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Is Using a Weight Vest to Lose Weight a Good Idea?

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The concept of using a weight vest for exercise is getting to be more popular. This has left more people wondering whether or not using a weight vest is actually a good idea to lose weight. The purpose of wearing a weight vest is to give you a more intense workout, by adding more weight to your body. They are basically heavy vests that you wear over your torso and which provide you with various amounts of resistance. Two of the most popular weights used for vests are the 20- and 50-pound versions, though other weight limits also exist.

Resistance Training

The primary use of a weight vest is for resistance training, though losing weight is another effect. Resistance training is meant to build muscle. Mass, strength and power increases are usually seen as a consequence of resistance training. The benefits with a vest are increased because of the extra weight. A study from a leading university tracked two groups of people: one that was resistance training with a weight vest and another that was doing only traditional resistance training. In six weeks, both groups were tested to determine progress. The group that used weight vests in addition to their resistance training performed better. That group's results in the vertical jump, broad jump and 40-yard dash were meaningfully better than the group not using weight vests.

Weight Loss

The weight loss factor of weight vests occurs through the burning of calories. This is especially seen when cardio workouts are performed with the weight vest on. Running is already hard enough on its own, so putting on an extra-heavy weight vest will only enhance the effects of this cardio workout. The theory behind the weight vest helping you to lose weight is that it intensifies the aerobic workout. With the increased intensity of the workout comes a proportional increase in the amount of calories that you are burning while wearing the weight vest. If the desired effect of running with a weight vest is to enhance the amount of calories you burn, then that increase will occur.


A weight vest does increase the rate at which you lose weight, because it enhances the calorie-burning effects of cardio exercises like running. Though the primary use of a weight vest is for resistance training, aerobic exercises with a weight vest are also possible. Aerobic exercises with a weight vest on increases the number of calories that you burn during such a workout. Using a weight vest to lose weight is only a good idea if it is done sparingly. A potenial risk with using the weight vest is overtraining. You could end up injuring yourself because you are getting too dependent on the weight vest as an exercise supplement.

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