10 Best Weight Vests | March 2017

Add some extra resistance to your training routine. We've ranked the best weight vests around based on comfort, adaptability, and how much weight they can pack onto the athlete in training. Skip to the best weight vest on Amazon.
10 Best Weight Vests | March 2017

Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 7
Best Inexpensive
The ZFOsports 40 offers a lot of versatility in terms of fit. It has dual belly straps as well as shoulder straps to help you tighten it down, reducing movement or shifting during running and jumping exercises.
We loved the small weight increments of the Human X. It can hold up to 20 lbs, but uses 1 lb increments, so you can really tailor it to your fitness level, and even the exact exercise you are performing. Hand wash to clean and lay flat to dry.
Coming with ten 4 lb iron core weights, the Cross 101 is ready to use as soon as it arrives, without you having to worry about ordering more. It is made entirely from one piece of material, and has a wide belt for a snug fit.
If you are just looking to slim down and increase your endurance without bulking up, the Tone Fitness is a smart option. With a low weight capacity of 12 lbs and minimalist design, it's ideal for women.
  • comfortable soft neoprene material
  • quickly buckles on and off
  • tends to bounce a lot while running
Brand Tone Fitness
Model HHWV-TN012
Weight 12.9 pounds
The V-Force is made in the USA to ensure only the best quality, and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. You can choose from four color options and multiple sizes, so you can get one that fits your personal style and body shape.
  • no weight rests on your stomach
  • maximizes fulcrum effect
  • fully reinforced at all stress points
Brand VForce
Model pending
Weight 40 pounds
The MIR 50 has double padding throughout the vest to help prevent chafing during high movement exercises, and its narrow shoulder design allows you the freedom to do pull-ups or shoulder presses without a problem.
  • compact vest at just 11" long
  • front and back weight distribution
  • durable velcro weight closures
Brand MiR
Model 130150
Weight 51.2 pounds
The CAP Adjustable comes in eight different weight options, ranging from 40 lbs to 150 lbs, so you can find just the right one for your fitness level. It has a one-size-fits-all design with an adjustable belt to secure it in place.
  • 2.5 pound weight increments
  • uses soft sand weight bags
  • very high quality and durable materials
Brand CAP Adjustable
Model pending
Weight pending
The Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro is made from a flexible stretch material that makes it a suitable choice for men or women, and it comes with 10 lbs of high density steel weights which are held comfortably close to your core.
  • can be worn under a shirt
  • open sides for better ventilation
  • moisture wicking odor resistant fabric
Brand Hyperwear
Model 21-PARENT
Weight pending
The Perfect Fitness has a short, slim-fit design that won't hamper movement whether running or doing strength training exercises, making it a good choice for those looking to do crossfit style routines.
  • dual belly band enclosure
  • has a media player pocket
  • road ready high visibility material
Brand Perfect Fitness
Model 31023-Parent
Weight pending
With one of the highest weight capacities on the market and even weight distribution, the MIR 140 Pro is made specifically for serious athletes looking to improve their endurance and increase their core strength.
  • double lining for added comfort
  • mid-chest belt prevents shifting
  • added breathability from the mesh fabric
Brand MiR Weighted Vest
Model pending
Weight pending

A Few Words On Making Muscle

Before we discuss the enhanced muscular development you can enjoy through the use of a weighted vest, it's important to establish a baseline understanding of how muscles grow in the first place. In the simplest terms, skeletal muscles are those that move your body around, controlling actions ranging from a running long jump to controlling a pair of chopsticks to throwing a 100 MPH fastball. (Smooth muscles, on the other hand, control involuntary actions such as intestinal activity; cardiac muscles are in their own category yet again, keeping your heart rate up or down as needed to keep oxygen rich blood moving.)

Every time you move even the slightest bit, one (or more likely dozens) of your skeletal muscles have contracted. This is thanks to minute muscle fibers known as sarcomeres responding to a signal sent from your brain that induces an energy transfer from the surrounding cells. The sarcomeres pull on larger bands of muscle fiber known as myofibrils, and these bands draw on the connective tissue attached to bones, thus leading to the actual movement of the body. Of course all of this takes mere microseconds; you're completing countless contractions even know, as you sip a cup of coffee or lean in closer to the computer screen.

