Weighted vests are one of the most effective accessories when it comes to increasing resistance in your workouts. Whether you go heavy on cardio, CrossFit, progressive overload training or have a mix, the weighted vest can help add much needed intensity to your training and provide you with quicker gains thanks to more efficient workouts.
We take a look at the best weighted vests in the UK in our comprehensive buying guide and will assess each one and give you the lowdown on what type of training it is best suited to. Perhaps you are looking to build your stamina, or you might be looking to increase your strength – either way, there is a weighted vest that will allow you to add an extra layer of intensity to your training resulting in harder workouts that push your body to its limits.
Before we get start talking about the individual vests, let’s discuss the two main types of weighted vests.
Full Body or Shoulder Weighted Vests
There are two main categories of weighted vests – there is the full body vest and there is the shoulder vest.
Full Body Weighted Vests – Full body vests are designed to carry much heavier weights than the shoulder vests. They are best suited for more static workouts and are perfect for building muscle and strength. They can also be used to build stamina but using less dynamic movements. Typically, full body weighted vests will provide a range of weight levels and can range from 10kg to 40kg+. They are designed to be well fitted and secure so the weight sits tight to your body – this helps the extra weight to feel at one with your body weight so there should be little pull in directions other than the intended natural gravitational pull downwards.
Shoulder Weighted Vests – Shoulder weighted vests are much more lightweight and feature a shoulder strap style design. Shoulder vests are designed for more active and dynamic activities such as CrossFit, walking and running. Typically, the levels of weight found on shoulder vests will range from 1kg to 5kg and these can also be used to increase endurance and strength.
The kind of weighted vest that is right for you will depend on what you intend to use it for, how often you intend to use it and how much flexibility you need in the level of weight.
Best Weighted Vests Buyers Guide
Adidas Weighted Vest
The Adidas weighted vest is top of the picks for us thanks to its stylish, comfortable and intuitive design features. There is one key drawback of the Adidas vest however and that is that it is limited to 10kg of weight so it is likely to be better suited to runners rather than those looking for serious progressive overload for muscle growth.
Adidas claim that this vest has been designed with the support of some of the world’s top athletes and it shows in the finished product. As a full body weighted vest it still manages to feel not too obtrusive around the body and will allow you to maintain a centre of gravity similar to if you were not wearing the vest – but with the added benefit of the extra weight. A full length zipper to front is backed up by a front strap and buckle that is adjustable to support chest sizes from 38 inches to 50 inches.
There is a real sense of quality materials throughout and although we only tested the vest over 3 cardio sessions there is every reason to think that it will stand the test of time. Online reviews are positive and indicate that this training aid is hard wearing and well made.
The weights come supplied with the vest and can be added or removed as required. The vest features 8 different weight pockets so you can adjust the weight as per your workout and/or progress over time. There are two D-rings to the rear of the vest to allow the attachment of a parachute if you need this option for more explosive workouts.
Looks aren’t the most important aspect when choosing a weighted vest but we think the Adidas vest is the best in that department so if you are looking for a weighted vest for cardio of any sort – e.g. cycling, running, walking etc. then this is probably the top pick. If you need a vest that can hold more than 10kg then read on.back to menu ↑
We R Sports XTR
We R Sports might not have the huge brand awareness that Adidas has but they have created a pretty decent weighted vest. The beauty of the We R Sports vest is that it comes in a variety of weights, however you can still manage the weight easily once you have purchased the vest. This vest comes in 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 20kg and 30kg weights and with each you will receive weighted bags that allow you to alter the total weight up to your selected max. Essentially, the higher the weight you buy the more the vest costs.
The We R Sports vest is another full body weighted vest but it is also one of the most versatile. This vest could easily be used by someone wanting it for running, walking or cycling as well as someone who wants to use it for body weight muscle growth exercises such as weighted chin ups or press ups.
The XTR vest features two large velcro straps to secure the vest in place and is suitable for chest sizes up to 50 inches. The weight feels secure thanks to the high quality velcro and the product comes with a 12 month warranty – although with regular use we think the XTR would have no issues with longevity.
In terms of usability and value for money the We R Sports XTR Vest is one of our favourites.back to menu ↑
The JLL weighted vest is a mid-range option in terms of budget but offers a good range of weight options. Starting at 10kg vests up to 30kgs in 5kg increments, the JLL is going to be a serious option for most types of training. The vest is well made and features numerous pockets to add the sandbags to, allowing you to alter the weight as per your workout or to allow you to provide progressive overload over time.
Two large straps with velcro are used to keep the vest secure to your body and they are effective at this. The individual pockets also feature velcro straps although these are not so secure – this means any kind of exercise where you might be slightly upside down could prove problematic with a chance the sandbags could fall out.
For running, walking and adding bodyweight to muscle growth exercises the JLL is going to be a good option. It features a breathable design with breathable fabric to prevent sweating and it can also be machine washed as sweating invariably will happen. The price varies based on the weight option you choose but we found this to be a great training aid and well worth the money.
back to menu ↑
The BodyRip weight vest comes in a range of weights from 10kg up to 25kg and the 10kg option comes in two guises; A and B. We tested the 10kg B option as we preferred the design of it, but the A option is the one that allows multiple weight options. This is another mid-range vest in terms of budget and it sports a similar design to those in its class with a double velcro strap used for support.
