Why wear a weight vest while training?

So...should you? I know I see athletes wearing them all the of the time. I feel like the weighted vest gained extreme popularity after they were introduced into the Crossfit games. To be honest I feel like 5.11 producing them made them even MORE popular. Not going to lie I went out and bought one...and I still use it.

So what would be the benefits of wearing a weighted vest during my workouts be? Let me throw you a little insight and you can make the decision yourself.


-Increased endurance and strength.

Wearing a weighted vest during a workout...even just a body weight workout or run can force your body to take in more oxygen. Why would it do that? The weighted vest is now forcing your body to put out more effort. Think about extra 20 pounds is a lot when you've already adapted to your own body weight. Think of it this way...The more weight...The more muscles your body is using to move that weight.

-Another tool in the tool box.

As first responders we hear that phrase a lot. But seriously...think of it that way. We wear a vest on shift every single day. Whether it is a load bearing vest (think of the outer vests most agencies are moving to) or just the hot box you wear under your shirt every wear one.

The weight vest for workouts will help your body adjust to new and more specific movements that your body will have to make while wearing it. This is good muscle memory in the field.

-That dreaded Cardio.

Wearing extra weight while performing your normal gym activities can help to increase your cardio over time. The increased weight will force an increased heart rate that causes your cardiovascular system to go into overdrive. The newfound resistance will be an initial shock (like any new workout we try). The new resistance over time with added movements will strengthen your heart and lungs giving your body the ability to consume more oxygen....BOOM improved cardio.

-Helps burn fat.

Ladies I'm going to be honest if someone tells me I can burn more fat doing something there is a 110% ill probably try it once. In all seriousness tho...adding a weight vest to workouts, which makes your body work harder to perform the tasks you're asking it to do, will improve fat loss. However...its not magic. It will require hard work and consistency.

-Improved core strength.

I can hear my coach now "KEEP YOUR CORE TIGHT". The added weight will force you to keep that core tight!!! To be honest if you can't you need to do a few things, starting with lessening the vest weight or ditching the vest all together until your core is ready. Looking cool in a tac vest while working out isn't worth an injury.

CONS (because they exist)

The biggest con to this is going to be the potential for injury. If you're not cognizant of what your body is capable of/not capable anything could get hurt. The added weight is going to strain your joints. If you have bad joints...maybe consult someone that knows more than we do before adding the weight to your workouts.

Other cons: chafing (ew), muscle knots in the upper back, shoulder pain, and as I found out the hard way...get hit in the dome with the vest while running because you didn't tighten it down enough.

So with ALL of that being said the added weight vest for training could do us a lot of good. If done properly. I encourage my SWAT mates to train in a vest. I will also encourage all of field mates to train with a vest...You wear one on shift anyway. Getting your body in sync with the movements and extra muscles required to move is going to benefit you in the long run.

Now days there are TONS of weighted workout vests on the market. Personally I am not a fan of the loose fitting velcro vests with the tiny weights that you add and remove. In my experience they don't last if you use them on a regular basis.

PERSONALLY I use the 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier (just like the ones you saw at the Crossfit Games). Ive own this sucker for about 3 years and (besides the occasional sweat stain and smell you gotta wash out of it) It looks like the day I bought it. This carrier (no plates) retails at $199.99. Can you get it cheaper...sure but you have to do a little shopping around and be a little patient.

I did purchase the Rogue brand plates for my vest. My plates equal 20lbs total. Rogue now gives you Individual plate weight options starting at 3.75 lbs, 5.75 lbs, and 8.75 lbs for laser cut OR 5.75 lbs, 8.75 lbs, and 13.75lbs for cast. Prices range from $36 up to $100 each depending on weight.

There are now several companies that sell weighted vest carriers and plates for tactical athletes. As I shopped around the other day for comparisons I found that Condor has an affordable carrier option ($50) and Brute Force Training now has a comparable option ($100). Most vests now have plates that can be switched between them but most do state that they are compatible with Rogue vest plates.

If you need help with some workouts or different ways to incorporate your vest into your workouts please comment or shoot me an email

Don't forget you can find a daily workout in the IG stores at @lozentactical

Feel free to shoot me any questions and I hope this was helpful!

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