- Which Kensui EZ Vest will be Reviewed
- Quick Overview of the Kensui EZ Vest
- Unpacking the Kensui EZ Vest for Review
- Lite, Pro & MAX Comparison Specifications
- Fit & Finish of the Kensui EZ Vest
- Setting Up & Loading the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2
- Putting On & Wearing the Kensui EZ Vest
- Taking Off the Kensui EZ Vest
- Exercises for the Kensui EZ Vest
- Working Out Wearing the Kensui EZ Vest
- Advantages of the Kensui EZ Vest in Weighted Calisthenics
- Conclusions for this Kensui EZ Vest Review
- Kensui EZ Vest Discount Code
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Kensui EZ Vest
With the Kensui EZ Vest, you have a versatile, comfortable weighted vest at your disposal and one which integrates well with weighted exercise equipment you may already have. At least, that is the implied claim by the manufacturer, Kensui Fitness. Of course, weighted exercise is an important topic for the Calisthenics community and many Calisthenics practitioners will also engage in traditional weight training. Likewise, many weightlifters also practice Calisthenics; thus, there is a lot of overlap between our communities. This means that a Weighted Vest which uses weightlifting equipment as weights, which the Kensui EZ Vest does, would be right up our alley. In this article, we’ll subject the popular Kensui EZ Vest to a very extensive review, along with a video commentary.
Which Kensui EZ Vest will be Reviewed
The Kensui EZ Vest comes in 3 variants: the Kensui EZ Vest Lite, EZ Vest PRO and EZ Vest MAX. All have their uses, but the focus of our review is mainly the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2, since all can be used successfully with very low loads, but the EZ Vest MAX has the highest maximum load of all versions.
We will make a comparison of the three in basic specifications, but our review will specifically look at the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2. There are some material differences between the Kensui EZ Vest MAX, like the use of metal and PU leather opposed to Velcro and mesh.
In case you’re wondering and as far as we know, the EZ Vest V1 is no longer available.
Quick Overview of the Kensui EZ Vest
The Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 is a very versatile Weighted Vest that can readily replace the Dip Belt as well. Its weight capacity reaches high enough yet starts low enough that it can be your one and only weight implement for Weighted Calisthenics. You can do practically all weighted exercises associated with either a Weighted Vest or a Dip Belt.
It is comfortable to wear with its padding, which can be removed against our recommendation for maximum range of motion. At the higher end of the weight spectrum, we recommend getting the extra thick 4-inch padding. It is of a durable design, the MAX version being made of aluminum breast and back plates, steel buckles and PU Leather padding.
The Kensui EZ Vest uses weight plates (used on barbells) as weights. You need to either have these, acquire these separately or buy the Kensui Hydro Plates as a more economical alternative.
We recommend the Kensui EZ Vest to:
- Weightlifters who want to get into Calisthenics too
- Calisthenics practitioners who want 1 product for all their Weighted Calisthenics as they transition into it.
Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 Pros and Cons
|All you need for Weighted Calisthenics||Requires weight plates (not included)|
|Very high weight capacity||Pricier than other Weighted Vests (MAX V2)|
|Replaces the need for a Dip Belt|
Unpacking the Kensui EZ Vest for Review
The outer package was a plastic bag with the KENSUI logo printed on it. The bag is lined on the inside with a bubble wrap, inside of which we found another plastic bag containing our Kensui EZ Vest and some handy/necessary apparel. The contents of the package were as follows:
- 1 Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 Harness
- 2 Threaded Sleeves
- 2 Collars
- 1 Nylon tote bag containing all equipment
- Envelope containing a greeting and invitation card to the Kensui VIP Facebook group
We liked the bubble wrap addition for protection against shock during shipping. We’d have preferred a sturdier cardboard box as opposed to another layer of thin polyethylene that won’t provide significantly more or less protection from puncture than the layers it already has. Otherwise, the package came in intact, and the contents were pristine.
Lite, Pro & MAX Comparison Specifications
Here are the basic specifications of the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2, along with the Kensui EZ Vest Lite V2 and PRO V2 for your comparison. The Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 is the highest load bearing version of all EZ Vests.
|Kensui EZ Vest Lite V2||Kensui EZ Vest PRO V2||Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2|
|Max Load||80 lbs.||150 lbs.||300 lbs.|
|Padding||N/A||6 mm.||8 mm.|
|Liner||N/A||Air Mesh||PU Leather|
|Latch/Buckle||Velcro Strap||Velcro Strap||SRB Buckles|
|Sleeve Length||7 cm.||7 cm.||9.5 cm.|
Just glancing from the specifications, some things are apparent. The choice in materials has shifted with the higher maximum load of the MAX V2. Thicker padding is applied, firmer PU Leather is used instead of a mesh and metal buckles are now used instead of Velcro straps. The breast and backplate are now also metal. Although Velcro can be very durable and very strong, we have a (perhaps biased) preference for the use of metal over fiberglass or plastics whenever possible.