In terms of comfort and functionality, the BodyRip is an excellent option and does its job well. The weight is held close in to the body and your range of movement is pretty good with only a very small amount of impeding of movement caused by the material around the arms. We have had reports in some cases that the colours from the material can stain clothes if there is too much moisture but we didn’t encounter this problem when testing.
Like some of the other models on this page, the weights can be adjusted by simply removing them and the sandbags do stay in place very well with minimal chance of slippage even under testing conditions.
Overall, we really liked the BodyRip despite is slightly plastic looking shine.back to menu ↑
FDIT 20 Vest
The FDIT 20 weighted vest is a really good option for anyone wanting a lightweight full body outfit. There is only one variant so you won’t have a range of weights at your disposal but there is still some room for customisation.
The first thing that jumps out about the FDIT20 is that it looks and feels very well made. A dense ‘Oxford’ fabric is used to give a real sense of strength to the vest and it slips on over the head with two shoulder straps to help secure it in place. The shoulders are non-adjustable which is a bit of a shame but the side straps are and these allow you to achieve a really snug fit with no need for velcro.
In terms of weight, the vest comes supplied with sandbags that can carry a maximum of 10kg of sand. The vest is advertised as going up to 20kg but you will need to purchase a separate 20kg plate to take advantage of this level of weight. With that in mind, we would only really recommend this vest for anyone seeking a maximum of 10kg load.
Some people have suggested using other items to increase the weight such as coins, but we would recommend sticking to the recommended sand to add your weight.
Overall, the FDIT 20 is a good weighted vest and is super affordable.back to menu ↑
ViaVito Weighted Vest
The ViaVito is a shoulder weighted vest that is super lightweight. Perfect for those looking for just a small additional weight with just 2.5kg extra weight at the most. This vest will be well suited to runners, cyclists and walkers who do not want too much additional weight. Users of the ViaVito will benefit from its lightweight design as it is very comfortable and does not cause any friction with your body like some of the bigger vests.
There is no way of increasing or decreasing the weight which in many cases is the whole point of this vest. The fact that there are no additional weights to add means it is one of the most sturdy and well made vests we tested. It features a breathable material to the inner and to the outer has a pocket for carrying a water bottle or other items.
The ViaVito is one of the most comfortable weighted vests we tested and although it won’t suit all types of training, for long distance training or cross-fit with added resistance it is perfect.back to menu ↑
TNP 10-30KG Vest
TNP are not one of the best known names in the fitness industry but when we heard about the TNP weighted vest that has a maximum weight of 30kg we thought we’d give it a try. At £64.99 for the 30kg variant (10kg is £27.99) it wasn’t the cheapest on the market but it was still reasonably priced and it lived up to our expectations.
The TNP is well made and features sweat-proof fabrics for added comfort. The double strap velcro design is common at this price point and the TNP straps were easy to secure with high quality materials found throughout. A number of sandbags are used to increase the weight of the vest and you can adjust how many you use to alter the weight dependent on your workout.
One aspect of the TNP design that we liked most was the added padding to the shoulders – this is something that is sometimes overlooked and when using 30kg of weight the padding is pretty important. The overall comfort of the TNP weighted vest was very good and we found it easy to train with. Overall it was a hit.
Benefits of Weighted Vests
The main benefit to using a weighted vest is that it gives you an added layer of resistance. Anyone who is training for strength or hypertrophy will tell you that progressive overload through resistance is the number one way to elicit results. Weighted vests are particularly helpful as they are designed in a way that adds the weight to your mid section. This allows you to maintain balance and stability whilst adding considerable weight to your body.
For people who are undertaking bodyweight exercises such as pull ups, push ups, running or walking then a weighted vest can help you to continue to apply progressive overload once your own body weight is not enough to bring the results you need. The design of the weighted vest means that using one is one of the safest ways to apply extra weight to your bodyweight workout.
The other key benefit other than strength and hypertrophy is that it helps develop your cardiovascular fitness. Undertaking walking or running whilst wearing a weighted vest is a great way to add intensity to your training. It will help develop your muscles but it will also increase the intensity of your cardiovascular system as the body requires blood to be pumped around the body faster.
Weighted Vests: Key Features
There are four main aspects (or features if you like) to consider when purchasing a weighted vest. They are; the design, comfort levels, weight ranges and adjustability of the vest.
Design – Probably not the most important aspect but design should be considered. You might want to consider the design of the vest from an aesthetic point of view as well as from a functional perspective. Different vests apply the weights in different ways and as such the way in which you add the weight should be a consideration – this will often come down to the functional design. Does the vest use sand to add weight or does it use metal plates? You should also consider the way the vest looks – although this isn’t a deal breaker you will still need to feel comfortable wearing it. Adidas is our favourite design, but for you that might be different, so choose a design that you like.
Comfort – The comfort level of your weighted vest is going to be an important consideration. When you add heavy weights to a vest as you might imagine it can become quite abrasive against your body and skin. Look for well padded vests if you are opting for a vest that is going to be carrying in excess of 10kg for any prolonged period of time.
Weights – The weights of all vests will vary based on the design and exact variant you choose. Some products have over 6 different variants – these usually use sand to add or remove extra weight. Some vests that are one weight only will have the weight built in to the vest and some use steel plates for the weight. Choose a vest that has the type of weight that is right for you.
Adjustability – The adjustability of a vest also links in to the overall comfort of a vest but in the worst case scenario you might end up with an usable vest if it doesn’t fit you. Most vests offer some level of adjustability across the mid-section but if you have particularly wide shoulders or are particularly tall then you might want to look for adjustable shoulder straps too.