Everything You Need To Know About Weighted Vests

Whether you want to achieve a calming effect or simply want to drop a few pounds, opting for weighted clothing can be the perfect way to do so. These easy-to-wear garments include built-in weights that tone and strengthen the muscles, resulting in improved body mass. The added pressure can also be used to soothe and calm children with ADHD, Asperger’s and Autism.

Rest assured, most of these clothing items are adjustable and can be worn while performing day-to-day activities.

Types Of Weighted Clothing

Want to get on onboard the latest fitness trends? Here’s your guide to the most popular kinds of weighted clothing:

Weighted Vest

Weighted vests are considered the pioneers of weighted clothing. You can apply resistance to your entire body using a weighted vest.

You can also use deep pressure vests to combat symptoms of hyperactivity and inattentiveness, resulting in a “hugging” sensation, which might be useful for calming down kids with sensory disorders. Some vests can also be heated and chilled for muscle therapy. This prepares the muscles before working out.

They also make for great fitness equipment and can be used for just about any exercise.

Studies have indicated that training with a weight vest can significantly increase body strength, build bone density, cut body fat and boost your stamina.

Most of the best models offer a slim fit and does not limit range of motion.

The form-fitting enables users to wear the vest under everyday clothing without it being noticeable.

Weighted Gloves

weighted gloves are nice

Weighted gloves are primarily used while performing aerobic and cardio exercises. They are also used by boxers and other martial artists.

These gloves add resistance to your workouts and play a vital role in sculpting the arms and muscles whilst improving hand speed.

Most weighted gloves feature weights on the back of the hands, thereby allowing you to move your palms freely for pushing, pulling and gripping.

Finding a glove that suits your hand size and style can be difficult. Once you have found the right fit, you can benefit from stronger arms and hand movement. Some gloves feature a zipper that allows you to add and remove weights.

Weighted Arm Sleeves

You can use a weighted arm sleeve for enhancing the strength and speed of your arms. You can strap on the vest to place weight on your forearm, adding gentle resistance but without the risk of injuring your shoulders or joints. The sleeves are primarily used for improving arm mechanics for golfers, martial artists and baseball players.

weighted arm sleeves work

Some sleeves are designed to be pulled over the forearm with no material around the elbow joint. This gives the elbow more room to more freely.

Apart from building arm strength, these sleeves are also great for engaging the core and strengthening muscle groups, such as hamstrings, glutes and quads. You can purchase sleeves that only cover the forearm and not the entire arm for added convenience.

Weighted Shirts

Weighted shirts are a combination of a weight vests and compression shirts which means you receive double the benefits. The shirt is used to compress the body in a form fitting style.

This puts pressure on the muscles and reduces strain on the joints.

This allows the wearer to perform maximum natural limb movements, resulting in dynamic motions.

Rest assured, most shirts are made using moisture wicking fabrics that allows the body to stay cool.

Opt for a material that contains anti-bacterial agents which can remove odors and germs as well.

This type of weighted shirt may be costly compared to those made using inexpensive materials but it will definitely be worth the price.

Wrist Weights

These are strappings on the wrist that can be a replacement for hand-held weights. Since your hands remain free, you can use the wrist weights for a relatively longer period of time to achieve leveraged resistance. The material can range from Velcro to neoprene. Opt for a material that is the most comfortable to handle.

Wrist weights are also used to promote specialized movements for activities, such as dance, martial arts and boxing. Also, they can be a quick, hassle-free solution to increasing strength in the shoulders, triceps and biceps, without using dumbbells. However, using wrist weights is not advisable for folks who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Weighted Belts

As the name indicates, these belts have special pockets to hold weights.

Its primary purpose is to provide more resistance while exercising.

Most weighted belts are adjustable and feature some pockets that allow you to carry bean bags, gel weights and small metal weights.

Some people prefer using a weighted belt over the vest as it allows a full range of motion.

However, these belts may restrict abdominal movements in some exercises, primarily because of the length and weight of the belt. It is essential you find a belt that is in accordance with your waistline. Some belts also include buckles and Velcro straps for added support.

Weighted Leg Sleeves

Weighted leg sleeves are a hip and stylish way to add more resistance to your lower legs while running and performing martial arts training.

They are also referred to as shin sleeves and provide added weight without restricting movement.

These sleeves are often made using thin, expandable fabrics that fit snugly around the calves. They are typically made using anti-bacterial fabrics to avoid skin irritation.

Some leg sleeves are made using sandbags that can rupture and tear if not cared for properly.

Ankle Weights

Ankle weights are incredibly popular for increasing resistance while running and walking. The added resistance improves leg strength while performing a number of exercises. These weights can also be used for adding resistance to muscles that are not in the legs.

