To perform well in Muay Thai and MMA you have to be as fit as possible – and a weighted vest can really help you boost your fitness.
Using a weighted vest means you can do a lot of regular bodyweight exercises, but make them more difficult because of the extra weight you’re carrying. Pull ups, push ups, running, jumping etc are all more challenging when wearing a weighted vest.
In this article I’m reviewing the best weighted vests on the market, and comparing the features and benefits of them all.
You’ll have all the info you need to make the right choice to take your cardio training to the next level.
We R Sports XTR Adjustable Weighted Vest
The We R Sports XTR vest is an entry level weighted vest. It comes in a variety of weights and can be adjusted to suit your requirements.
The vest has a decent build quality and adds weight using sandbags that can be added or removed to various pockets on the vest.
Buy the heaviest vest you can, because the lighter ones have fewer pockets so you’d reach a weight limit quickly.
- Accessible price point for most users
- Adjustable, so you have a variety of weight options depending on the exercise
- Simple, nice design
- Soft padded straps
- Sweat resistant
- Sizing can be questionable – many users say the product doesn’t fit anyone under 5’8
- The stitching can be problematic for advanced users – with jogging, burpees etc. some users say the stitching can fault and the vest isn’t as robust as others
- Users report that the weights can fall out of the pockets easily
Powerfly Pro Fitness Weighted Vest
The Powerfully Pro weighted vest is a great quality mid-range weighted vest. Like many others, it’s weighted with removable sand bags so can be adjusted for different exercises.
The vest fits well, is adjustable and comes in a variety of weight limits. The simple, plain black design is a major plus point for a lot of people who prefer simplicity.
The Powerfully Pro vest has thick, adjustable strapping. Buy the heaviest you can for the weight variety.
- Great built quality – outperforms its price point
- Straps are long and allow for a lot of adjustment
- Huge variety and offers the ability to alter weight from 0.5kg to 20kg
- Comfortable to wear for most
- Very secure weight pockets – weights don’t fall out during exercise
- Shoulder straps can be a little narrow for a lot of larger frames
- Waist straps have to be secured very tightly during more dynamic movements as they can come loose
Adidas Weighted Vest
The Adidas Weighted vest is when things start to get a little more serious. This is a really solid product and the price point matches it.
As you’d expect from a high quality product, the build quality is fantastic and has none of the discomfort issues that are associated with cheaper vests.
At a maximum of 10kg weight this is lighter than lots of others, but still worthwhile for most.
- Fantastic build quality – no issues with stitching or weights coming loose
- Very adjustable so feels comfortable for people in a wide range of sizes
- Easy weight adjustment
- Perfectly balanced weight distribution around the body
- Being so comfortable and secure, you can use it for a wider variety of exercises than cheaper vests.
- Machine washable
- Lower upper limit than most, at only 10kg
- Although it’s one size fits all, particularly small people may struggle with the sizing
TNP Adjustable Weighted Vest
The TNP Adjustable Weighted Vest is one of the cheapest of the vests reviewed here, but it’s surprisingly good quality for the price.
It has many of the features of the other vests – adjustable weight and size, with extra padding for improved user comfort. It certainly punches above its weight in terms of quality for the price.
- Adjustable upper weight limit – vests available from 5kg to 30kg
- Secure strapping – for most exercises the vest stays firmly in place
- Comfortable, with plenty of padding
- Weights stay in place throughout any workout
- Sweat resistant
- Inconsistent stitching quality – the vast majority of products are great, but some have poor stitching
- Not perfectly suited to running, but most other exercises seem OK
Viavito Unisex’s Weighted Vest
The Viavito Unisex Weighted Vest comes in at a lower mid-range price point.
The vest is a change in design for the weighted vest market, with a buckle strap at the front and the weight on the back. In this vest the weight is sewn into the fabric, so isn’t adjustable.
The plus side means there are no issues with weight falling out though. The vest includes a mesh pocket for drinks bottles.
