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Weighted Vest Training for Maximum Results in Minimum Time

Weighted vests are great for calisthenics because they offer extra resistance for every exercise you do. That increases muscle activation and ensures all muscles get trained efficiently. This article will show you some calisthenics exercises that go well with a weighted vest. Increase the intensity and gain the best results in less time!

Pull Ups

Pull up is the kind of calisthenics exercise for a reason. It works great in building insane pulling strength and endurance. You can do pull up with a weighted vest to increase the intensity of this workout. Your back muscle will work harder than normal to cope with the extra weight. This promotes rapid neural adaption and build up your strength fast.

  • Start with a wide grip and hang, tuck your legs in, engage the core.
  • Wide grip works more of the back muscles group. Grip closer together if you wish to target more on the arms.
  • Pull yourself up until you feel a stretch at the back of your arms, and a compression of your shoulder blades.
  • Lower down to starting position while maintaining control throughout all movements.

Push Ups

Push ups with a weighted vest is a great way to build up your front muscles and increase the time that you can hold push ups for (without weighted vest). With the additional resistance, it's important to do push-up with proper form and technique. As a result, you get to increase the maximum repetitions, hold time at the top and bottom, and trigger better hypertrophy.

  • Have your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground.
  • Keep the elbow 45 degrees from the torso, slowly lower your body to the ground.
  • Stop before your chest touching the ground. Hold for a second.
  • Bring yourself back up from this position by pressing towards the ceiling with both arms until they are extended straight out in front of you once again.
  • Keep the core engaged all the time. Your toe and shoulder should form a straight line throughout the whole process.


Dip on parallel bars is an excellent way to work on both the upper and lower body at the same time. Doing dip with weight vest will recruiting more muscles fibres (especially the shoulders and triceps). Hence dips is often referred as "upper body squat".

  • Start the dip by resting your hands on the parallel bars. Your palms should be facing each other and shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep a neutral spine position, maintain an upright torso and engage your core muscles to avoid any unnecessary arching in the back or rounding of shoulders.
  • Lower your body by bending the elbows and dropping your chest towards the bars.
  • Stop for a second at the bottom, where your upper arms are parallel to the bars.
  • Push up as explosively as you can to the initial upright position.


Doing a handstand with weight vest might not help much in the sense of balance, but it is a great way to strengthen your arms and shoulders. You might take some time before you can hold the (weighted) position for 30 seconds or more but trust me, once you get there it's really rewarding.

Your shoulder needs to work extra hard to balance with the extra resistance from weight vest. Mindful of the shoulder blades position throughout the process for best muscle-mind connection.

  • You should at least able to hold a handstand against the wall for 60 seconds before adding a weight vest in the drill.
  • Ensure that your body is tight and straight from every angle while in the handstand position. This will help you avoid injury to the back muscles or other areas of the body.
  • Align your shoulders. Put your neck in neutral position. Your head should not tilt back or forward at all while you are looking straight ahead of you with both eyes open.
  • You should not feel any pain or discomfort in your neck, shoulders, arms, hip flexors, groin muscles, knees or calves.
  • Adding more weight as a progression when you are hitting 60 seconds with previous weight comfortably.


Squatting with own bodyweight is often considered inferior to weight lifting. With the help of weighted vest and body leveraging, bodyweight squatting can be as challenging as you want it to be.

  • When squatting with just bodyweight, it's important to keep an upright posture so you don't fall backwards or overbalance from side to side.
  • Keep the feet shoulder-width apart and close to the body. The toes can point outwards slightly for stability or inwards if you're feeling less stable with your foot position.
  • Squat down until the thighs are parallel to the ground, but don't push past this point as it will be more difficult on the hips and knees! Hold for 2 seconds at this position.
  • Get up with controlled motion. Squeeze your quads and glutes on the way up to activate all muscles.


Alternative to squatting, lunges with weighted vest is another great way to work the lower body. Lunges also work more muscles than just your legs, including those in the buttocks and back. It emphasizes the stability of knees and quads a lot. The weighted vest should be enough to make this a challenging exercise, but not so heavy that you can't move when wearing it.

  • First, stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and hinge at the hips as you push them back.
  • Lift one foot off of the floor, step forward about the length of your foot, and then put it back down.
  • Repeat with the opposite foot.
  • Increase the weight of weighed vest to increase difficulty. Or pick up the speed of lunges while keeping all movement controlled.


Want to turn your regular stamina-building running into a power run that will make your heart rate soar and gain lower body strength at the same time? Wear an adjustable weight vest!

Posture is everything in weighted running especially for beginners. The extra gravity from weight vest tends to make your shoulder hump forward. Keep a neutral upright position all the time.

  • Try running a mile at a time with weighted vest strapped on.
  • Maintain a slow, easy stride and focus on stabilizing your knees during lunges.
  • Start by adding five pounds to your weight for the first week, and then increase by five pounds each week until you reach thirty-five.
  • Wear the weighted vest as tight to your body so won't be moving and create unnecessary momentum.

Stairs Climbing

What's so great about stairs climbing? It puts your heart and lower body through a very tough test. Added with the weighted vest, you have an even tougher training that burns calories and improves your stamina!

  • First, find a staircase that's not too long and walk up it normally. Add the weighted vest with 15-20 pounds on your torso.
  • This is where your weighted vest becomes a huge advantage, because you're forced to keep moving and fighting against gravity.
  • Climb the stairs with constant pace. Monitor your breathing so you don't gas yourself out fast.
  • Repeat this interval for five to ten minutes, then take off the weighted vest if you want a break or just keep going if you feel like it. You'll find that the weighted vest gives you an extra challenge, which is exactly what your muscles need for better growth.

Compact and adjustable weight vests are a great way to level up your calisthenics workouts. It provides enough resistance to make all of your favourite exercises more challenging. Whether you want to increase strength or just feel like an athlete in training, make weight vest one of your equipment list.

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