This includes pull-ups and dips. The weights can range between 1lb. to 20lb. However, be careful, overusing ankle weights can potentially damage the knees and ankles because of added stress.

Who Benefits From Weighted Vests The Most?

Wondering why you should use a weighted vest? Here are some people who can benefit the most from these vests:

  • People Who Want to Lose Weight: Wearing a weighted vest while exercising increases the number of calories you burn because of the added weight
  • Athletes: Weighted vests offer endless benefits and go a long way in helping you stay fit, improve overall performance and allowing you to stay healthy. This is beneficial for athletes and professional soccer players.
  • ​Folks Who Want to Build Endurance: Wearing a weighted vest puts an increased load on muscles and forces the body to work much harder. This builds strength and endurance.
  • Children and Adults with Autism: The extra weight helps children and adults remain calm in stressful situations.

How A Weighted Vest Can Be Beneficial For Kids With Autism

Kids and adults with development disorders, such as autism or sensory autism disorder, have problems with sensory integration. This process refers to the way our mind processes input.

This is why elements, such as light and certain textures, can be difficult to process for people with sensory disorders, making them uncomfortable. Fortunately, a sensory weighted vest can be used to calm down adults and kids, which helps them respond calmly to certain stimuli. Here are a few benefits of using weighted vests:

Calming Properties

Kids and adults with autism find it difficult to remain calm when they are overwhelmed.

The added weight of the vest helps these people refocus and calm down. It is similar to wrapping an infant in a blanket and holding them close to stop them from crying.

A weighted vest offers the same comfort without the presence of another purpose.

Your child can thus wear the vest to school or to the playground.


People with sensory disorders have a tough time focusing work and play. Their constant need to be exploring and moving around can prevent them from completing day-to-day activities. This is also known as sensory seeking and can be troublesome if you are trying to get your child to read or to sit down.

These people want to perform tasks that will utilize large muscle groups, such as swinging, running and jumping. A weighted vest offers a similar sort of muscle pressure that helps your child remain focused and content.


If your child often gets overwhelmed by sensory input, you can allow him/her to take a break from what they are doing to run around and play. However, that might not always be possible, especially if your child is going to school and must follow a proper routine.

Fortunately, this is where weighted vests come into play. Go for vests made using thin materials that your child can wear under regular clothes. Wearing this vest will allow your child to carry out their usually activities whilst getting the sensory input they deserve.

Related Products

A weighted vest is a great option for kids and adults who require deep sensory stimulation for an extended period. Your child can wear the vest on his way to school, at home or while they are at the playground without feeling the need to take it off.

However, if you are an adult who needs an alternative product for your workplace, consider using a weighted lap pad. These pads will exert pressure on your legs. This can especially be beneficial for folks who have the tendency of acting out and throwing tantrums.

Tips For Introducing Your Child To Weighted Vests

Here are a few steps for introducing your child to weighted vests:

  • Measure your child and the vest to ensure it fits properly. Most vests come with a size chart so this shouldn’t be difficult. Ensure the vest is snug and fits your child appropriately or else he/she may feel agitated after a while.
  • Before choosing the appropriate weight, consider speaking to your child’s occupational therapist. The weight must be carefully adjusted and according to the child’s needs. The total should not exceed more than 10% to 15% of your child’s weight.
  • ​It is best you stick to material your child finds more comfortable. If it is winter, opt for materials, such as fleece, neoprene and fur. Denim and mesh would be a good choice for summers. While most vests can be used as ordinary articles of clothing, be sure to remove the weights first.
  • Aside from weight, some vests are also designed to provide pressure. If your child is a constant sensory seeker, he may benefit from a vest that combines both pressure and weight. You can also consider adding shoulder weights to keep your little one calm.

Once you have selected a particular vest, you can use the vest in variety of ways and situations. Most therapists suggest you use the weights for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3x a day. You may also take out the weights and vary it according to your convenience.

Also keep in mind these vests are not only designed for kids but can also be used by teens and adults who have problems regarding concentrating in class or during study time.

How To Make A DIY Weighted Vest

Unfortunately, we all know how most special needs equipment for kids can be expensive. Rest assured, there are plenty of ways you can make a DIY weighted vest. Weighted vests promote a “hugging” feeling that relaxes and soothes children with sensory problems. This helps them stay calm in difficult situations. Here is a simple guide that makes use of an old denim vest.