- Weights stitched into material so can’t come loose
- Thick shoulder straps to prevent shoulder discomfort
- Constructed from a soft material
- High vis strips on the straps, ideal for night running safety
- Not as bulky as other vests
- Only having a single strap at the front can lead to the vest bouncing around uncomfortably
- Plastic clip known to break regularly if vest is used for distance running
- Design limits practicality – it’s great for basic work, but can’t cope with high intensity training
BodyRip Comfort Padded Deluxe 2.0 Weighted Vest
The BodyRip Comfort Padded Deluxe 2.0 is another mid-priced vest, boasting many of the features found at higher price points.
It has a simple design, is adjustable both in terms of fit and weight and offers a widespread weight distribution to help balance the vest.
The fitting straps are wide and secure the vest in place well. The vest doesn’t absorb sweat and is well padded for comfort.
- Wide range of weights available – 5 to 25kg
- Fabric is sturdy and feels good quality
- Straps secure the vest tightly in place for a range of workouts
- Easy to put on and take off
- Build quality can be inconsistent – most are great, but some users report poor stitching
- Not ideal for shorter users – the fit can be long in the body
- Some users say the weights can pop out of the vest, but this is rare
Yosoo Load Adjustable Weighted Exercise Vest
The Yosoo Load Adjustable Weighted Vest is an interesting concept – it arrives as an empty, un-weighted vest that you fill yourself, so you can use whatever weight material you see fit.
The amount of weight you can add therefore is variable dependent on the substance you use. The build quality is solid and the fit is good for most users.
- Well made and the stitching is consistently good quality
- Great quality materials used in the construction, so it stands up to tough use
- Metal buckles on the side straps ensures a secure and strong fitting
- Widely adjustable to suit a range of sizes
- The vest comes un-weighted, so you have to fill the bags yourself. This adds more work and potentially more expense
- Pockets for weights aren’t closable, so any weight you put in there can fall out if you’re not careful
- The vest may be a little too big for smaller users
RDX 20Kg Adjustable Weighted Vest
As with most RDX products, like their gloves, the RDX Adjustable Weighted Vest is a high quality piece of kit. It’s made with high grade, hard wearing materials and fits tightly, keeping it in place throughout any workout.
Available in a range of weights, the adjustable vest is sweat wicking and will suit users of all sizes and abilities.
- Made from high grade materials – crack resistant, tear resistant and sweat resistant
- Snug fitting – doesn’t slip when running, sprinting or performing plyometrics
- Bright design with light-reflecting strips, so useful for outdoor running
- Adjustable weights up to 20kg
- Well padded and the straps are effective
- The snug fitting means the vest can be a challenge to get off!
- Can be a little bulky for some people
See also: best vibration plates
How to choose the best weighted vest for your training
In this section I’ll discuss the different variables of the weighted vests and how they will affect your training.
No two vests are entirely alike, so you have to consider your specific needs in your training and make decisions based on that.
These are the main considerations for you as a user…
Comfort & fit
This is about the design, the shape and the padding. As somebody training for combat sports you’re going to need a vest that fits you well and can cope with the dynamic nature of your training. You’ll be running, jumping, rolling and twisting in your vest. It needs to stay in place throughout demanding workouts.
Alongside the vest staying in place, you also have to consider how comfortably the shoulder straps will fit and how effective the side straps will be at keeping the vest comfortable around your waist. These may seem insignificant, but an uncomfortable weighted vest will ruin your training.
Weights and weight adjustability
The reality is that different workouts and exercises will need different weights. You’ll also become fitter through training, so may need to increase the weight over time – this means your ability to adjust the weight of the vest will be important.
You’ll need to know what weights come with the vest, how heavy it can be at full weight and if possible, can you buy extra weight. It’s important to consider the security of the weights – in some cases weights can fall out of the pockets during use, reducing the weight of the vest.
Most vests will state their maximum weight, usually anywhere between 5 and 40kg. Generally MMA fighters will need 10kg and above.
How big the vest is can affect your ability to exercise properly. Most vests are made as one size fits all, but in reality if you are particularly small, the vest may be uncomfortable and difficult to train in because it’s too long or bulky.
Additionally, think about how much of your body the vest design covers. If there’s too much coverage you may end up getting too hot, too quickly.
Choosing the best weighted vest for your training
In this article we’ve looked at different styles of vests and a range of weights, prices and individual design features.
When you decide what you are looking for in a vest and what your budget is, you can make an informed decision based on a range of products across a wide section of the market.