Weighted vest

I am considering buying a weighted vest to train in - the logic being if I can run at 7 minute/mile pace with it on, I may be able to trick my body into running faster - due to being lighter. The vest weighs 12kg.

Any advice, experiences had would be appreciated



  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Bit of a silly idea really, unless you were specifically training for an event which involved having to carry 12kg on your back, and even then you're increasing your risk of injury.

    You're not really fooling your body anyway.  Let's say you could run at 85% effort running in a weighted vest @ 9mins/mile.  Suppose you could then run at 70% effort for the same pace without the vest, or 7mins/mile @ 85% without the vest.  Now let's suppose that one of your training goals is to be able to run a long distance race at 7mins/mile.  You'd be better off doing lots of training at 9mins/mile / 70% with some additional training at 85% to get used to running at 7mins/mile.*

    *Other less crude training programmes are available.

  • +1 with Phil.  You never see elite athletes training in them do you.


    Get some wrist and ankle weights instead...



  • Simple question for the OP: when you run without the vest how will your legs know that they can turn over faster?

  • dumb idea, why not just train faster.

  • Interesting question Craig a weighted vest can be a huge advantage to someone who is training for a marathon or other running event. Training with a weighted vest builds up the body capacity, so that when the user takes it off, you feel lighter and ready to go. Lots of runners prefer to use a relatively light vest, at least at first, so as not to overwhelm the joints or overtax the lung and cardio system that is already working strenuously. Hope this helps. 

  • @Roger Stanley 2 - you are a troll and I claim my £5.

  • I wonder home many skinny elite African runners run in weighted vests?  image


  • DachsDachs ✭✭✭

    Simply eat a massive amount of food, and your body will develop its own 'weighted vest' effect.  Much more fun than buying one.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Dachs wrote (see)

    Simply eat a massive amount of food, and your body will develop its own 'weighted vest' effect.  Much more fun than buying one.


    This is like Viz top tips for running!

  • Having not posted in this section before I was unsure of the quality & quantity of responses I would get.

    My initial thoughts are why did I bother? With the exception of a couple of posts, I believe that people need to look up the definition of the word 'Forum' - without appearing to critise anyone, a one word reply of 'No' is hardly a heated debate!!

    Also I can not believe how negative or immature people are on here. All I am doing is looking at a different way of training - After all, several years ago people never considered compression clothing, now you can't move with athletes with little bands of tape all over them!!!


    Anyhow, using the power of Google today I came up with the following information - although I've been a runner/triathlete for many years, entering events at all distances, this guy is apparently a scientist, so may know more than me!!!

    (And if you think my tongue has been placed firmly in my cheek whilst writing this response, you'd be correct!!!)


    A famed Finnish exercise scientist recently reported some fascinating new research results for runners, part good news, part merely strange. The good news is that you can boost your leg-muscle power and speed in just four weeks. The strange news is that no special workouts are needed. In fact, what you wear when you run is far more important than how you actually train.

    This doesn't mean you need to slip into polypro pants, a paisley singlet or energy-return shoes, however. According to the new research, simply wearing a weighted vest will do the trick. If this sounds a little offbeat to you, perhaps it's because you're no rocket scientist. Those who are, the NASA experts, have long realized that weightless space travel weakens leg muscles, while jumping around on Jupiter (the planet with the most gravity) would build leg power.

    Finnish Researcher Helkki Rusko didn't have a large enough budget for interplanetary travel, so he opted to test the gravity-leg-strength connection by strapping weighted vests onto his subjects, 12 well-trained athletes. Each vest weighed 10 percent of the subject's total body weight, forcing leg muscles to work harder, even during routine activities like standing and walking. Rusko's subjects wore their vests all day long for four weeks and during at least three of their eight weekly workouts.

    The initial results were negative. After four weeks: the runners needed more oxygen to run at a given pace (that is, their running economy had deteriorated). Similarly, their leg muscles were producing more lactic acid, a possible sign of muscle fatigue.

    Fortunately, Rusko didn't give up at this point. For the next two weeks, he asked his subjects to take off their vests and continue training as usual. A retest at the end of this two-week period produced far different results.

    This time, lactate threshold was 2 percent higher (meaning that the runners produced less lactic acid), and max V02 had also increased by 2 percent. Two other important measures also improved: Endurance while sprinting soared by 25 percent, and stair running speed, a good indicator of leg-muscle power, increased by 3 percent.

    These improvements in speed and power occurred because weighted-vest running altered the test subjects' basic running mechanics and activated the fast-twitch muscle fibers in their legs. Only the group's running economy remained slightly depressed.

    The bottom line? Wearing a weighted vest has the potential to strengthen your leg muscles, make you faster, improve your kick and make you a better hill runner.


