The best weighted vests to intensify your workouts

Take your training up a notch with one of the best weighted vests.

Farren Morgan and the best weighted vest

by Bryony Firth-Bernard |
Updated on

Whether your training has started to plateau or you’re looking to take your WOD up a gear, strapping on the best weighted vest is a one-way ticket to supercharge your workouts - whether you are in the Box or your home gym.

It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you’re doing — whether it be cardio, CrossFit, callisthenics, or strength training — a weighted vest ups the intensity, forcing your body to work harder, which can increase muscle growth and burn more calories. It's a valuable tool to have by the side of other cardio-strength crossover equipment, like battling ropes or kettlebells.

The best weighted vests at a glance:

Best overall weighted vest: Bulldog Gear 20kg Adjustable Weight Vest - View on Bulldog
• Best value weighted vest: Surreal Weighted Vest - View on Amazon
Best budget military-style weighted vest : Corinth Adjustable Weight Vest - View on Decathlon
Best weighted vest for CrossFit: 5.11 Plate Carrier - View on UK Tactical

Shop the best weighted vest deals on: Bulldog Gear | Decathlon | Amazon

The best weighted vests are fitness accessories designed to add extra resistance to various exercises, enhancing the intensity of workouts. These vests consist of pockets filled with small weights evenly distributed across the chest, back, and sometimes shoulders. The additional weight challenges the muscles, bones, and cardiovascular system, increasing strength, endurance and calorie burn.

One of the critical benefits of weighted vests is their versatility. Weighted vests are fantastic for adding more of a challenge to bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and lunges, as well as during cardio activities like walking, running, and hiking. This adaptability makes them popular among athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals aiming to diversify their routines.

However, as with all additions to a workout program, caution must be exercised when using weighted vests. Just like when you are training with dumbbells or other weight types, it is essential to start with a manageable weight and gradually increase it to prevent overexertion or injury. Individuals with joint or bone issues should consult a healthcare professional before incorporating weighted vests into their workouts. Additionally, excessive use or weight can strain the body and lead to adverse effects.

The best weighted vests to buy right now

Best weighted vest overall

This weighted vest from Bulldog Gear is ideal for your WOD. It has 18 pockets, split over the front and back of the vest, and comes with 18 solid metal 1kg weights so that you can tailor the weight to your workout. It’s comfy too, with padded shoulder straps, so there'll be no digging into the skin and it has a contoured shape to hug the body nicely.


  • Removable weights for flexibility
  • Padded shoulder straps for comfort
  • Shorter in length to prevent other body contact during the workout


  • A little bulky, which can reduce the ROM with some exercises

The best weighted vest for value

The Surreal Weighted Vest is an affordable way of getting into weighted vest workouts. As well as a fair price, the vest also offers up plenty of weight choice for buyers. It is available with weights from 5kg to 25kg, allowing you pick what works best for your workout program.

The build of the vest holds it close to the contours of the body, so it feels less bulky than other miltary-style vests. While this will be good news for some, others might feel that takes away from the challenge.


  • Fits to body shape
  • Affordable for newcomers
  • Available in wide range of weights


  • More durable vests available
  • Contour not for everyone

Best budget military-style weighted vest

This vest is easy to apply and has three different areas you can adjust the fit — from the front, back and shoulders — so it fits firmly against your body. You can alter the weight between 6kg to 10kg with four removable 1kg plates., It's a pretty decent amount for beginners to add a little more intensity to bodyweight workouts, especially for the price too.


  • Lots of adjustment areas to achieve the perfect fit
  • Fitted cut for full ROM


  • Not the heaviest, but a great starting point for beginners

Best weighted vest for CrossFit

5.11 TacTec plate carrier
Price: £175.50 (was £195)

5.11 has been used in numerous CrossFit games and Murph. Although this vest is pricey, when doing this type of training you want something that will last and is durable, which this definitely is as it was initially built as a ballistic plate carrier. Alongside its padded yoke shoulder straps, this vest has plenty of airflow channels so that you remain comfortable during training and, most importantly for CrossFitters, its innovative design allows maximum range of motion. Sadly, the weights do have to be purchased separately, but as we said, this vest is an investment.


