A man running with a weight vest on the beach

Running is a simple, achievable form of cardio. Not only does running get your heart thumping, but it can also build and improve your endurance. Advanced athletes and runners sometimes incorporate weighted vests during their jogs to amplify the benefits of regular running.

Benefits & Effects

If running with a weight vest is new to you, it’s important to start slow and build up the amount of weight as your body adjusts to this new form of exercise. Staying on the safe side can save you a lot of muscle wear and tear while also giving your body the chance to strengthen at a natural pace.

Is it good to run with a weight vest?

One study concluded running with a weight vest increased leg stiffness and changed posture. Though this exercise can improve endurance, it’s important to consider whether or not this exercise would be safe, based on individual health conditions, exercise and athletic experience and health goals. Stretching before a jog is another step to take to protect your muscles.

Does running with a weight vest make you lose weight?

Depending on how heavy a weighted vest is, it does have the potential to help you lose weight. Generally speaking, the heavier the weighted vest and the longer and faster you run, the more calories you can burn, due to a high level of endurance developing.

One study named three factors that ultimately affect whether or not a person will lose weight while running with a weighted vest. These factors include: exercise intensity, body composition and placement of the weight.

Bottom line: if you’re looking to lose weight, opt for a high-endurance exercise and increase the weight of your vest as you see fit. You should feel some discomfort while exercising with a vest, just like with any endurance-based exercise, but the discomfort should never feel unbearable.

How to Run with a Weight Vest

Running with extra weight can be challenging. There are, however, specific ways to best use a weighted vest during exercise to make exercise safe and healthy.

Exercise Options

Though most people use a weighted vest to run with, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate them into workout routines. Weight vests can accompany certain exercises, including:

  • Running: long-distance runners need endurance. Track your speed, distance and calories burned on a regular run and compare it to running while wearing a vest.
  • Walking: walking with a weighted vest is a great place for beginners. It can help your body adjust to added pressure during cardiovascular exercise.
  • Weight Training: not only can you lift weights at the gym, but you can also lift weights while wearing them, too. Still, take your time when it comes to incorporating a weighted vest into weight training.

Depending on a person’s level of experience with weight training and exercise, it’s important to consider the time, method and weight level when using a weighted vest to run.

Weight Amounts

Weighted vests come in different weight increments. Depending on your level of endurance, your weight and your preferred mode of exercise, you will need to decide how heavy you want your vest to weigh.

Most people aim for a weighted vest that constitutes around five to ten percent of their weight. The goal? Start with a lighter vest and build up to a heavier weight as your body adjusts.

Final Thoughts

Running with a weighted vest can benefit many people, whether it be through building endurance, burning calories faster or building muscle strength. This form of exercise, however, should be taken with precautions, as too much endurance at once can do more harm than good.

The best way to incorporate a weighted vest into your running routine may be to start small. Try out a lighter vest for a few runs and add weights as you notice your body adjusting to the exercise. Running with a heavy vest isn’t going to be too comfortable, but it also shouldn’t be so uncomfortable that you find your muscles in unbearable pain.