The weight vest is usually worn over the torso, and they are designed to add or remove weighted bars as you may prefer. They provide different amounts of resistance and thanks to their high versatility, these vests allow for a wide range of exercises including rope climbing, push-ups, jogging, pull-ups, sit-ups, and many others.
Before strapping a weight vest to do a CrossFit workout of the day, there are 3 main factors you must consider.
Your Level of Fitness
Do you find yourself struggling in CrossFit WODs and always have to scale? Do you struggle to complete your workouts within the set time cap? Or do you only manage to work out once or twice in a week? If this describes you, it is important you build up your fitness level first and after that add extra resistance. Even so, it is recommended you start with a light vest and then gradually head towards the weight vest.
The Design of the WOD
The duration, intensity, and movements incorporated in your WOD play a role on whether you should put on a weight vest. For instance, an athlete doing heavy EMOM of cleans doesn’t need to add extra resistance. Furthermore, during workouts, your key focus should be on technique, body position, and the bar path. Adding on a weight vest can potentially throw you off balance. It is also advisable that you confirm with your coach before putting the weight vest on.
The Weight in the Vest
If you just want to vary your metcons, 5 pounds of weight may be sufficient to give you the extra element you have been looking for. However, you should also understand that even 5 pounds can significantly affect the make-up of your workout. This is especially the case if you are wearing the vest for the first time.
The Advantages of a Weight Vest
There is no doubt that the weight vest is hyped as one of the best CrossFit gear. There are lots of advantages that have been revealed through research. Amongst them include:
Strength and Endurance Enhancement
Carrying an extra weight when exercising requires more strength because it saps your energy reservoirs. As you add more and more weight, your muscles adapt gradually towards the higher weight, and this helps in building strength and muscular endurance. This is proven through a study done by the Texas Tech University. It was found that the select group which supplemented their resistant training using weight vests had better results overall.
CrossFit is all about varied functional movements done at high intensity. Human body systems usually adapt to certain movements over a period of time. The adaptation can be positive or negative. Weight vests help in introducing variations your body system isn’t prepared for. Because of this, the system is thrown off leading to an increase in gains and progress.
Running or rowing while wearing a weight vest has effects similar to those with muscular strength and endurance. It pushes your cardiovascular system into overdrive because of the added resistance, and this strengthens the lungs and improves your VO2 marks. This was proved by a study that was done and published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology.
Other benefits include increased bone mass which makes your musculoskeletal system stronger and denser to withstand extra loads. Because of the cost of a weight vest, you may not incorporate it into your CrossFit home workouts, but you can always get it in the box.