Should I or Shouldn't I?
Exercising with a weights vest is a really clever way to add resistance to any workout, and thereby increase intensity, workload and ultimately results.
More specifically when it comes to running, the research is pretty convincing to the upside when it comes to training under load. Power output improvements of upwards of 10% can be seen in athletes within a staggeringly short timeframe : 3 weeks to be exact. Interestingly the majority of the research conducted with specific reference to weighted running has been performed on highly-conditioned athletes, so the reality of those results outcomes might actually be far greater in the broader population.
1, Increased Aerobic Performance
Aerobic performance has been scientifically proven to be improved with weight vest training, and reduced the amount of time it took to reach exhaustion. (Reference : The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research).
2. Increased Strength
Running with a weights vest boosts your strength. One study examined how weight vests affected the strength of those athletes who already had high levels of performance. It was discovered that undergoing strength training on three days a week for ten weeks, that leg strength had an increase of 30%. In addition, endurance during running (as well as cycling, bless them) increased by about 13%. Having increased strength as a runner means you will be able to run for longer. (Reference : Journal of Applied Physiology).
3. Better Form
Know that feeling of how conscious you become of your driving prowess when you can see a Police car in the rear vision mirror?
Your driving technique just got a whole lot better. Not by accident, but by virtue of the fact there's someone watching behind who has the ability to pick you up on your weaknesses. Running with a weights vest works in much the same way as the Police car behind you. Bad running technique with resistance is quickly picked up and as a runner good technique becomes a must, not an option.
How and When
So how and when do you use your weights vest for training?
Firstly you need to ensure your running technique is sound (refer to our partners at Running Hot Coaching for more) before considering running under load.
Always use an incremental weight vest where the weight can be added and removed incrementally. Start with a light weight and use your vest every other week to start with. When you start out be conscious of your running technique. If any pain or niggles start to develop stop immediately, reset your technique and start again once your ready.
Say you run 3 times per week, we'd recommend using the weighted vest every couple of weeks and for different programming components (a good mix of longer intervals, tempo runs and short intervals).
Picking the Right Vest
Here at Active Nation we love the Bodyworx 10kg Adjustable Weights Vest for running training.
Firstly the Bodyworx Adjustable Weight Vest includes a double-crossover velcro closure so it will fit any runner and offer everyone a nice snug fit during exercise. The Bodyworx Adjustable Weight Vest also has two crossover straps for extra strength and support, particularly through the lumbar region. The Bodyworx Adjustable Weight Vest is made from 840D nylon and has 38 removable iron bit bags that will not only contour to your body but this also means that the user has the advantage of being able to adjust the weight vest incrementally up to 10KG by either adding or removing the number of iron bit bags required.