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The Best Muscle Workouts


The 10 Best Weighted Vest Exercises for Building Muscle

They might conjure images of special forces soldiers dashing across Bodmin Moor, but these days you’re just as likely to…

By admint10m , in Arms , at October 8, 2021

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vest workout

They might conjure images of special forces soldiers dashing across Bodmin Moor, but these days you’re just as likely to see a weighted vest on regular gym-goers or outdoor fitness enthusiasts. “It’s a simple way to upgrade bodyweight routines that may have stopped delivering,” says MH fitness editor Andrew Tracey. “Wearing a weighted vest is also great for strengthening tendons and joints, while it’s representative of real life by adding resistance to planes of movement that are more natural than when lifting dumbbells.”

Some are fixed-weight, while others include pouches, so you can adjust the weight incrementally, adding anything from 5kg to 30kg. But before you zip (or Velcro) yourself in, Tracey cautions to build up your load steadily, “so that all of your supporting muscles are strengthened in line with the bigger ones”.

Perform the following moves as a circuit, completing one set of 10 reps before moving on to the next.

Related content: Everything You Need to Know About Building Lifelong Muscle With Weighted Vests

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1

Jumping Lunge

Start by getting your heart rate up. With your arms in sprinting position, lunge forward until your knee almost touches the ground (A), then jump into the air, switching legs (B) so you land in a lunge with the opposite leg forward. Repeat.

2

Pull-ups

Switch to your upper body by grabbing a bar with an overhand grip and hanging at arm’s length (A). Squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull yourself up until your chin crosses the bar (B). Pause, then lower down.

3

Split Squat

Back to the legs. With one foot on a box and the other a couple of feet in front (A), bend your front knee and lower yourself to the floor (B). Push back up to the start. Complete your reps on one leg before moving to the other.

4

Abs Walkout

Now for some core work. Drop down into a press-up position, body in a straight line (A), and walk your hands forward until your stomach is a few inches above the ground (B), then reverse the motion.

5

Floor to Press

You don’t have to be wearing the vest to reap its benefits. Take it off, put it on the ground and stand in front of it. Bend your knees and hinge at the waist to pick it up (A) and bring it up to your shoulders, before pressing overhead (B).

6

Plank Press-up

Slip the vest back on and drop into a plank with your forearms on the floor (A). One arm at time, move your hands to where your elbows were and straighten your arms (B). Perform a press-up then drop down to the start position.

7

Walking Lunge

The weight of the vest combined with forward motion adds extra stimulus. Lunge as far as you can with your right leg, bending your back knee so it almost brushes the floor (A). Push through your heel and step into the next lunge (B).

8

Upright Row

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the vest shoulder straps with an overhand grip, arms hanging (A). Pull the vest up to your chest, elbows high (B) to work your shoulders and upper back at the same time.

9

Vest Curl

Continuing from the previous move, hold the vest’s shoulder straps with an underhand grip (A) and just curl it as you would an EZ-bar, fists towards your shoulders, squeezing your biceps at the top of the movement (B).

10

Vest Gun Walk

Moving straight on from the previous move, hold the last curl (A) and take the vest for a walk (B). ‘It’s a great finisher,’ says Tracey. ‘You’ll be working your muscles isometrically and dynamically as you’re working against the weight.’

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