  • 2 to 4 bean bags
  • Old jean jacket or vest
  • ​Basic sewing supplies
  • ¼ yd. scrap fabric

Instructions For Building A DYI Weighted Vest

Follow these easy steps to make a trendy and hip vest for your little one:

  • First off, remove the sleeves from the jacket. You can use a seam ripper to do so. Skip this step if you are using a vest.
  • Cut the fabric into two pieces. One piece should be 2 inches longer than the bean bag while the other should be 1 inch larger.
  • ​Sew the top of both pieces together in a straight line. This will be the pocket where you can fit the bean bag.
  • ​Now it is time to place both the wrong sides of the fabric together. You may use a pin to attach it to the inside of the vest. However, don’t place the bean bags on the front flaps of the piece of clothing. Instead, attach it to the sides or on the back.
  • Attach the little pockets on the vests. You can draw dotted lines for guidelines. You should be able to tuck in the longer part of the pocket.
  • Now use the abovementioned steps to make another pocket for the vest.

Congratulations, you have your own DIY weighted vest. For added comfort, consider removing the buttons (if there are any) on the jacket and replace it with Velcro straps. This will keep the vest closed at all times. However, this step is optional and depends on the comfort of your child.

What Exercises Can You Use Weighted Vests For?

Want to know how you can put your weighted vest to good use? Here are a few exercises that will take your workout routine to the next level:

Weighted Running

Who said running was a boring exercise? You can spice up your morning jog by wearing a weighted vest. This fitness equipment will improve your performance and change the entire dimension of your training performance.

Running with an added load is difficult and makes your workout more challenging. As the body starts responding to the increased resistance, you will be able to run at a faster rate without the added weight. This will increase endurance and strength, enabling the body to run at the same pace with less energy.

Bodyweight Exercises Using A Weighted Vest

Weighted vests can be used for increasing intensity of all bodyweight exercises including squats, box jumps, pull-ups, squats and dips. However, we recommend you only start using a weighted vest once you are proficient in these exercises.

Once you have started using weighted vests, you will learn that it is an excellent way to develop incredible strength and overcome plateau.

Weighted Plyometrics

Looking for a fun exercise that won’t seem boring after a few days?

Weight vests go great with plyometrics. This exercise aims to increase the force and speed of muscular contractions, typically with the goal of increasing jump height.

If you wish to improve vertical jump, we suggest you invest in a high quality adjustable weighted vest.

This will add a couple of inches to your jump height. If you want to increase the intensity of the exercise, consider performing weighted squat jumps. The exercise helps increase explosiveness and strength. Simply perform regular squats while wearing the vest.


Using a weighted vest can be a great hit among people who are training for a marathon or other sporting events. Using weighted vests adds extra load that makes it difficult for people to move around.

This is why most people prefer using a relatively lighter vest at first so it does not put too much load on the joints and the cardio system. Keep in mind that most systems in the body are already working strenuously so you shouldn’t put too much additional pressure on it.

Weight Lifting

Another popular use of a weighted vest is for weight lifting. In fact, the vests are considered more useful when lifting free weights. This is one of the reasons why many circuit weight training machine feature seats to retain the body in a static position.

However, weighted vests can play an important role when using barbells and dumbbells.

The vest offers balance for the heavy weights you are carrying in your arms. The torso works against the vest as the limbs work on the free weights. This allows you to target a variety of muscle groups at the same time.

Squats And Lunges

Many people use weighted vests for performing exercises, such as squats and lunges. Some of these exercises can also be adapted for other workout tools, such as kettlebell and medicine ball.

These exercises cater to a range of fitness levels so that everybody can benefit from an awesome workout session. Not to mention, these activities also play an important role in building body strength.


Not a fan of running and jogging?

Perhaps it is time you take your workout sessions to a whole new level.

Weighted vests offer resistance for real and machine-stimulated climbing activities.

The thought of wearing a weighted vest while climbing might seem odd at first but it is definitely useful to train the body to handle greater challenges.

Sport Specific Exercises

Regardless of the sport you play, be it basketball, tennis, soccer or football, competitive sports training that involves focus on precise movements when you are on the field. Weighted vests can come in handy to bring out a more explosive response thanks to applied resistance.

However, before you use this equipment for added weight loss, consider speaking to a doctor who will help you select the right weight loss plan.

Acceleration Training

Acceleration training involves moving the body from rest efficiently and quickly. Wearing a weighted vest increases the level of difficulty during acceleration training due to increased bodyweight.

Agility And Speed Training

All speed drills and agility training are enhanced using weighted vests. This is because people have to put in more effort to maintain speed, thanks to increased bodyweight.

Weighted Walking

If losing weight is your ultimate goal, you can burn a lot of calories by wearing a weight vest. Rest assured, the vest won’t interfere with your normal day to day activities and will not interfere with your normal stride. However, it still manages to increase the activity intensity because of the added load.


Hopefully, this article has provided you all the information you need regarding weighted vests. Good luck.