The Best Weight Vests Reviewed: Top Rated Training Picks For CrossFit Murph, Running & Women

Have you been starting to feel that your regular 5k runs just don’t give you the same burn they used to?

Are you *gasp* breezing through sets of pull-ups?

Maybe your weight training has become a lot easier and you’re struggling to push yourself. As you repeat the same exercises, your body adapts and you have to up the intensity to keep seeing results.

An easy way to push yourself in your workout is to add resistance. You might have heard of this in the gym, adding a resistance band or upping the weights you use is a simple way to increase intensity and maintain progressive overload.

...but, if you are a runner or love CrossFit, how do you add resistance?

Simply incorporate a weighted vest.

Weighted vests have become increasingly popular thanks to the Murph workout, created in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, and general high intensity workouts like CrossFit.

Here are some of the best weighted vests for running, CrossFit, weight training and strenuous physical challenges like the annual Murph workout.

No matter what your workout style is, there’s a weight vest you can try.

The Top 6 Weighted Vests Reviews

1. Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Unisex

Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Unisex

Our Verdict: Best Overall

The Hyperwear Hyper Vest the best weighted vest overall as it has something for everyone. 

It is great Murph and, despite being recommended for such an intense workout, it is also a great option for lower intensity training because of its lightweight design.

The vest comes with 10lbs built in and the option to increase the weight by adding booster packs. The weight is distributed evenly over the vest to encourage overall strength building and muscle toning.

What makes this vest so popular for fans of Murph is its many design benefits. The vest is lightweight, comfortable, and odor and sweat resistant. The unisex design is thoroughly adjustable because of the lacing at the side, which allows you to adjust the size whilst keeping it snug to the chest.

The thin material also allows for a great range of motion, meaning that you can complete all the different exercises required in the Murph workout with ease of movement. This includes a one-mile run, one hundred pullups, two hundred push ups, three hundred squats and finishing with another one-mile run.

Another reason this vest is popular amongst both men and women is that it can be worn subtly under your running clothes. If you want to go for a run or workout without drawing attention to the added weight, this vest can be hidden quite easily under a light workout T-shirt.

The weights are held within a thin rubber casing and are also easily disguised. However, some customers have complained that these casings might not be as durable as other materials.

It also includes shoulder pads for extra comfort during your run and is light and breathable. The breathability of the vest prevents rubbing or heat rash and keeps you cool during your workout, no matter what the intensity.

It even repels sweat and odor to keep you feeling fresher throughout your workout. What’s more, the light material is easy to clean and machine washable unlike many other vests.

Pros:

  • Great for Murph workout
  • Lightweight
  • Machine washable
  • Odour and sweat resistance
  • Unisex & adjustable to all sizes
  • Breathable and cool
  • Easy to move
  • Comes in 10lbs with option to increase weight
  • Includes shoulder pads for comfort
  • Easily concealable

Cons:

  • Some customers have complained about quality of material and lack of durability

2. MiR Adjustable Weighted Vest

MiR Adjustable Weighted Vest

Our Verdict: Best Compact Option

This compact weight vest is smaller than other options, covering just the abdomen and the upper chest.

The size of the vest allows for greater flexibility and movability, as your arms and torso are free to twist and move, and concentrates the weight on the chest and abdomen area for improved muscular strength in these areas.

This makes the Mir Weight Vest the best weight vest for CrossFit because of its snug and comfortable design. Another key benefit of this flexible design is reduced risk of injury.

This product is also one of the top-rated weight vests for the Memorial Day Murph. With all the different body weight exercises and intensity of this workout, the vest has to be durable and made from high quality material.

Although the vest can take more weight, it comes with 20 lbs to start off with and you can order more weights to add to it. All the weights are removable so you can adjust the intensity to your desired weight.

The weights are also made from iron meaning they are more durable than sandbags as they cannot rip. The smaller weight to start with is ideal for those who are new to weight vests as it is essential to increase intensity slowly.

As well as adjustable weight, the vest itself is adjustable meaning that one size can fit most. However, customers have found that this vest is more suited to men, despite the adjustable size.

Finally, the snug fit prevents the weights from moving too much during your workout making this weighted vest great for running and CrossFit. Another downside is that some customers have found the front to back design of the straps can be difficult to use.

Pros:

  • Freedom to move torso and arms
  • Best for CrossFit
  • Adjustable- one size fits most
  • Removable weights
  • High quality and durable
  • Great for Murph
  • Iron weights as oppose to sandbags
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to use due to strap design
  • Not as suitable for women

3. Empower Weighted Vest for Women

Empower Weighted Vest for Women

Our Verdict: Best for Women

This is the best weighted vest for women as it is designed specifically to fit the female form and increase comfort during your workout.

The unique X shape fits the female figure well and the lighter weight makes it one of the best vests for running and other cardio exercises.

The vest weighs a maximum of 16lbs and this weight can be adjusted by adding or taking away weights in the form of 1lb bags, from the front of the vest. The strapped in weights are more secure and less likely to move during your workout, again, making this one of the best weight vests for running.

