The popularity of weighted vests as a resistance training tool has grown tremendously. Even though we don’t have conclusive evidence, training with a weighted vest might improve your speed. However, you only improve speed if you use it for training but run without it on a racing day.
How Does A Weighted Vest Improve Speed?
If you use a weighted vest when training, your body exerts extra force to run. So when you remove your vest after getting used to wearing it, your running speed increases as the body keeps on exerting the force needed to run at the usual pace while wearing the vest.
Sprinters benefit the most from the resistance training offered by a weighted vest. Adding weight to the sprinting drills increases the intensity of the training, which in return increases power, speed, and strength to particular movements such as sprinting, running, and jumping.
To achieve optimal speeds, practice speed drills such as different distance sprints and shuttle runs while wearing a resistance vest. The ideal weight that can’t interfere with your sprint mechanics should not exceed 10% of your body weight.
Incorporate other drills like butt kicks, “A” matches, and straight leg sprints for tremendous improvement of your sprinting technique and mechanics.
The Argument For Weighted Vests
A study conducted by John Cronin, Keir Hansen, Naoki Kawamori, and Peter McNair established that using a weighted vest for training improves sprinting time. The study conducted on a 10-meter and 30-meter sprint not only found out that the vest increases the sprint, but it also influenced acceleration on the first sprinting phase.
Runners who train with a weighted vest may attain a maximum speed increase of 2.9%.
The study attributes the increment of speed to enhanced endurance and strength to the leg muscles.
Argument Against Weighted Vest
A study conducted by the renowned Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research established that people who train with a weighted vest have not much speed improvement from those that train without the vest. The experiment was conducted at Spain’s Vigo University. Soccer players sprinted twice a week with or without a weighted vest, and after six weeks, they were put through different performance tests.
The study concluded that a weighted vest doesn’t enhance your running speed. Although initially, the vested trainers were faster in a 30-meter sprint, their counterparts who trained without were faster in a 10-meter sprint.
So you can establish from the two arguments that there exists a conflicting opinion as to whether running with a weighted vest improves the running speed. But in theory, using a weighted vest during sprint exercise increases strength in the hip extensors and builds strong muscles that deliver enhanced performance in terms of speed.
Benefits Of Running With A Weighted Vest
Besides improving your running speed, a weighted vest improves your running posture and increases body endurance by building muscles. Clinical evidence suggests that the benefits to your health. Based on clinical suggestions, there is a need to embark on extensive research to understand how to train with the vests for optimal results.
1. Cardiovascular Benefits
Running with a weighted vest adds more weight to your body, compelling it to work harder to propel you forward with the added weight. In the process, your hearth also works hard to ensure it pumps sufficient blood to your veins.
When the heart works hard to supply your veins with blood, its efficiency and that of the lungs improve tremendously. If your doctor recommends a cardio exercise for you, ensure that you acquire and use a weighted vest. It is an ideal gear for cardiovascular training.
2. Improving Your Balance
People who run or walk with a weighted vest improve their posture, hence great balance and stability. Weighted vests improve balance because you often mind your posture while running with extra weight, hence improved stability.
3. Bone Strengthening
Running with a weighted vest is a sure way of strengthening your bones. The added force exerted on your body strengthens your bones and enhances their capability to deal with bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Using A Weighted Vest
If it is your first time training to enhance your running speed with the aid of a weighted vest, start running with the vest on but without any weight. Ensure the vest fits well without moving around your body. Monitor how it affects your running form before gradually adding a small weight. The weight has to be well balanced, and don’t add weight exceeding 3 pounds at a time.
Alternative Exercises Done With A Weighted Vest
Besides running, Weighted vests perform excellently in the following exercises:
1. Weight Training
If you do weight training with a weighted vest, your bone density will improve as you work against gravity.
Using a weighted vest for cardio exercise helps burn more calories and reduces extra weight. The vest can also be used in boxing classes and when exercising with gym equipment such as stair-steppers.
A Guide To Buying The Best Weighted Vest
If you desire to choose the best-weighted vest to help in your exercises, follow the following tips, and you will acquire a suitable gear that meets your needs.
Balanced Weight- The weight must be distributed uniformly over your torso and trunk to avoid muscle imbalance.
Fit- a good weighted vest has to fit your body snugly; tight-fitting restricts your movement while loose-fitting allows it to move around your body with discomfort. Try several shapes and styles until you find a suitable vest.
Weight- The best-weighted vest for training must not exceed 10% of your total body weight. However, we recommend choosing a vest that allows you to use minimal weight and gradually add the rest.
1. Avoid commencing your training with heavyweights. Always start with a smaller weight and increase gradually.
2. If you have troublesome joints or any other bone condition, avoid using a weighted vest.
Can I Run With A Weighted Vest Weighing 20% Of My Body Weight?
You can run with a heavier vest, but it is not commendable to exceed 10% of your body weight as it might hinder your running form, mechanics, and technique.
Although it is a contested conclusion, running with a weighted vest might increase your speed and strengthen your bones. However, when choosing the right vest, you must avoid selecting the one that might negatively impact your run.