Your Weighted Vest Workout: Benefits and Ideas

If you've done any research online for improving your at-home workouts, then you've likely seen fitness influencers, gravity-defying calisthenic athletes, or coaches advocate for weighted vests. For around $160, you can equip yourself with a high-quality, adjustable, comfortable, and breathable vest that boosts the benefits of your workouts, especially if you do not see the results you want.

The APC weighted training vest is one of the best weighted workout vests you can buy. It uses sand pouches for dynamically adjusting your weight for various exercises as you grow stronger or need less weight for a more intense circuit.

You can also search for vests with weight plates, but you may experience discomfort while running or walking, doing gravity workouts, or maneuvering around.

weighted vest workout

What does a weighted vest do for your workout?

Weighted vests amplify the effects of at-home workouts. Studies indicate that wearing a weighted vest with 15% of your bodyweight inside can improve your gains, calorie burn potential, and endurance by 12-18%.

Weighted vests are great for warming up as well. As your body acclimates to heavier weight, more blood flows to your muscles, preparing them to support the increased load. Apply this principle to a workout, and your muscles will thank you.

Using exercises to improve power, you will see the bountiful benefits of weight vests over time. For home gym warriors, you may approach a point where you don't see the results you would like, or your workouts are not as efficient as they should be.

Weight vests are a small investment compared to gym memberships, gym equipment, or personal trainers, and they are incredibly versatile. You can use weighted vests to lose weight, increase strength, endurance, target muscle groups, and so much more.

For many, using a weighted vest is the key to becoming lean and fit at home.

How to start training with a weighted vest

Experts recommend starting with 5% of your body weight in your vest. Test out some exercises, or try a short circuit and add more weight if you need.

The goal of using a weighted vest is to push but not strain your body. If the workouts are uncomfortable to perform, your heart rate is too high, or you think you might injure yourself, reduce the weight.

Use your point of failure as a baseline. For example, if you can walk five miles with a 10-pound (4.5 kg) vest before your feet blister or your ankles buckle, start with three or four and work your way up. The same goes for reps of your favorite exercises.

At-home weighted vest workouts

Here are some of our favorite calorie-burning and muscle-growing vest workouts you can easily do at home. We also recommend compiling them into circuits to build several muscle groups simultaneously. We have a pre-planned routine for you at the end.

Strength training

Weighted vest pushups

Start with three sets of five. Ensure your arms move through the full range of motion, lowering your chest to one to two inches (3-5 cm) off the ground.

If you've ever seen people do pushups with people, 45-pound (20kg) weights, or tires on their backs, they almost definitely started with weighted vests.

Remember that it's better to do five pushups with good form than 10 with lousy form. You may feel muscles working by the end of your sets that you never have before.

Work your way up to three sets of eight to ten reps for each of these workouts, and then increase the weight from there.

Weighted vest squats

If you're looking for a killer quad workout at home, squats are a staple of any athlete's regimen. If you're considering squatting with a weighted vest, then you're likely stepping up from kettlebells or dumbbell squats.

Leave the hand-held weights to the side for now, and focus on your form, breathing, and range of motion. Start with three sets of 10, and as you get stronger, increase the weight. From there, you can pick the traditional weights back up in addition to your vest.

You may not be doing Bulgarian jump squats on the first day, but you will see results quickly.

Stair climb

A stair climb is one of the most demanding exercises you can do with a vest. Athletes see the best results when climbing regular stairs rather than using a stair machine, but use what is most convenient.

Climb the flights of stairs as you would usually, and pace yourself so you don't pass out and have to climb them again. Experts say five to seven minutes of continuous climbing, a minute of rest, and rinse and repeat.

Plank press-ups

This bodyweight ab workout will make you feel every pound in your vest. Start in a standard plank position, with your forearms on the floor. Extend your arms until they are straight and perpendicular to your body.

With your forearms still planted, press your body up and down. We recommend three sets of five for this killer bodyweight core workout.

The additional weight can cause you to hyperextend your back, so be careful with this exercise. If you feel too much strain on your back while pressing up, consider reducing the weight.


For cardio, mountain climbers are great. You can equip your weight vest for running, and even using weighted vests for walking makes a huge difference.

You must have enough room to maneuver, breathe, and exercise your usual range of motion, so be cautious. The vest is supposed to bolster your workouts, not inhibit them.

Many people prefer jogging with a weighted vest, as it can be cumbersome on long-distance runs. Box jumps are another great exercise that makes you sweat.

You may need to re-learn how to do a box jump with the extra weight, as you can lose your balance in mid-air. Once you get them down, these weighted jumps push your muscles to the limit. Do as many reps per set as you can, but remember to pace yourself.

At-home circuit

Finally, after familiarizing yourself with the various workouts you can enhance with your new exercise machine, here's a sweat-inducing, fat-burning, and strengthening circuit you can do at home:

  1. Warmup (5lb, 2.3kg vest) - 45 seconds each
    • Light calisthenics or jogging
    • Stretches
    • Jumping jacks
    • High-knees
    • Dumbbell stretches
  2. Weighted vest pushups (10lb, 4.5kg vest)
    • Eight reps
  3. Stair climb (10lb, 4.5kg vest)
    • 5-6 minutes
  4. Plank press-ups (10lb, 4.5kg vest)
    • Eight reps
  5. Prisoner squats (10lb, 4.5kg vest)
    • Eight reps
  6. Incline rows (10lb, 4.5kg vest)
    • Eight reps
  7. Wide-grip or close grip pushups (10lb, 4.5kg vest)
    • Eight reps
  8. Box jumps (10lb, 4.5kg vest)
    • Eight reps
  9. Mountain climbers (10lb, 4.5kg vest)
    • 45 seconds

Repeat the circuit 3-4 times, and we can guarantee you will feel the burn. Continue adding weight as you grow stronger and the exercises become less challenging.

Maintain the same difficulty level all the time; working out should never be easy. However, it should never be draining or painful. Remember to rest, hydrate, and pace yourself.

If you're new to the weighted vest scene, we may be biased, but we happen to think ours is the best. Get one here.