The weight is distributed evenly throughout the vest to allow for overall muscle toning and a more natural feeling.

The small increase in weight is great for burning extra calories and you can use this vest for everyday activities as well as during your workout, just to increase calorie expenditure. It also improves stamina and lung capacity gradually using a small weight that won’t cause added strain on the back or joints.

In addition, includes a small pocket for keys or your phone, which is handy for day to day activities.

The vest is slightly adjustable at the waist, claiming to fit waist sizes of 24in-48in, however, some people have found that this adjustability is not enough to fit all sizes. It is easy to put on using a simple buckle up design and won’t rub or slip during exercises which require a lot of movement like running or yoga.

It also has reflective straps on the front and back so you will be more visible during your evening run.

What’s more, the Lycaspandex fabric is soft and stretchy to add to the comfortable, light and form fitting design. Although this is the best weighted vest for women, you might be looking for something which adds more intensity to your workout which would require a heavier weight.

If you are looking for a small but noticeable increase in weight, this could be the best option for you.

Pros:

  • X-shape designed specifically for women
  • Smaller weight for lighter intensity
  • Adjustable weights
  • Includes small pocket for keys & phone
  • Great for cardio & burning more calories
  • Soft, stretchy fabric which is easy to clean
  • Can make adjustments to waist size
  • Reflective for low lighting runs

Cons:

  • One size might not be adjustable enough for everyone
  • Only comes in lighter weight of up to 16lbs
  • Sand bag weights could tear and might be less durable than metal weights

4. RUNFast Max Pro Weighted Vest

RUNFast Max Pro Weighted Vest

Our Verdict: Best for Running

As the name suggests, this is the best weighted vest for running but it is also great for a range of workouts. It comes in a variety of weights from 12lbs to 60lbs and you can buy more weights at a later stage to add to the vest and increase resistance.

This is ideal for building up the intensity of your workout slowly. However, the more weights you buy, the more expensive the product will be overall.

The RUNFast Max Pro comes in one size and can be purchased with or without shoulder pads, although, customers have recommended buying the extra pads for comfort whilst running.

This vest is the best weight vest for running because of the stability of the weights which is aided by the belt around the middle. The belt stops the weights from moving during your run and allows for a comfortable overall experience.

In addition, it comes with a handy pocket for your phone or music playing device as well as a useful water bottle holder so that you don’t have to worry about carrying anything on your run. It is also a snug fit and breathable meaning you won’t get too hot on your runs.

The high-quality nylon material creates a comfortable and adjustable vest which is said to be one size fits all, however, this might not fit every body type. Nevertheless, this vest is great for increasing stamina over a long period of time with exercises like hiking.

As well as running and hiking, this vest is great for weight training as you can increase the resistance slowly and use it with other equipment such as resistance bands and medicine balls.

The weight is evenly distributed around the vest allowing for overall strength and muscle building.

Pros:

  • Variety of weights which are adjustable
  • Comfortable and snug fit
  • Includes pockets for music player and water
  • Durable high-quality nylon material
  • Good for both running and weight training
  • Evenly dispersed weight
  • Keeps weights in place with belt

Cons:

  • One size (might not fit all)
  • Have to buy shoulder pads separately
  • Not very breathable and can get hot

5. Cross 101 Adjustable Camouflage Weighted Vest

Cross 101 Adjustable Camouflage Weighted Vest

Our Verdict: Best for CrossFit Murph

For lovers of CrossFit and high intensity workouts like Murph, this vest is your best option. The Cross 101 is the best weighted vest for CrossFit as the high weight capacity really allows you to push your limits.

The vest comes with different amounts of weight, which can be added or removed, from 20lbs to 140lbs. The weights come in 4lb iron weights which are a preferable option to sand bags as they cannot rip.

The camouflage design makes it different from the other vests in terms of style and can help you blend in on a hike or run through the woods. Although it is a favourite for CrossFit athletes, some customers have suggested that this vest is better for bodyweight exercises than running because of rubbing caused on the shoulders. However, you can purchase shoulder pads separately which insert easily into the vest.

Despite its high capacity for weight, the Cross 101 is relatively compact, being only 15cm in length. There are a number of pockets for adding resistance and a water bottle holder which accommodates water bottles of 16oz and less.

Another reason why this is the best CrossFit weight vest is that it is very durable, meaning it can take on the vigorous exercises included in CrossFit. It even comes with a manufacturer’s warranty in case of breakages.

This vest is also easy to put on and adjust with a simple Velcro strap at the front. However, it only comes in one size which might not be suitable for all customers and some have critiqued that it can get quite hot compared to the more breathable options.

Pros:

  • Cool camouflage design
  • Warranty
  • Adjustable weight with ranges of 20-140lbs
  • Optional shoulder pads
  • Durable
  • Water bottle holder
  • Easy to put on and adjust

Cons:

  • Some customers have complained of rubbing when running
  • Shoulder pads sold separately
  • Can get hot

6. ZFOsports Weighted Vest

ZFOsports Weighted Vest

Our Verdict: Best for Weight Training

For those looking to improve their weight training or endurance gradually this is a great option. It comes in a range of weights from 20lbs-80lbs which can be adjusted at increments of 2.5lbs making it the best weighted vest for weight training and increasing endurance over time.

