The 8 Best Weighted Vest for Calisthenics

best weighted vest

If you are into calisthenics you have probably heard of the term weighted calisthenics and weighted vest before. This is an old training method. Soldiers have used it whenever they wear heavy backpacks or even ancient armies that carried 15 kg of armor in battle. But over the past decade, weighted vests have started to make an appearance in calisthenics and crossfit too. Especially calisthenics is all about training with your own body weight. So no dumbells or barbells to put heavy loads on. But if you have been doing bodyweight training you may notice the exercisess are too light and you can easily do 100 reps. Many first notice this when training legs.

Here is where weighted vests come into play, adding between 5 to 25 kg of extra weight on your body significantly increases difficulty of exercises like 1-leg squat, push-up and the pull-up. It brings more hypertrophy and strength with the same exercises. So, to help you find the best weighted vest we have created this buyer’s guide for you. We have tried out as many products as we could and have ranked the best weighted vest for calisthenics. The vests are also usable for other kinds of training like crossfit.

The Best Weighted Vest for Calisthenics

1. Gravity Fitness Weighted Vest

  • Weight: 20 Kg/44 lbs adjustable and evenly divided on chest and back
  • Style: One size fits all with-fully adjustable Velcro straps
  • Colour: Black
  • Washable: handwash only
  • Price: 116.57 euro / 137.55 USD

By far the best weighted vest for calisthenics is the Gravity Fitness weighted vest. Gravity Fitness always delivers great quality and their weighted vests are perfect for calisthenics. They are made of a very durable nylon construction which lets you train with it for years. The 20 kg is divided over 20 solid metal weights over chest, belly and back. The weights are removable so you can customize it completely the way you want it. That is really perfect for training. The short low-profile helps to allow a full range of motion (ROM) which is very important especially with push-ups. Additionally, the vest is great for exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups and pull-ups.

Other vests sometimes make it difficult to do push-up exercises. If you have a long low-profile the weights hang to the floor more and disable you from a full ROM push-up. Or they will touch the floor and reduce your extra weight. So that is not ideal. And it is one of the reasons why Gravity Fitness is the best weighted vest for calisthenics.

Benefits

The vest comes with extra foam padding for optimum comfort and easy to pull on/off. There is the weighted part and a strap to attach it to your body. The separation makes it easier to put it on or take it off. In our opinion, it also looks very cool, like you’re wearing a black bulletproof vest that matches every training gear.

Since this vest allows optimal mobility it means that while running the vest is somewhat loose which makes it more bounceable than other vests. This is a con for Gravity Fitness. Sometimes, you can’t have both. One solution if you want to go running with it is to make the vest max 10 kg and hold it a bit while running. Not ideal though. Like with any vest you can get sweaty. So make sure to wear a shirt underneath the vest and wash it regulary.

2. MiR Air Flow Weighted Vest

  • Weight: 9-27 Kg/ 20-60lbs adjustable and evenly divided on chest and back
  • Style: One size fits all
  • Colour: Black/grey
  • Washable: Machine washable (remove the weights)
  • Price: 110 – 247euro / 93 -209 USD

The Mir Air flow weighted vest follows its own principle, mainly a good airflow in the material. It is the best weighted vest if you only look at the breathing nature of it.

Like mentioned above, with most weighted you get sweaty since the material does not allow great airflow. But this vest does. It cools of your body and lets you sweat into your vest. The hybrid material in the vest allows air to come through and cool off your body. Another great thing is that after your training you can throw it into the washing machine and you have a clean vest afterwards. This vest has the same short low profile as the Gravity Fitness vest, giving you more mobility for calisthenic exercises. The solid iron weights are removable and sit on your chest, belly and back. The hybrid material does not look as durable as other weighted vests designs. But they claim it lasts a lifetime.

Small but Important Disadvantage

You may think this vest is made for running, since the airflow design is so great, but no. It faces the same problem as the gravity fitness vest, making it perfect for calisthenics but not running. The biggest difference is that Gravity Fitness also has extra foam padding, for example in the shoulders. This makes a huge difference when you train with 10 to 20 kg. After some exercises you’ll notice the vest is pressing heavily on your shoulders which can cause pain or feel uncomfortable. Gravity Fitness prevents that.

