Why Weighted Clothing?

weighted clothingWhether you desire a calming effect, dropping pounds, building strength or raising your overall speed, wearing weighted clothing can be the perfect solution for you. Easy-to-wear garments with built-in weights can strengthen and tone your muscles as well as build bone mass. The added pressure of weighted clothes can even soothe and calm children with Autism, Asbergers or ADHD. Clothing with weights are adjustable and can be worn during routine workouts or as you go about your usual daily schedule.

Body builders know that adding weight to their workouts helps their muscles increase in size and strength. Consequently, the bones must grow thicker and stronger in order to support the heavier mass. Conducting daily routines while wearing a heavier load causes the body to improve oxygen intake, thereby strengthening the cardiovascular system and improving overall performance.

If you add resistance to your body in the form of weights, your body will be able to perform better when weights are not attached. Following, you will find some pros and cons of the weighted clothing that is available today:

Weight Vests

weight vestThe cornerstone of all weighted clothing, adjustable weight vests have an even distribution of weight around the chest but apply resistance to the entire body. Deep pressure vests can also be used as an intervention strategy for hyperactivity or inattentiveness by delivering a “hugging” sensation, thereby relaxing children with sensory disorders. Most weight vests have pockets sewn in that hold several small removable steel weights. Some vests even accept small pouches of sand, silicone or gel. Additionally, some weight pouches, such as those containing hydro-gel, can be chilled or heated for muscle therapy or to warm-up before a workout.

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As your strength increases, additional weights are simple to attach. If you have sensitive skin,  an under-garment may be needed to protect the skin from irritation. Some vests are made from breathable material and do not retain a lot of moisture. This is beneficial for keeping cool as core body temperature increases during exercise.

Many of the best weighted vests will have a comfortable, but slim, fit that allows for a full range of motion around the arms and the abdomen. Most weight vests will distribute the weights evenly around the upper part of the vest. (front & back). A vest with these features can be great for increasing endurance when running or building general strength. Weigh vests can range in style from large, military like fit to a more sleek, form fitting styles, which can be worn under everyday clothing and be nearly unnoticeable.

Weighted Gloves

weighted glovesThese gloves come in styles designed for cardio and aerobic exercise, as well as for boxers and other martial artists. Weighted gloves add resistance to upper body workouts and work well for toning and sculpting the arms, while building hand speed. Most weighted gloves are designed with the weight on the back of the hand, thereby freeing up the palms for gripping, pulling and pushing.

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Finding the glove that suits your style and hand size may be difficult, but once you find the right fit, the toning and strengthening benefits can be enormous. Some weighted gloves come with a zipper for adding and removing weights but most gloves are of fixed weight often ranging from 1 to 6lbs or more.

Weighted Arm Sleeves

weighted arm sleeve

This type of weighted clothing is perfect for improving arm strength and speed. Weighted arm sleeves are designed to add a small amount of weight around the forearm to provide gentle resistance without causing injury to shoulder & elbow joints. These sleeves are great for improving arm mechanics especially for baseball players, golfers, sprinters and martial artists.

Weighted sleeves should fit securely and comfortably over the forearm and should fasten at the top and bottom of the sleeve. Some sleeves are designed to simply pull over the forearm and do not have material around the elbow joint. This allows room for the elbow to move freely. Weighted sleeves are not only a great way to build arm strength but they engage the core which also strengthens muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings. Some sleeves cover the forearm section only but there are also models that will cover the entire arm.

Weighted Shirts

weighted clothingThe weighted shirt is like a compression shirt and weight vest wrapped into one. First, the shirt compresses the weights to the body in a form fitting style, consistent with the muscles in the upper body. The placement of the weighted material in the shirt reduces strain on the joints since they are in line with the major muscle groups in the upper torso. This allows for maximum natural movement of the limbs and joints as well as allowing the wearer to do more dynamic motions.

Secondly, the shirt’s glove like fabric wicks moisture away from the skin allowing the body to stay cool. The material may also contain an anti-bacterial agent which will remove odor and germs as well. This type of weighted clothing can be costly and is commonly used by professional athletes and serious fitness enthusiasts.