Weight lifting causes muscles to grow through a process known as hypertrophy. (You are probably more familiar with the pejorative antonym of this word: atrophy.) Hypertrophy takes place when the contractions of those sarcomeres and myofibrils occurs enough times or under circumstanced requiring enough effort (lifting a heavy barbell, e.g.) to damage the muscle fibers. In response to damage to these fibers, your body sends in satellite cells, which are essentially reserve cells that fan travel to the point of damage and help fill the damaged areas. Not only does this action help repair muscle, it also adds material to the muscle. That's also known as muscle growth. Over time, what on a cellular level is a process of repair and regeneration, on an exterior level comes to look like rippling abs, cut triceps, and a bulked up chest.

It seems ironic, but from a scientific standpoint it's accurate to say that the more "damage" you inflict on your muscles, the larger, healthier, and stronger they will grow. Of course this comes with its limits: muscles grow slowly and steadily, and if you overwork them, you can cause injury beyond the minute tears that this satellite cells will quickly repair, potentially requiring a full cessation of exercise for a protracted period and leading to atrophy instead of hypertrophy. If you're new to weightlifting and core training exercises, read up or meet with a certified trainer before you just start lifting. You need to ease into the activity, essentially priming your muscles before you start the serious work of building serious, lasting muscle.

Make The Most Of Your Training

The phrase "Sport Specific Training" has become something of a buzzword-cum-cliche of late, often thrown around in lieu of a more substantial term. But what the expression essentially refers to is training intended specifically to improve athletic performance, as opposed to a fitness routine intended to promote overall improved health and weight management, for example. In years past, sport specific training referred to a training regimen that was specific to a given sport: a basketball player might incorporate dribbling into his wind sprints and spend plenty of time doing squats to improve his vertical jump, while a softball pitcher might focus on building shoulder strength, for example.

Whether you are training for a specific sport, you are trying to improve your overall athletic prowess in terms of increased explosiveness, endurance, and reduced chance for injury, or if you have embarked on a more general fitness routine because you just want to look and feel better and potentially live longer, a weight vest is a great tool to help you achieve your goals.

Regardless of your feelings about sport specific training, few people will argue that in order to improve your skills at a given activity, you need to spend a lot of time doing said activity. And few sports medicine doctors or fitness instructors will argue that added resistance doesn't build muscle. Thus by incorporating extra weight into an activity you will already be practicing, you can help your body add the specific musculature that you use in that activity.

Imagine a long jumper suddenly getting the opportunity to try for a new record on Mars: if she weighed 120 pounds on earth, she would weigh just 45 pounds on that planet, yet would still have the same muscle power at her disposal. While it's impractical to cross the tens of millions of miles to Mars for a jump, it's not impractical to add extra weight to yourself while training here on earth, and then remove it prior to performance, thus enjoying a fraction of the same benefit.

From that sprint toward base to the endurance of distance running to the agility needed in the boxing ring, a weighted vest can improve your ability to perform across multiple types of activity.

Choosing A Weight Vest For Strength And/Or Endurance Training

Choosing the right weighted vest is a pleasantly easy undertaking: first, know your budget. Some fine weighted vests cost well under $100; some great vests cost more than $300.

Next, know how much weight you might want to add, and choose a vest that can accommodate it. Many max out near twenty pounds, which might be too light for larger athletes. Other vests can handle one hundred and fifty pounds, which should be enough weight for even large, robust bodies in training.

You should also take careful note of the weight increments that come with your vest (or that can be added separately). Some vests can have weight added by just a half pound at a time, while others increase their load by two pounds per increment. Two pounds might not sound like much on its own, but it can actually greatly increase the difficulty of an activity when you are already heavily weighted.

And finally, choose a vest based on how it secures to the body. For improved squats or lunges, it's hard to find a vest that won't suffice. For a runner or cross trainer, it's imperative to find a vest with multiple adjustment points that can hug the body tightly and won't jostle or chafe during extended periods of use.

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Last updated: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information