The MiR air flow weighted vest is available in 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 lbs. Our recommendation would be the 50 lbs (22 kg) vest, since you can adjust the weight down with 3lbs (1.5 kg) per weight. The price is around 173 euro/ 204 USD excluding shipping.

3. Hyperwear Hyper vest PRO

  • Weight: Standard 2,3 Kg/ 5lbs – 4,5 Kg/ 10 lbs depending on size vest
  • Style: S- XXL
  • Colour: Grey
  • Washable: handwash only
  • Price: 169eurov/ 200 USD

The Hyperwear vest PRO is different from the other vests. This vest also gives great mobility to your shoulders, but does not have a low profile. Instead, it’s attached completely to your body and over your belly. But its design is made to not come loose. This allows you to do all kinds of exercises like push-ups and pull-ups, but also running and jumping. For running, this is the best weighted vest. But it is not the best weighted vest for calisthenics.

The vest is easy to put on and has a zipper to close it, instead of a strap. They say it’s the thinnest vest made with steel weights divided over the entire vest. It’s unisex. But there are also different designs for men and women for the best fit per body.

Depending on your size the vest has a maximum capability of 10.5 kg / 23lbs – 30 kg / 66 lbs depending on size vest. A bit unfortunate for smaller people. The sizes come in S-XXL and has weight/height recommendations. But this comes with a problem. The vest looks more build for athletic figures. The sides have stretchy side lacing elastics. If you have more belly fat this could be a problem, especially if you are short. It could also feel too tight for women if you are curvy. Nevertheless, if it fits it’s a great vest to use. We recommend this vest for people who do bootcamp or crossfit bodyweight exercises since it’s great for explosive movements.

4. Chris Heira Weighted Vest

  • Weight: 16Kg/ 35 lbs adjustable and evenly divided on chest and back
  • Style: One size fits all
  • Colour: Black
  • Washable: handwash only
  • Price: 152 euro/ 179.99 USD

Chris Heria is a well-known calisthenics athlete, with his own weighted vest. His vest has a slim design, with adjustable straps for every size. Like with the first 2 vests on this list it has a short low profile for optimal ROM. The material is nylon and it has some extra foam padding on the shoulders. Very similar to the Gravity Fitness vest and MiD Air flow vest. The biggest differences are that the maximum weight is just 16 kg (for beginners and intermediates no problem)

The design is a bit slimmer which looks better, but must be very closely strapped to not to move around your body. This gives you somewhat more compression to your chest which makes breathing a bit harder compared to the others. The vest is also not suitable for running. In conclusion though, it’s another solid vest to use for calisthenics.

5. Aduro Weighted Vest

  • Weight: 2,7-13,61 Kg/ 4-30 lbs not adjustable and evenly divided on chest and back
  • Style: Suitable for men, women and children (different designs with adjustable strap)
  • Colour: Black
  • Washable: Handwash only
  • Price: 21 – 72 euro/ 25 – 85 USD (depending on weight)

This is one of the smaller vests on the list and made for all activities. The vest is closlye attached to mainly your upper back and chest. With a strap adjustable to any size. The weight is evenly distributed on the vest to make sure you get no injuries. Jumping also isn’t an issue. You can compare it to the Hyperwear PRO vest, but without the belly part.

The neoprene material, combined with its slim design lets the vest breath so you won’t be too sweaty. It’s the first vest on this list with mesh pockets where you can store extra weights or your phone. Unfortunately, you can’t adjust the weights within the vest, meaning the 25 pound vest can’t become lighter. The mesh pocket allows you to make it heavier but for beginners it can be challenging. Also for running you may want a different weight than for pull-ups, which is not possible. A great vest if you just want some extra weight in your training without spending too much money.

