Weighted vests are a very popular tool when it comes to resistance training. On one hand, they do provide some resistance and there are some studies that have demonstrated their effectiveness as a part of cardiovascular conditioning. If you are running an intermediate level run or cycling a hill climb, then certainly a weighted vest would be beneficial.
But I’d be hesitant to go so far as to recommend putting them on every workout. If you do that, you are essentially decreasing the intensity of your workout and your overall cardio fitness, which you are trying to keep as high as possible. You should be training for performance. As a runner, that means that if your goal is to increase your performance during a race, you should train with the same intensity as you are going to perform at during your race.
And during the runs that I have put weighted vests on, the weight didn’t seem to help me move faster. So that’s one strike against using weighted vests for this purpose. On the other hand, weighted vests are extremely beneficial during certain sports. In swimming they can improve your performance. They can prevent the breakdown of muscle and increase your swimming performance.
But remember, you’re trying to train for swimming, not win a marathon. And during your swim workouts, make sure that you take any medications or supplements you need to make sure that you are getting enough oxygen. If you have heart problems, you need to avoid any exercise that increases your heart rate, because that can cause complications. Weighted vests are certainly not something I’d use for running or cycling. For these kinds of workouts, I would stick with the traditional mens stringer vests.
The other sports that I’ve seen a lot of evidence of their effectiveness are in the weightlifting world. Weightlifters tend to get a lot of weight on their backs because they are lifting heavy weights. The weights on a weightlifting bench are usually at least 70 pounds. And many weightlifters don’t bother to take any medications. They typically go through a fairly intensive workout and then they take a couple of ibuprofen and a few aspirin after the workout, which would seem to be safe to me.
However, I don’t recommend training this way in my sports. I would only use weighted vests in weightlifting, weightlifting for sport and physical fitness.
Another group that could benefit from weighted vests is gymnasts. Gymnasts tend to do the hardest moves, like the vault or the pommel horse. If the weights on these vests were fairly heavy, then you could actually carry the weight that you are putting on your shoulders. I think that would be a beneficial thing for gymnasts who are training to be well conditioned.
But in my sports, you don’t want to do any exercise where you are putting any significant weight on your shoulders. If you do any of the muscle-ups, you are putting significant weight on your shoulders. And those aren’t beneficial in my sports.
What you want to do in my sports is use weighted vests when you’re using your legs and your core for your workout. If you’re doing a cardio exercise that you can put on and take off the vest as needs be.