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How to determine the right weight for a weighted vest? [Step by Step Guide]

I know how confusing it might be to pick a weight vest that can provide you with good resistance for your workouts.

That’s why I have decided to create this little guide to teach you how to pick and determine the perfect weight for your weighted vest.

The short version is going will be to get an adjustable weight vest which has the ability to provide you with enough resistance not only for now but also for the future. 

As you can see there are many elements that must be explained in order for you to understand how exactly to find out all those things.

Let’s start with the first basic thing which is…

What is the type of your training?

If you really want to find out the perfect weight for your weight vest you need to know what are your 2 options. 

Option 1 – Cardio type of training

The first option is if you are doing some sort of cardio workouts and want to improve the resistance with a proper weight vest.

Things like jogging, cycling, running, fitness walking, doing HIIT workouts and more.

If that’s your case I would recommend you to go for a model that is not heavy or bulky because you will not need a lot of weight in order to stimulate your cardiovascular system in order to improve your condition and burn extra calories. More on that later on the article. 

Option 2 – Strength type of training

If your main goal of getting a workout vest is to gain muscle or increase your strength, or even better, get both at the same time then, you should go for a heavier model that can hold quite a big amount of weight. 

We are talking about using the extra weight it provides you with for basic bodyweight exercises or in addition to weightlifting or powerlifting etc.

You certainly don’t want to overgrow it and stop getting the results you want because in time if you train properly using the right frequency and decent recovery you will eventually become bigger and stronger.

I will explain to you how to pick a proper weighted vest for this type of training later on in this article.

So at this point, you should know what you should be looking for in a weighted vest but there are 2 different types of weighted vest you should choose from.

Let’s check them out.

Types of weighted vests

The two types of weighted vests we are going to talk about below are the ones with fixed weight and the ones that are adjustable.

We will find out what are the good and bad things about each model and what is the model you should choose having in mind the resistance they are providing you with.

Here’s the first type

Fixed Weight Weighted Vests

As you have probably guessed by now these are vests that come with a specific weight.

For example 10 lbs.

They don’t have the option to add or remove extra resistance making them not so great for strength type of training because you won’t be able to adapt it for different exercises and such. 

They are good for people who are more into the cardio type of working out – jogging, running, etc. because they are quite compact and fit nicely under clothes. 

Even if the weight is fixed you can still increase the intensity by going further, at a faster pace or changing the route to a more challenging one with a bigger elevation, etc.

As you can see they won’t be able to provide you with a lot of additional resistance. Usually, we are talking about only a few pounds but they have their own perks making them ideal for certain situations.

Adjustable Weighted Vests

They are quite the opposite compared to the fixed version making them a great choice for strength or muscle building type of training. You can usually pick models with quite a big range of weights going up to 140 lbs in some cases which will be enough for all types of hardcore training. 

With the help of the adjustable plates, you have the complete freedom to add or remove plates in order to make the vest the right resistance for the exercise you are going to do.

The minus is that because of all that extra weight they carry around sometimes they can be quite bulky making them not so comfortable to wear for a long period of time.

Also, I want to mention that there are full torso models that limit your mobility and bending capabilities to some extent and models that use only your upper back and chest.

I would recommend you went for the second model because of the better freedom of movement you get.

Which one is better and why?

As you can see both types have their own strengths and weaknesses and I wouldn’t tell you that one is a lot better than the other because both can serve their purpose in your training.

Depending on your type of training and goals you should pick a model that can provide you with all the necessary resistance and comfort you require.

That being said, I do have a personal winner which is going to be the adjustable vest. I prefer this model because of the variety of all different exercises and opportunities it provides you with.

I would also prefer to have the shorter version that uses only your chest instead of the full-body torso one because of the freedom of movement you get. 

Finally, I want to tell you that this is only my preferable choice and it’s directly correlated to the type of training I regularly do. Everyone is different so pick the model you prefer.

How to pick a model that has the right weight for you?

So at this point, you already have a pretty decent idea about your type of training, the 2 options when it comes to different models of weight vests – fixed and adjustable and their pros and cons. Now let me help you pick a model that has the right weight for you.

Before we continue I want you to look into this investment and decision in the long term.

Doing so will ensure you won’t have any problems in the near future.

By now you should have a winner having in mind the type of training and your desires. I want you to take a moment and try imagining how much weight it would be enough for you. 

If for example, you believe 45 pounds (20 kg) is going to be enough I would recommend you to double that number and go fo something in the range of 80-90 pounds. 

And why’s that? The main reason behind this is that we people sometimes have very limiting beliefs and it’s really hard to imagine yourself using a lot of weight if right now you can barely do 10 push-ups with only 20 pounds. That’s why I mentioned that you should make it a long term decision. 

A good example of that was the time I was buying myself the weights for my home gym.

Back in that day, I bought about 135 kg. (which is near 300 pounds) and I thought that this is way too much and I wouldn’t need it and guess what…

At the moment, this weight is not enough for me especially if I decide to do a superset…

The moral of this story is to always go for more weight than you believe you can use.

Even if you are going for the fixed and lighter type of workout vest I would recommend you did the same thing. The more uncomfortable you feel when you are working out with added weight, the greater stress your body will have to face and the better results you will achieve.

The next thing you might ask is this:

Okay, all that info is really cool and good to know but from where can I possibly find some great models I can check out and order one?

Let’s find out…

How to find the best weighted vests on today’s market?

I know how hard it could really be to get easily overwhelmed by the huge amount of choice each one is presented with.

There are literally hundreds or even thousands of different brands and products you can choose from but to be completely honest most of them are not quite as good as they are presented to be.

That’s where our latest post comes to the help because we have already done the hard job and separated the good from the bad leaving us with 5 of the best models you can get.

We have reviewed each one of them and provided you with its pros and cons so you can get the best model for your own needs. If you want to check them out please Click Here

Even if the article is directly correlated to calisthenics we have reviewed all soft of different models that could be used for all different types of workouts.

If you really want to see what is the most affordable and quality product your budget can get I highly recommend you to check it out.


That’s the end of this short but I hope useful article. I would be really happy if I have answered all your questions in an understandable and helpful way. 

If you believe I have missed something or just want to say hi feel free to comment below.

Also, help me spread the word about weight vests and the benefits they provide you with by sharing this article with your friends. It would really mean a lot to me.

That being said it’s time to finish with this great piece of information.

See you again!

– Bozhidar


Hey there, my name is Bozhidar and I'm a certified online personal trainer with University Degree in Sports and Nutrition.

With the help of my knowledge and over 8 years of workout experience, I can help you get on the next level. I own a home gym, do calisthenics, little gymnastics, and love to ride a bike.

About me