One of the better health benefits from quarantine that I discovered is my love weight vest workouts. I decided to purchase one with 4 separate chest plates, totaling 22 pounds, at the start of the lock down in March and I’ve never been happier with a purchase.
Bodyweight strength, athleticism, range of motion, core and overall strength all require movement through multiple plans of motion and angles to be continually challenged. With limited access to equipment or the desire to increase overall training intensity, weight vests can add an extra and unique layer to your workouts regardless if it’s for Crossfit, running, triathlons, bodybuilding or more.
Before I get into my favorite tactical weight vest workouts, I do need to give a word of caution. I personally love throwing my vest on for a few sets each workout but I found it actually impairs recovery. Think about it, even the smallest external load, let’s say 5 pound weight plate in your vest, adds an extra stressor to your system.
In the same way that lifting 5 extra pounds is a tougher challenge, often times extra weight in your vest goes unnoticed. You may get one or two less reps but the load is greater on your system. When used consistently, a weight vest may inhibit your recovery. I favor selective use of a weight vest with a purpose in mind and BCAA supplementation to increase muscle recovery.
I’m also cautious about doing a lot of burpees or jumping with a weight vest. I find there is a lot of low back compensation as well as rounding, though if you’d like, the lighter the better in terms of weight.
5 Best Tactical Weight Vest Workouts.
We might as well start off with the hardest weight vest workout, in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, this memorial hero workout is typically done on memorial day but some athletes will often test it multiple times per year. Murph has been done at the Crossfit games a few times where it is performed with the men wearing 20 lbs and women wearing 15 lbs. .
And while you don’t have to aspire to those levels, whether you want to give Murph a try with a few pounds in your vest or not, here’s the workout.
1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
1 mile run
You're going to have sore legs after this workouts. Read up on our sore leg recovery article.
Weight Vest Upper Body Workout
This is my personal favorite upper body weight vest workout to increase athleticism, power and core strength.
Kettle bell push ups 4 sets of 60 seconds
Perform a push up with your chest lowering between the kettle bells. This adds extra range of motion.
Renegade Rows-3 sets of 10 (rep arm)
Shoulder Press-3 sets of 8 reps
Weight Vest Get up-4 sets of 6 reps
Diamond crunches-4 sets of 60 seconds
Farmers walks-20 feet both ways
Weight Vest Lower Body Workout
And my favorite lower body weight vest workout
Kettlebell Deadlifts-4 sets of 60 seconds
Weight Vest Reverse Lunges-4 sets of 8 reps
Weight Vest Step Ups-3 sets of 8 reps
Weight Vest Squats-3 sets of 8 reps
Weight Vest Low Lunges-4 sets of 12 reps per leg
Weight Vest Core Workout
Plank Press Up-3 sets 8 per arm
Pull-ups-3 sets of max reps
Rear Foot elevated split squats-4 sets of 8 reps
Box Handstand Press-4 sets of 8 reps
Weight Vest Full Body Workout
Repeat 4 times.
200 meter run
8 reps of each exercise
200 better run
L sits-3 sets of 3 reps (here's our article on how to do L-sits)
There you have it. Give these tactical weight vest workouts a try to increase your cardio, core strength and power.