You can take a short quiz on the Kensui website to determine the best version for you.
Fit & Finish of the Kensui EZ Vest
Fit and finish on the Kensui EZ Vest are generally excellent. The straps were thick and of a rugged nylon construction. We found no fraying or loose threads upon closer inspection. The buckles fit very well with a satisfying click when the latches spring into place. There weren’t any dinks or scratches on the metal parts. After use, we didn’t find any damage either. Just from the look and feel of the harness we could tell this is a durable product.
The straps are adjustable in length and quite broad. Fitting it to our body was a matter of putting it on and pulling the straps symmetrically tight (try not to make it too tight) around our bodies.
You pay 250 bucks for this, so we kind of expect this level of quality and finish to begin with, but it’s nice to see it be the reality too. You get what you paid for, which in this case is the right fit and finish for the price.
Setting Up & Loading the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2
Setting up our Kensui EZ Vest was a matter of sliding in the “Sleeves” underneath the breast and back plate and fitting it through the threaded openings. The Sleeves are a proprietary type of two-way screw, which screw into place into the harness, and onto which the collar (a huge nut) can be screwed on in turn. The weight plates are slid on to the sleeves and sit in between the collar and the breast and/or back plate. This system ensures a very secure fit of any standard weight plate onto the harness.
First Set Up of the Kensui EZ Vest
- Undo one of the retaining buckles on the breast or back plate
- Lift the plate from the harness and slide in the sleeve from behind, through the hole
- Screw the sleeve counterclockwise securely into the plate
Loading the Kensui EZ Vest
- Slide the weight plate onto the sleeve
- Screw the Collar on top of the weight plate securely
Olympic Standard Weight Plates or Adapter Sleeves
The standard Sleeves accept standard Olympic weight plates as found on most weightlifting setups. If you already have weight plates, the Kensui EZ Vest system integrates readily into your home Calisthenics equipment. You can also buy weight plates specifically for the purpose of using the Kensui EZ Vest, of course. This means that practically any weight can be used on the EZ Vest, from very low up to very high, higher than we ordinarily see on Weighted Vests.
Some weight plates are non-Olympic standard and will feature a smaller diameter center hole. These smaller gauge plates can be used with the 1-inch Adapter Sleeve, available separately.
Optional Hydro Plates
If you do not own any weight plates and don’t want to invest in them, Kensui Fitness offers their Hydro Plates as a viable alternative. Hydro Plates are hard plastic containers which you fill with water. Once filled to the brim, they weigh 15kg or 33lbs each. The Hydro Plates are a much cheaper alternative to buying steel weight plates; however, you are limited to 15kg per plate. Filling them half-way can also add another unstable dimension to your exercise due to sloshing. The shifting center of gravity will activate stabilizing muscles during your exercise.
Optional Extension Sleeves
Extra-long Sleeves can be obtained, which allow for the mounting of multiple weight plates at once. This allows you to add a lot more weight to the vest and easily pushes the weight capacity of the Kensui EZ Vest beyond what we normally associate with a Weighted Vest. You can almost compare it to, and for most people it does, a Dip Belt. We found it easier to extend the Sleeve on the back and add more weight there, since it does not interfere with the forward motion of Push-Ups or the upward motion of Pull-Ups (for instance by hitting the floor or the bar).
The longer Sleeves also allow for the mounting of multiple Hydro Plates, to a maximum of 4 Hydro Plates for a combined maximum weight of 60kg or 132lbs, which is close to the rated structural weight limit of the vest already.
Optional 4-inch Padding
The extra wide 4-inch padding was a welcome addition to our setup. We tend to do Weighted Calisthenics on the weightier side and quite frequently. The extra padding really helped spread the weight over our shoulders and was a noticeable difference from 30kg or 66lbs and up. If you’re planning to use this for weighted squats and dips and other non-overhead exercises, the extra 4-inch padding is worth the investment. Basically, any exercise where you’re replacing a Dip Belt with the Kensui EZ Vest benefits from the extra padding.
Putting On & Wearing the Kensui EZ Vest
Putting on the Kensui EZ Vest can be easy, can be bit more laborious. It depends on the total amount of weight you’re adding to the vest whether a standing or a lying approach best gets the job done. For most people, putting on the Kensui EZ Vest is only marginally different from putting on any other Weighted Vest. We explain 3 options below. In all cases, try to balance the weight you have front and back and, if you must choose, put more weight on the back than on the front.
