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7 Things to Know Before Using a Weighted Vest


Piccolo wearing weighted martial arts gi.

If you’re a Dragon Ball fan, then you know that the some of the martial arts gi's worn are weighted. In a few episodes, we see Piccolo and Goku removing some pieces of their gi and as they drop each piece to the ground, they hit the ground with boulder weight leaving cracks and indents. We’ll never know the true weight of their clothing, but according to Dragon Ball’s Fandom site, one Dragon Ball episode shows Tien picking up individual pieces of Goku’s clothing while estimating the weight for each piece which accumulated to about 120 Kilos or 265 pounds. Although it’s not recommended to wear this prodigious amount of added weight, using a weighted vest in your training can have it’s benefits but there are a few things you should know first before following the footsteps of these top Z-Fighters.


What Are the Benefits?

You don’t need to be an elite warrior to wear a weighted vest. These vests can be worn and benefit almost anyone. Benefits can include improving muscle mass, bone density, calorie burning, muscular strength and explosive power.


How Heavy Should Your Vest Be?

For those who are new to weighted vest training, International Sport Sciences Association recommends to not use more than 10% of your bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, do not exceed more than 20lbs. As you progress in your training, you can follow the 2-2-2 weight training rule; if you can complete 2 additional repetitions for an exercise, for the last 2 sets, for 2 weeks in a row, you can progressively increase the weight by 5%-10%.


Add Volume Before Weight

Regardless of the exercises you choose to complete while wearing a weighted vest, it’s imperative to progress slowly by increasing your volume (sets and reps) first before increasing the weight to your vest.


Walk Before Run

If done correctly, running with a weighted vest can improve both strength and endurance. However, before doing so, walk with a comfortable amount of weight then progress slowly into jogging then running.


Should You Wear Your Vest All Day?

Although Goku and Piccolo are wearing their weighted GI’s 95% of the time throughout a series of episodes, it’s not advisable to wear a weighted vest all day. It’s advisable to only wear your vest during workouts that last no longer than 60 minutes. Yes, one can cautiously wear a weighted vest all day however keep in mind that safety is the number one concern. Some side effects from wearing a weighted vest all day can include, chafing, increase risk of falling due to the altered center of gravity, pain in the neck, shoulders, lower back and spinal compression.

 

How To Choose a Weighted Vest?

To purchase the best vest, consider the following factors:

  • Purchase a weighted vest that will allow you to add and remove weight in certain increments such as purchasing a 50lb. weighted vest that will allow you to modify weight by 1lb, 2lbs or 3lbs.

  • Be mindful of how the weighted vest fits on your body. Does the vest hang too low? Does the vest sit too high on your chest? Is the vest snug around your waist? Make sure the vest has no bounce or shifting.

  • Remember to consider the quality. Look for a weighted vest that uses a cross-strap system, double straps preferably, has padded shoulder straps, it’s ventilated and made from high quality nylon.

Weighted Vest Shouldn’t Completely Replace Traditional Weight Training

Although weighted vest training can improve strength and improve muscular aesthetics, vest training still has its limiting factors if one is trying to achieve max lifting power in some essential exercises such as a squat, deadlift, chest press, shoulder press and row. Weighted vest training should be included as an additional tool to a proper strength program that implements both calisthenics and dumbbell exercises.

 

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Disclaimer: All information presented and written within this article are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you should choose to follow or participate in any workout, program or practice, you do so voluntarily and do not hold Initial Mile and it's founder responsible for any cause of injury or death. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.

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