Wrist Weights

Wrist WeightsStrapping on wrist weights can take the place of grasping dumbbells, or they can supplement hand-held weights. Since the hands remain free, wrist weights can be worn for longer periods to increase leveraged resistance. The material can vary between multiple Velcro bands with several slots for metal weights, to neoprene wristbands made from absorbent, fabric.

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The right set of wrist weights can be worn easily while going about your daily routine. Wrist weights are also great for more specialized movements such as boxing, martial arts or dance. They can be a quick, hands-free, solution to increase strength in the biceps, triceps and shoulders, without the need for dumbbells.

Wrist weights come in fixed or adjustable weight sets and can range from 1lb to 20lbs. This type of weight is not advisable for anyone with carpal tunnel syndrome or any other issues with the joints of the wrist, elbow or shoulder.

Weighted Belts

weighted beltThese padded belts attach to the waistline and have pockets to hold weights, which are increased in number to provide progressive resistant exercise. Many weighted belts are adjustable and come with pockets that can carry small metal weights, bean bags or gel weights.

A weighted belt is sometimes preferred over a weighted vest because it doesn’t sit across the body as the core temperature increases. Instead, it rests along the waistline, freeing up the arms and allows the user to have a full range of motion.

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Weighted belts may restrict abdominal movement in some exercises due to the positioning of the weights and length of the belt. Find a belt that fits comfortably and is equal to the measurement of your true waistline. Many belts come with adjustable Velcro straps or buckles for additional comfort. A weighted belt that does not fit properly can slip and rub uncomfortably against the hips or lower abdomen.

Weighted Shorts

MiR Weighted ShortsThis is a great product for working the legs including hip flexors, knee joints & quadriceps. Suited for athletes who want to build speed and lower leg strength, weighted shorts come in a variety of materials and styles. Weighted shorts should be as form fitting as possible and it may be tricky to find a correct fit.

They have built-in pockets and usually come with a set of one-pound weights, which can be increased or decreased incrementally. To avoid chafing, be sure to select a pair of shorts that have a sturdy adjustable belt and are made of breathable anti-bacterial fabric.

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Weighted Leg Sleeves

weighted leg sleeveWeighted leg sleeves offer a great and often stylish way to add resistance to your lower legs while running, doing calisthenics or martial arts training. Also known a shin sleeves, these are very popular among martial artists because they provide added weight without getting the way of your movements. These weights are often made with thin, expandable fabric and should have a snug fit around the calf.

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Leg sleeves should be made of anti-bacterial fabric to avoid skin irritation. They range in weight from 1lb to 6lbs or more and often come with a Velcro strap and the top and bottom to prevent slippage and movement during exercise. Some weighted leg sleeves come in a fixed weight and are made of sandbags, which can rupture and spill if not cared for properly.

Other designs come with small blocks of metal weights that are inserted into pockets along the front or back. Be sure to check the length of the sleeves before purchasing them to ensure a comfortable fit for your leg.

Ankle Weights

ankle weightsAnkle weights are extremely popular and can range from 1lb – 20lbs. They are great for increasing resistance when walking or running. The added resistance of ankle weights can improve leg strength when performing general exercises such as walking or specific workout movements such as plyometrics. Ankle weights can even be used to add resistance when building muscles that are not in the legs. (i.e.- dips or pullups) However, overuse of ankle weights may cause adverse stress to ligaments in the ankles, knees or even hips.

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Shoe Weights

weighted shoesShoe weights provide added resistance to your feet and help with explosive running and sprinting speed. They can be excellent for maximizing kicking power and performing plyometric drills.

Shoe weights are great for low impact training such as walking and they help to burn calories while building strength and endurance. They typically come as strap on weights that adjust to the size of your shoe and wrap around the ankle and below the foot.

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Some may find these weights to be bulky, but many slim models, with attractive and subtle design, are also available. They can be purchased as a fixed weight accessory or an adjustable weight model. As with all weighted clothing, be sure not to overload the weight, which can cause strain on connected joints such as the ankle.

As you can see, there are a wide range of options when it comes to weighted clothing. Depending on the area of the body, the level of resistance and the degree of comfort you desire, there is a benefit to wearing weighted gear.

Be sure to consult your trainer or physician prior to beginning any exercise regimen or treatment, with or without weights.