6. Zelus Weighted Vest

Design 1

  • Weight: 2.7 – 9 kg / 4- 20 Lbs not adjustable and evenly divided on chest and back
  • Style: One size fits all (different designs with adjustable strap)
  • Colour: Black
  • Washable: handwash only
  • Price: 15-76 euro/ 18-90USD

Design 2

  • Weight: 2.7 – 4.5 kg / 4 – 10 Lbs or 9 – 14.5 / 20 – 32 Lbs not adjustable and evenly divided on chest and back
  • Style: One size fits all (different designs with adjustable strap)
  • Colour: Black
  • Washable: handwash only
  • Price: 34 – 60 euro/ 40 – 71 USD

Design 1 looks a lot like the Aduro weighted vest, but slightly bigger. It’s made of neoprene rubber with iron sand in it giving it extreme durability and weight. It has a removable front pocket for your personal belongings like a phone or key and a mesh pocket for extra storage or weight. Like the Aduro one it’s made for all activities like running or calisthenics. But the weight is not adjustable and maximum 9 kg. It scores lower on our list because it’s designs are not as compact compared to Aduro.

Design 2 is a lot slimmer on your upper body, but wider on your lower body. The weight is distributed on chest, belly and lower back. It has a lower profile which is not great for push-ups. It’s heavier than design 1 and build more for calisthenics, since you can add more weight. The shoulders are free for more mobility. But running, jumping etc. is possible with both designs. It also has an extra pocket for your belongings. Both designs have reflectors, which is unique. This is ideal for if you running early in the morning, evening or night.

Overall, both are good designs and you can chose which one suits you more.

7. Henkelion Weighted Vest

  • Weight: 2.7 – 9 kg / 4- 20 lbs not adjustable and evenly divided on chest and back
  • Style: One size fits all (different designs with adjustable strap)
  • Colour: Black, grey, pink, blue and purple
  • Washable: handwash only
  • Price: 15 – 42 euro / 18 – 50 USD

The Henkelion weighted vest is made of neoprene material, soft elastic and is breathable. This means you won’t sweat as much with this vest compared to others. The design is very identical to the Aduro vest. The weight is made of iron pellets & metal rock and not adjustable. It’s evenly divided over the vest. It has a lower weight profile but the strap around your waist/belly button needs to be tight. Your shoulders are free to move for calisthenics exercises. Furthermore, it has a mesh pocket and you can run with it. Compared to other vests that are good for running this one scores overall lower on our list. It’s not as comfortable and smooth as the others.

8. Adidas Full Body Weighted Vest

  • Weight: 10 kg / 22 lbs adjustable and evenly divided on chest and back
  • Style: One size fits all (with adjustable strap)
  • Colour: black with red stripes
  • Washable: Washable only (remove weights)
  • Price: 113 euro / 133 USD

The Adidas full body weighted vest is designed and developed with Adidas athletes for an optimal result. It’s made for calisthenics, running and jumping exercises. The material is very durable and made for extreme weather conditions. It has a zipper system with straps so it won’t move during your training.

A unique feature is that it has 2 rings where you can hang a resistance parachute on to train sprinting. This unique feature makes it the best weighted vest if you just want to sprint. But we are looking for the best weighted vest for calisthenics so that’s a reason it is low on this list. The total weight is 10 kg evenly divided over belly and back and are adjustable. The neoprene material lets the vest breathe as the others. In training use it’s good, but not as great as others in the list.

Note: depending where you live (USA/ Europe) there could be a big price difference with shipping costs. This could bne a factor in your purchase.

What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Weighted Vest

1. How comfortable is your weighted vest?

This is the most important factor in our opinion. You should buy a vest that suits your body and can be worn for 1 to 2 hours depending on your training. Also if you want to run with the weighted vest make sure it stays in its place without shifting and disturbing your balance. Some vests have padding in the shoulders making it easier for your shoulders to carry all the weight. Not all one-size-fits all will suit your body so measure yourself beforehand and take a look at the reviews for your size. Some may like short vests more because of the range, while others may find it better when the weight is divided over the entire torso like a long vest.

2. Is the weight adjustable or fixed?

The best weighted vests for calisthenics are adjustable. For running, fixed ones are better. We recommend an adjustable weighted vest. So if you’re a beginner your can train with lower loads and build up gradually. More into weighted running? Than a fixed vest is a better option, since they stay in their place. The weight is always evenly distributed in all places. It all depends on your goals.

