Some people ask why you would want to buy a vest with weights. Many question why these vests are preferable to a heavy backpack or something along those lines. The answer is that a backpack will put too much weight on your back, causing you to lean forward – and bad form increases the risk of hurting yourself. Vests generally fit over your shoulders and comfortably distribute the weight evenly over your upper body. They are adjustable, which makes it easy for you to have the perfect amount of weight for your workout. Whether you are concentrating on core strength, explosive speed, upper body strength of lower leg strength, a weighted vest will surely take your training up a notch. But how do you go about choosing one? Let’s look at four factors that you should always take into account before you buy.
Quality & Material
First and foremost you should be concerned about the quality of the vest you are considering. You are probably well aware that exercise equipment is not cheap, and there are few things as frustrating as buying a piece of equipment only to have it break before you even get to break it in! Here’s a simple way to ensure that the vest you are buying can stand the test of a hardcore workout, (or a light walk…whichever your prefer):
Check what the outside is made of, and that the material is both sweat and tear resistant. Perspiration causes bacteria build up on fabric and then that bacteria can transfer back to your skin just at the moment that your pores are wide open from working out. Imagine the irritation that will cause. I don’t mean to gross you out, but this is exactly what happens when the fabric of your vest is not anti-bacterial or anti-microbial.
Also, make sure the weights are either made of a some kind of coated metal or even a neoprene material so that they are protected from rust.
Adjustability & Accessories
In order to get the most out of your weight vest, it ought to be adjustable. Being able to reduce or add to the amount of weight in it can be a big factor. Many people like being able to reduce the amount of weight in their vest for one exercise, and then increasing the amount of weight for another exercise. This will allow you to get a lot more use out of it. Consider how quickly you can add and remove weights to the vest. Will it take a few seconds or a few minutes to adjust? This can impact your workout if you are on a strict routine that requires short rest between multiple exercises.
Finally, consider the types of accessories that can be added to the vest. For example, does it have a pouch for phones, music players, etc? Or, maybe it comes with a sweat resistant sleeve that fits under the vest. Does it come in different colors or have reflective strips for night runs? These types of accessories can add value and also makes for a more versatile vest.
Fit and Comfort
The next thing to consider is how the vest fits and how comfortable it is. Some people have a tendency to skip over this part since they don’t think comfort is important when it comes to workout equipment. This is a novice mindset, since anyone who is serious about their exercise routine will tell you that comfortable equipment that fits properly is very important. If your equipment doesn’t feel good, you’re going to have a hard time focusing on your workout.
So try on the vest you’re considering if at all possible. If it isn’t possible, see if you can find pictures of people wearing the vest. This way you’ll at least be able to see where it may be snug or loose on you.
Finally, you need to see how much the vest weighs by itself and how much weight comes with it. Many people who are new to these vests overestimate how much weight they can handle and buy a vest that is too heavy. The weights in the vest should be evenly distributed or allow you to reposition them in case you need to make adjustments for comfort and balance.
On the flip side, you want to be able to use the vest as you grow stronger as well. Just make sure that you get a vest that is right for your current fitness level. Too light of a vest won’t give you a good workout, and too heavy of a vest will likely cause injury.
By taking your time to choose a weighted vest and looking into things like this, you’re going to make a great choice that will serve you well for a long time.