordability and quality. Just because something is cheap does not make it a good value if it is a steaming pile of cow poo. We closely compared prices of the vests and their quality to determine which were better value options.
The most important factor of our weighted vest reviews is the performance of each vest. We feel most weighted vest buyers would be happier paying a premium for a quality vest than getting a low cost product that is very uncomfortable and falls apart quickly. We looked to see how much the weights moved during workouts as well as how comfortable the vest was during different types of exercises. Both strength training and cardio workouts were considered in our performance ratings.
Why Selecting a Quality Weighted Vest Matters
Picture yourself running with two different weighted vests. The first weighted vest is quality made, durable, and feels like an extension of your body with minimal movement and a snug fit. The second vest seems to be breaking at the seams, weight jostles around as you run, and your arm pits are chafing because of this excess movement. From this description alone you can see why it matters that you pick a quality weighted vest. With the wrong vest for your body and needs you might find yourself very uncomfortable wearing the vest, which could easily turn into the vest not getting used at all as part of your workout regimen. By picking the right vest you’ll avoid these problems and develop a positive relationship with your weighted vest, and respect its power to deliver fitness results.
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5 Awesome Exercises That Are Even Better With a Weighted Vest
Running with a weighted vest adds greater intensity to your workout. The weight from the vest will increase the load on your legs which will help to build strength faster. Be sure to select a weighted vest that will conform to your body and not bounce around too much if you plan to run with it on.
2. Box Jumps
Box jumps are certainly difficult on their own, but they are enhanced even more by using a weighted vest. Consider using a lower box if you use a weighted vest as you won't be able to jump as high due to the added weight.
3. The Plank
The plank is a great exercise that works your core, abs, arms, and obliques. Using a weighted vest when doing the plank will add more resistance. Be sure to continue to do the exercise correctly with good posture.
One of the classics, the pushup has been a staple of physical fitness for many decades. This great exercise generally uses your body weight to build core and arm strength. With the weighted vest you can kick up the intensity of your pushups building greater strength with less reps.
5. Jump Rope
Jump rope is one of the most underrated cardio exercises there is today. It will certainly get the blood pumping and before you know it you are hoofing and puffing. With a weighted vest jump rope becomes even more challenging. Do 20-30 second sets with the weighted vest so that you do not become too fatigued and risk injury.