Does Wearing a Weight Vest While Doing Cardio Help?

Recently I purchased a few weight vests for the weight training classes I teach. Several of the guys in the class were at the point that doing pull-ups and chin-ups were taking all day since they were doing sets of 20 or more. The weight vests provided the perfect amount of resistance to help them achieve higher levels of strength and save time to be able to apply equal demand to the other directions of the shoulders.

I was surprised how many of the people in my classes wanted to wear them to train in. They wanted to go for a run, do some jumping workouts, or even play some basketball in them. The idea makes a lot of sense. If wearing them to do pull-ups will make you stronger, then everything else you do while wearing them should help to make you better as well. The idea makes sense but it is completely wrong.

Have you ever wondered why people complain about pain their joints when they are 20, 40, or even a hundred pounds overweight? The reason is that they are placing more stress into the joints than the muscles can support and the result of this becomes pain. We have mentioned constantly throughout the last year how our muscular systems lack of efficiency causes our bodies to be in an incorrect anatomical position. Postural imbalances of all different sorts are the main reason why it would be very dangerous to train in weight vests.

DSCN0784If you look in the picture to the left, notice the angles that are created in this athletes legs as they sprint. There are a significant amount of muscular imbalances that are forcing the legs to run in a circular motion as opposed to driving the femur straight forward allowing the knee to punch straight up in the air. By adding additional weight to the frame of this athlete will increase these imbalances and put the knees and ankles at an even higher risk for potential damage.

The same could be said for doing jumping routines. I know quite a few trainers like to use this as a tool to help build explosion in an athlete. If you are doing jumping drills with a 180 pound athlete would they not get stronger muscles if they had to now power up 200 pounds by adding a 20 pound weight vest? Technically yes but once again at train2move we always go back to the worst case scenario mentality.

If you are doing jumping drills with an athlete you had better be positive that they do not have any form of inefficiency in their body during the jump. Are they able to do the move perfectly? If there is tightness in the hips that forces more stress into the knees upon landing, the weight vest is going to greatly magnify this. The damage to the knees is going to be much more pronounced.

Weight vest, like ankle weights that we discussed a few weeks ago, are a great tool to add to your current program. However, understanding how to use them is the key. Adding weight to a strong athlete who is very adept at a move like pull-ups can take them to the next level. Adding weight to an athlete with poor muscular efficiency can prove to do much more harm than good.

If you are looking for some good weight vests, we recommend trying these out. The Valeo are a good brand that are reasonably priced.


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