    Awaits the fallout from the 'serious runners' !!!


  • That test shows that four weeks later the athletes were fitter, and it doesn't at all confirm that their fitness improved because they were wearing heavy jackets.  That's like saying that if you take a homoeopathic sleeping pill for two days you'll fall asleep.

    I note he's got nothing in PubMed for peer review, and his experiment (as you describe) lacks a control group.

  • These people wore weighted vests for 4 weeks ? Bit unrealistic that any 'normal' person could do this. 

    Also a test of just 12 people is tiny and doesnt prove anything. I've been involved in exercise studies and I wasnt impressed with the methodology. Sounds like he got the result he wanted to see. 

    By all means OP go ahead and try the weighted vest - but there arent any serious studies showing they work. 

    And compression kit (again unproven) and the kinesiology tape (again unproven) are two different things altogether. People will buy anything if they think it will help - and if they believe it will - then thats the key. Belief. 

  • You can't jump around on the surface of Jupiter, it's a gas giant.  I would have thought NASA should know this.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I'm looking forward to the study where they test the effects of wearing weighted shorts on Uranus.

  • I've recently starting using a 10kg vest. I run with a friend and I have the drop on him and i had forgot what is was like to work hard. With the vest I can ran at same pace but with 10 beats average higher heart rate.

    So I'm happy with a hard work out and feel I'm making the most of my time.
  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    One of the recent Talk Ultra interviewees - can't remember his name, lives on Orkney? Trains in a weight vest and has won many ultras at all kinds of distances. Was interesting to listen to but not something I'd fancy - still trying to get rid of my inbuilt weight vest! image
  • If shedding weight is good for running because it reduces impact on your joints, let's you move easier, lighter, with better form and probably further and faster -generally a more enjoyable and higher quality experience -why would you want to reverse that by adding weight?

  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭

    William Sichel was his name..

  • William is a very impressive ultra runner. Won races up to 1000 miles, can't even envisage that sort of thing! I know he does a lot of training using a weighted vest but haven't heard of anyone else doing it.

  • PhilPub wrote (see)

    I'm looking forward to the study where they test the effects of wearing weighted shorts on Uranus.

    Thats genuis!!!

  • RICHARD WOODWARD 2 wrote (see)
    I've recently starting using a 10kg vest. I run with a friend and I have the drop on him and i had forgot what is was like to work hard. With the vest I can ran at same pace but with 10 beats average higher heart rate.
    So I'm happy with a hard work out and feel I'm making the most of my time.

    Interesting, I've just started doing this with the other half for the same reason on our long runs as I wasn't getting the training effect I would do going at my own pace. Early indications are that it may work as I was noticably more leg tired than usual after. Only added 2kg so far.

  • All I know if I just did a modest 5 mile with a 10kg vest (I am 85kg) and that run has had a profound impact on me.  That was far more effort.  Makes sense for me in that I am a rower not a runner so want to preserve leg strength, I don't care about the speed I run plus for practical reasons I run with the family dog and since he is slightly slower than me this means I get more out of a session.  Apologies to the purists.

  • A very sensible idea to try weighted vests during training to trick the body into increasing leg strength and therefore stride length. ...I am going to try it too.  They say that when you remove the weighted vest and enter a race you feel like a young gazelle!  The amount of weight does not need to be large..maybe 10-15 pounds is more than enough for runners.  After all, someone a stone(14lb) overweight would not be advised against running to lose weight...so why should it be dangerous or silly for lighter runners used to running, to carry an extra stone in training to heighten training effect?  The same vests are also used by body toners or body builders often with a lot higher weights up to 60-70 pounds. That is more for gym workouts and weight lifters than running. 

    All the people who go to high altitude training are doing exactly the same sort of thing...tricking or adapting the body to less oxygen while training and then coming back with big aerobic gains.  It obviously works, or sponsors would not be spending millions of pounds sending runners to Africa for weeks and months of training at high altitude. The jokers on here sound so ignorant casting rude comments about something that can obviously work very well if done correctly.  The idea for runners is not to gain body bulk but to develop more strength in the leg muscles that propel you forwards.

  • Usain Bolt and the elite sprinters of this world do plenty of strength training to build up their strength for explosive acceleration over shorter distances.

    Strength training  helps improve core strength and bone density and become less prone to injury.


  • Chris you're overlooking the extra risk of injury from the extra weight.

    I run with a backpack to work - only as it's the easiest way to get kit in. I've not noticed any benefits. And also - successful runners are probably doing 50 miles per week minimum. If they added weights to themselves can you imagine the extra stress they'd have.

    I've also seen people in the gym training with masks to work their lungs harder. It's all flim flam. Just run. Cheap and easy.
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