As well as high intensity exercises like weight training and CrossFit, you can use this vest for light cardio like running by removing some of the weights and running with a weight as low as 4lbs.

The weight is adjusted by adding or removing sand weights in 2-ply nylon seal bags which are reasonably durable compared to other sand bag weights. The weights are also evenly distributed on the front and back of the vest making it great for weight training as you can build strength on every part of the body.

Because of the all over coverage, some people have found that the vest can be hot to run in. However, the sweat resistant material should keep you feeling fresh during your run.

The Velcro shoulder straps keep the vest held tight to the body so that it doesn’t move during high intensity exercises or running. It also comes in black and an arctic camouflage design so you have a choice of styles and the material used is high quality and durable.

In addition, this vest contains pockets that can accommodate your phone, wallet and other small items you might need during your workout. It comes in one size which might not fit all body types but it is designed for both men and women so it is adjustable.

Pros:

  • Range of weights which can be increased in 2.5lb increments
  • Comes in two designs
  • Adjustable Velcro straps
  • For men and women
  • Pockets for small items
  • Even weight distribution
  • Snug fit
  • High quality and durable material

Cons:

  • Can get hot during running
  • One size

How Can I Use a Weighted Vest?

man doing pull-ups with weight training vest

A weighted vest doesn’t have to be used for a specific type of exercise. It is simply a way to add resistance and raise the intensity of whatever workout works for you. Whether you prefer weight training or running, there are vests suited to each purpose.

If you are a regular runner, you might find that, despite increasing the speed or distance of your runs, you are not seeing results as quickly as before. This is where you can use a weighted vest to increase the intensity of your run so that you feel the same burn that you did when you first started running.

I have often found that after reaching a plateau in my workouts, I have to increase my weights or add a resistance band to feel the same burn that I felt before. But I struggled to find a way to increase the intensity of my runs.

This is where a weighted vest can make a real difference to your overall workouts as it can be used for both weight training and cardio, incorporating resistance into all aspects of your exercise. 

The same way a training mask is used for a more intense workout, a weighted vest is surely going to be an added challenge.

Weighted vests have become popular because of the CrossFit Games and Murph: high intensity exercise challenges which really push competitors to their limits. If you are looking for a hardcore workout, why not give CrossFit or Murph a try with a weighted vest. 

Remember to start out with a lower weight and raise the intensity step by step. This will help you reach the results you are looking for in terms of physique and physical strength faster and more effectively.

Here’s an inside peek at what it takes to take on the “Murph” workout:

Benefits of Using a Weighted Vest

When using a weighted vest, you can expect to feel the same advantages of your regular exercise with amplified results. These benefits include weight loss, increased stamina and endurance as well as stronger bones.

Weight loss is induced by the extra calorie expenditure required to carry the weight of the vest. This means that you don’t even need to use it as part of an exercise routine to lose weight. You can use it whilst going for a walk or doing chores around the house and burn more calories with every step.

two runners with weight vests

The added weight also encourages your bones to strengthen, which is particularly beneficial to women who are more prone to bone problems in older age than men. Other benefits include all over muscle toning as weight is evenly distributed throughout your workout.

Lastly, using a weighted vest makes it easy to increase the intensity of your exercise step by step. This is the safest option for building strength and avoids injuries which can result from overexerting yourself too quickly. They are a great way to add resistance to core workouts when using an adjustable ab sit up bench. 

Weight vests are a great alternative to even the best weighted dip belts because the added resistance is evenly distributed around your torso instead of just hanging from one single point, which can be awkward. 

Your body is able to get accustomed to the added weight bit by bit, avoiding muscle strains whilst weight training or painful joints whilst running.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

As with all resistance training, you have to be careful not to push your body too far without increasing your strength over time.

Because of the distribution of the weight all over the body, you have to be aware of lower back problems or previous injuries which might worsen from the extra weight.

And then loosen up on a good type of rebounder to boost recovery and reduce the joint pressure you got from an all intense workout.

It is also recommended that complete beginners do not use a weighted vest. Start with simple body weighted exercises and work up to using a vest.

Conclusion

Whether you love cardio, weight training, Murph, CrossFit or a simple run outdoors, adding a weight vest to your regular exercise can really give you that extra push. Just like increasing your weights at the gym, a weighted vest allows you to increase your capacity step by step.

If you are new to using a training vest, go for an option which allows you to start with a lower weight and work up slowly like our #1 overall choice the Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Unisex

You’ll love the comfort from the built-in shoulder pads and full range of motion from this lightweight option, which will allow you to fully focus on your workout session.

For women, you will love the Empower Weighted Vest for Women the most with its X-shape design and adjustable configurations.

Finally, if you’re looking for that super intense burn, why not use your weighted vest for a Murph workout or CrossFit and really push yourself to the limit!

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