  • Designed to give increased ROM
  • Shoulder pads offer extra comfort
  • Water-resistant coating so it can be used in any weather


  • Weighted plates have to be purchased separately

Expert's favourite best weighted vest

GORUCK Weight training vest
Price: £152 ($195)

When we talked to Farren Morgan, Founder of The Tactical Athlete and serving PTI in the Coldstream Guards, he picked this GORUCK weighted vest as his favourite. “GORUCKS Training Weight Vest is my favourite because its shoulder straps are unlike any other weight vest I’ve worn,” says Farren. “They’re very stable and easy to use during my workouts; they don’t bounce when I run and the material feels extremely comfortable against my skin. I like to do a lot of my training topless and with this vest, I don’t experience any rubs or burns.”


  • Padded shoulder straps for comfort and no digging into skin
  • Soft material, gentle on skin
  • Available in a range of colours
  • Cool design


  • Weight training plates have to be purchased separately
  • Shipped from the USA

Best weighted vest for running

Feel mobile and burn more calories during your runs with this sleek-fitting vest from Hyperwear, which is a thinner version of the Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro, one of the most popular weighted vests on the market. Its weighted blocks are removable and very thin, and the vest can be purchased in either 10, 15 or 20 lbs. It may not be the heaviest of vests on the market, but its slim profile and durable CORDURA® fabric allow you to maintain your full range of motion whilst on the move.


  • CORDURA® fabric is odour resistant, stretchy and breathable
  • Sleek and slim design, ideal for running and WOD
  • Easy zip fastening


  • Not the heaviest weighted vest on the market

Best weighted vest for intensity

This heavy-duty vest from Gravity Fitness is available in either 20kg or 30kg for those who are really looking to ramp up their training. The velcro straps make this vest easy to adjust to fit any body type, while the padded foam ensures you feel comfortable throughout your workouts. Good luck!


  • Shorter fit for full ROM
  • Removable weights for flexibility
  • Foam padding for comfort


  • Quite bulky with weights inside, which can decrease ROM with certain moves

What should you look for in a good weighted vest?

Not sure where to start when it comes to buying one? Who better to talk to than Farren Morgan, Founder of The Tactical Athlete and serving PTI in the Coldstream Guards. Also, don’t forget to check out his favourite weighted vest full body workout at the end of this article. Just make sure to have your gym towel at the ready as it's a killer...

It’s important that you find a weighted vest suited to your current fitness level and training, as they’re available in various sizes, weights and designs.

“The vest must fit firmly on your body for adequate compression, but still feel comfortable to wear,” says Farren. “It must provide enough mobility so that you can breathe with ease and move your arms and torso freely, as this will provide you with the best workout experience possible.”

An adjustable weighted vest — where you can remove/add more mass — is a smart buy, as it allows you to easily tailor the weight to your fitness levels. You can therefore start low and increase the weight as and when you feel ready to do so, just as you would with an adjustable dumbbell. This can also prevent the risk of injury, which could occur if you purchase a fixed weighted vest that is too heavy for you. However, if you’re simply looking to make your daily walks or runs more challenging then this style could be better, as their designs are usually minimal and less bulky.

What are the benefits?

Naturally, by adding more weight your muscles and cardiovascular system are going to have to work twice as hard, increasing the difficulty of your workout. “This can optimise your results and can contribute toward you reaching your fitness goals in a shorter time frame,” says Farren.

“You can also use them to add variety to your workouts with the adjustable weights to increase, or decrease, the intensity of your exercises. As a result, weighted vests also contribute to muscle mass, bone strength, endurance, strength, cardio, anaerobic metabolism, balance, posture and weight loss.”


Who should wear a weighted vest?

Almost anyone looking to improve the results of their training, or who's keen to take their workouts to the next level can wear one. However, one of the greatest mistakes Farren says people make when starting out is choosing a weight that is too heavy. "This can lead to back injuries, joint issues, and fatigue from overtraining. For this reason, I always advise beginners to start with lighter weights and gradually work their way up as they become accustomed to weighted vests. It’s also best to initially consult with your doctor before exercising with weighted vests, especially for those with a history of neck or spine injuries."

What are the best exercises to perform with a weighted vest?

As mentioned at the start of this article, weighted vests are great for a variety of training — whether that be running, bodyweight exercises, strength training, HIIT, or CrossFit.

Farren says light cardio routines work well “because they apply additional resistance to every movement made, which burns calories much faster and in shorter time frames than regular workouts”.

Below is Farren’s favourite full-body routine he likes to follow:

10 Jump Lunges - (5-leg)

30s Second Plank

10 Push-ups

200m Run

*Complete 10 rounds and rest for 2 minutes after each round

Bryony Firth-Bernard is a Health and Fitness Product Writer for What's The Best. She specialises in strength training.

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