Standing Up with a Light to Moderate Load
The easiest way to put on the Kensui EZ Vest is standing up. First place the weight plate you want on the back and secure it with the Collar. Then put the vest on over your head. Place the second weight plate on your breast plate in front of you and secure that with a Collar too. Finally, latch the buckles and adjust the straps accordingly for a tight but not a strangulating fit.
Wearing it Without Padding
You can remove all the padding from the vest. The padding is held in place by (many) Velcro straps which, when undone, allow you to readily remove the padding completely. You’re left with the bare harness and plates. This regains a lot of range of motion. After trying it out, we do not recommend using the Kensui EZ Vest this way. You sacrifice too much comfort for a vest of this weight capacity.
Lying Down with a Heavy Load
While applying a heavy load, for instance for dips or squats, putting the vest on over your head can be difficult. One technique we found helpful is sliding into the harness while on the floor, turning around and getting up from there. First load the back plate and turn the EZ vest on its back. Lie down and slide into the harness. Next apply the front plate or plates and buckle up. Turning on your side and thighs, you can now get up.
Kensui EZ Vest Suspension System
The simplest but non-free way of mounting a heavy load onto your Kensui EZ Vest and then putting it on is by using the EZ Vest Suspension System. This suspends the vest in mid-air by, for instance, a Pull-Up Bar. You can then load the vest, dip underneath it and stand right up into the correct wearing position. All that’s left is fastening the buckles and then undoing the carabiners holding the vest suspended.
Taking Off the Kensui EZ Vest
We found that the easiest way of taking off your vest is the opposite of the putting it on procedure. First take off the front weight, then the vest itself and finally the back weight. If you had to lie down while putting it on, do this lying down as well.
This sounds like a hassle compared to some other Weighted Vests but bear in mind that the Kensui EZ Vest MAX is meant for a whole lot more weight. If you keep the weight down to what’s more typical for a Weighted Vest, the process of putting on and taking off the Kensui EZ Vest is no different from any other vest.
Exercises for the Kensui EZ Vest
Basically, all Weighted Calisthenics exercise can be performed with the Kensui EZ Vest. Here is a glossary of what we’ve used the Kensui EZ Vest for:
- Pike Push-Ups
- Handstand Push-Ups
- Chair Dips
- Plank Ups
- Calf Raises
- Step Ups
The astute observer will notice that the Kensui EZ Vest is a viable replacement for the Dip Belt. Exercising large muscles, like the thighs and our core will soon require a larger weight than what most Weighted Vests allow for. The traditional solution is the Dip Belt, requiring two different products for your weighted exercise. The Kensui EZ Vest replaces that need altogether.
We’ve also experienced no creep or sliding while doing inverted holds and basic exercises like handstands and pike push-ups. If you strap it down securely enough, it will stay in place without inhibiting your breathing.
Working Out Wearing the Kensui EZ Vest
Exercising while wearing the Kensui EZ Vest felt great. The straps are broad enough and padded enough that they sat securely around our chest without feeling constrained. Our range of motion was left uninhibited enough to do all the exercises on our list effortlessly, bar the effort required to do the exercise itself of course. The 4-inch padding really helped distribute the weight even more while doing Squats with a heavier load. We were of course more keenly interested in where the Kensui EZ Vest might fail, namely its obviously protruding sleeves, use while inverted and while doing cardio exercises.
Its Girth and Interaction with Floor and Pull-Up Bars
Our initial reservation was the considerable girth the vest gives, with two giant screws sticking out the front and the back. In practice these concerns were not entirely unjustified but also not that much of a problem either. Yes, the Kensui EZ Vest sticks out more, which can be remediated with their XT Sleeves (sold separately) which screw in the opposite way. Our version did not come with these XT Sleeves, so we were left with these extensions.
During our exercises though, the Sleeves did not interact with the floor or our equipment once bar two instances. You can probably already guess which they were; Push-Ups and Chin-Ups. However, the solution is quite simple. Wear the weight on your back plate for these exercises and remove the front Sleeve completely. That way, they do not interact with either the floor during Push-Ups or the bar during Chin-Ups. The amount of work to set this up is about the same as putting on a Dip Belt, and Dip Belts don’t work particularly well for Push-Ups. The versatility of the Kensui EZ Vest trumps this concern quite handily.
