Friday, August 1, 2014

How I Train With A Weight Vest

There are plenty of ways to use a weight vest when you are training. It all depends on what you are training for, as well as what your overall goals are. I mostly train for Obstacle Course Racing, and I also prefer using Beachbody Fitness Programs. As an athlete, cross-training is always a must, so I also incorporate Spartan WOD's, Running, Mountain Biking, and some Crossfit Endurance.

LIVE Insanity Workout with Weight Vest
Insanity Workout Round 8 Class

I am currently training with a weight vest from ZFO Sports. I chose this vest because it fit snug to my body, which is very important. It can get really annoying when you are running and the vest is moving all over the place. I am also looking at investing in another weight vest from Hyper Wear. I have heard a lot of good things about them from other OCR (obstacle course racing) athletes. I'll post a review on that purchase later.

Check out Hyper Wear Weight Vests

So as I mentioned before, I mainly use a weight vest when training for an upcoming obstacle course race such as a Spartan Race, or a Superhero Scramble. Being from Florida, we don't have any mountains, and the only way that I can really condition my legs is to climb stairs, do high percentage incline running on a tread mill, and some hill sprints (when I can find them). When I do these exercises, I use a weight vest for the added challenge. I've been traveling a lot lately, so I have been fortunate enough to train on some real mountains. I really love Colorado (Colorado Springs area), and one of my favorites places to train is in Las Vegas at this place called Exploration Peak Park.

Running with Weight Vest
Running with Weight Vest

Being from sea-level, it is always a challenge when I am doing a mountain race. It's not so much the climbing that get's me, it's going down! It kills my knees. So training safely with a weight vest has made my knees much stronger. The elevation is another factor in mountain races, so I also try to train with an elevation mask.

Here are the typical questions on How I Train With A Weight Vest:

How much weight do you use for your weight vest?
I use no more than 12-15lbs when I train. My goal is to add strength and endurance, not to bulk up.

When do you use a weight vest during your training?
I mostly use it for my plyometric workouts such as Insanity Asylum Vertical Plyo and P90X Plyometrics or other similar workouts from the Elite Beachbody line. I also run, do burpees, and pull ups with my weight vest. 

Do you use any other weights when training with a weight vest?
Yes, I will sometimes use a homemade sand bag, dumbbells and/or kettle bells. Typical exercises would be running with two dumbbells on each side, or sand bag on shoulder, and doing squats with sand bag etc. Try doing the Insanity Power Legs workout with a weight vest, as if doing it without a vest isn't hard enough =).

Asylum Vertical Plyo with Weight Vest
Insanity Asylum Vertical Plyo

Who should use a weight vest for training?
This all depends on the goals of the individual. Bottom line, if you are trying to lose weight, it's not a good idea to use a weight vest for training (my opinion). Weight vest training is used by athletes, law enforcement, military, as well as body builders. Most weight vests have adjustable weights so you can add or drop weight according to your specific goals.

Final words:
When you begin training with a weight vest, start with light weight and give your body a chance to adjust to the weight. If you add too much weight in the very beginning, there will be a good chance that you might injure yourself. Be smart, listen to your body, and quit trying to be like what you see on TV, and in the media. You will never be a beast if you injure yourself, so take it easy, and work your way up to a weight that you can handle, and go from there.

As with anything, it is always wise to consult your physician before trying any fitness program or product. Happy training!

Coach Arnel

  30 Burpess with Weight Vest

Take the Insanity Asylum Challenge - Be Elite in 30 Days!

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