3. How much weight can it carry?

Don’t buy a 10 kg / 22 lbs vest now when it will not be enough next year. Search for a weight that will be challenging for you in years to come as well. Adjustable vests are better suited for this. Are you on a level where you don’t want to progress more but just stay in shape you can buy a weight that suits you. Most vests go to 20 – 25 kg / 44 – 55 lbs max.

4. What material are the weight increments made of?

Most of the time there will be bags made of sand, iron/steel barbs or iron sand. There cheap vests (20-40 euro) that use sand bags. Please don’t go for these. They often rip and you can’t re-use them anymore. The better weighted vests on our list have steel or iron barbs, which is a decent material that’s durable. This means your vest often can be used in many years of training.

5. Short vs full sized weighted vests

The best weighted vest for calisthenics is short sized, for running the best weighted vest is full sized. If you want to do weighted push-ups you should buy a short-weighted vest. One of us had a full-sized vest and tried weighted push-ups with the max parallettes from Gornation and still couldn’t do a full ROM push-up without the vest touching the floor. Also, with 1-leg squats a short-vest is more comfortable. If you only run with weighted vests than a full-sized vest is more comfortable. It gives less pressure on the shoulders and fixes more over your body not letting loose.

6. Additional features

Additional features are important. For example: handwash vs machine wash, extra pockets for your phone/keys, the material it’s made of so it breathes (less sweaty) and so on. For example, the adidas vest is made for running with the feature of hanging a parachute on it for resistance during sprinting.

7. Price

The best weighted vests come with a price, obviously. All the vests on our list are a bit more expensive than the ones you’ll find using Google. The reason for this is that all these products are of a high quality and some claim to be durable for a lifetime. We also started with cheap vests when we started training, but in our honest opinion they don’t work. Limited space, painful shoulders and inabilitye to do weighted push-ups is not worth spending 50 euro on. In time, with everything, you learn that high quality matters over low pricing.

If you don’t have enough money for a weighted vest look at our weighted vest alternatives down below for some other options. These are of course not so durable/comfortable as the vests. But you can still use them.

Weighted Vest Workout – How to Use a Vest

So, you have your own weighted vest. Now it’s time for the best weighted vest workout in calisthenics. Put your vest on and adjust the weight you want to train with (if possible). We have a short leg and chest workout for you. For a back workout check our weighted pull-up blog.

Chest

  • Start with a 2,5-7,5 Kg max load
  • Push-ups 4x 10-15 reps
  • Daimond push-ups 4x 10-15 reps
  • Incline push-ups 4x 10-15 reps
  • 45-degree rotation push-ups 3x 5-10 reps
  • Archer push-ups 3x max reps
  • Dips 4x max reps

Legs

  • Start with a 10-20 Kg max load
  • Squats 4x 20 reps
  • Lunges 4x 10 reps per side
  • 1-leg calf raises 4x 20 reps per side
  • 1- leg glute bridge 4x 15 reps per side
  • Elevated glute bridge (focus hamstrings) 4x 10-20 reps
  • Skater lunge 4x 10-15 reps per side
  • (assisted) pistol squat 4x max reps per side
  • Wall sit 3x max hold

Best Weighted Vest Alternatives

You don’t want a weighted vest or don’t have enough money for a weighted vest. What are some other options for to do for weighted calisthenics?

Dip belt

The dip belt is a solid option if you want to do weighted dips or pull-ups. 2-step squats are possible but as you see you’re limited in what you can do. Dip belts usually cost < 50 euro/ 59 USD.

Backpack

A backpack is like a weighted vest. You can fill it with sand, books, weights or stones to make it heavy. But this won’t be as comfortable as you think. No padded shoulders and the weight is fully on your back, pushing your body into a hollow back position. When doing this, load it with max 10 kg / 22lbs.

Weights

If you have a weight plate you can hold it between your legs for pull-ups, on your back for push-ups and in your hands for squats.

Conclusion: This is The Best Weighted Vest

In this review we explained why Gravity Fitness has the best weighted vest for calisthenics, by far. It has a great ROM, is weight adjustable and comes in high quality material. It sits tight and well and the padding makes it very comfortable, making it better than other vests. You can train your legs, shoulders, chest and back perfectly with weighted squats, push-ups etc.

So, start with weighted calisthenics today, what are you waiting for?

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