Lack of Creep During Inverted Exercises
We don’t claim to be experts on inverted Calisthenics, however what we can do, we could do comfortably while wearing the Kensui EZ Vest. We experienced no creep while performing handstands and pike-pushups which is more than what could be said for the majority of other Weighted Vests. You need to really strap yourself in tight to make this work, but the broad straps and padding help to greatly reduce the inhibition on your breathing.
Suitability for Cardio Exercise
For Cardio exercise, like jumping, jogging or even simple walking, we recommend keeping the weight low. Instead, you should increase the intensity of the exercise itself. This also means that acquiring lighter weight plates are a must for Cardio exercises. Even one filled Hydro Plates would be too much weight for most people. Either fill the Hydro Plate partly for less weight overall (and contend with the inevitable sloshing, which can be a good thing), or buy separate lightweight plates.
Advantages of the Kensui EZ Vest in Weighted Calisthenics
Now that we know all we need, we can sum up the advantages of the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 as follows;
|Durable Design||Metal fittings and thick, rugged straps. Just the way we like them to ensure a durable product.|
|Comfortable Wear||Broad surfaces and good padding all-round. The extra thick padding does a good job keeping our shoulders and chest comfortable even with very high loads. The vest doesn’t creep while being inverted either.|
|Versatile Weighed Calisthenics||Readily makes the Dip Belt obsolete in most circumstances. This can be used for all your Weighted Calisthenics. With a little moving back and forth of the Sleeves, it won’t interfere with the floor or the Pull-Up Bar.|
|Convenience||One solution for Weighted Calisthenics and possibly Cardio too.|
|Generous Weight Capacity||Can go as low as just the vest itself (4lbs) and up to 300lbs in maximum rated capacity. For by far most Calisthenics practitioners, this is enough for all weighted exercise.|
|Relatively Compact||The whole system is relatively compact. Less compact than advertised since that is without the required weight plates. Still, compared to a Dip Belt and Weighted Vest combination, this is a very transportable solution.|
Conclusions for this Kensui EZ Vest Review
We arrive at the conclusions we can draw from our in-depth look at the Kensui EZ Vest. First things first, we reviewed the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 specifically. We can’t make any judgement about the V1 model and we’re careful with our statements about the other V2 models. There is a good reason why we chose the MAX V2 though. What sets the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 apart from other vests, more so than other Kensui Vests, is its weight capacity. The Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 has the potential to replace all weighted apparel for your weighted exercise. No more clumsy Dip Belt to get that weight up, just wear this one vest instead. The MAX V2 was really the differentiating factor between the Kensui EZ Vest and, for instance, the high-quality and ever popular Gravity Fitness Weighted Vest.
With all that said, the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 is of a durable design, combining metal and thick/broad nylon straps. This is a vest that will serve for a very long time to come. Speaking of serving, it caters to all forms of Weighted Calisthenics and offers a slew of exercise options. It is very versatile in that regard, combining the perks of a Weighted Vest (range of motion) with that of a Dip Belt (high weight load). The setup is quite easy, little more than a regular vest and easier than a Dip Belt.
The few qualms we had about the girth of the vest when worn are easily remedied by displacing weights from the front to the back. For those few exercises where the extruding Sleeve could be a problem (which they weren’t all the time), changing the format of the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 was an easy job.
You can wear this vest for cardio exercise as well but be sure to apply a light enough load. With weight plates being the chief contributor of the weight, you can overdo this very easily for your cardio exercise. The Hydro Plates are not an ideal solution to this due to their weight when filled and the water sloshing when not filled to the brim. This brings us to the one and, frankly, only obvious design “flaw” to this system; weight plates.
You need weight plates, either the Olympic standard ones, the smaller variants (for which you need an adapter Sleeve) or the proprietary Hydro Plates. As standard weights, the Hydro Plates are fine and can also add another dimension to your training; instability, if filled only partly. If you want more control, you will need weight plates of different weights. If you already have weight plates, that’s great. The Kensui EZ Vest will integrate into your routine seamlessly. If you don’t, then that’s another investment you’ll have to consider.
This brings us to the final questions; who is the Kensui EZ Vest for and who should look at other solutions.
Who is the Kensui EZ Vest For
Calisthenics practitioners who are transitioning into Weighted Calisthenics should consider the Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2. It can combine the Weighted Vest with the Dip Belt quite effectively, eliminating the need for buying and maintaining two separate products. Techniques which are ordinarily limited in extra weight because of their nature, like Push-Ups, can now be pushed to a much higher weight capacity. Likewise, exercises where you normally sacrifice almost all your mobility because you’re strapped to a Dip Belt, can now be done very nimbly.
Weightlifters who want to get into Calisthenics should already have access to weight plates. Weightlifting is great for building large muscles, and Calisthenics can add a dynamic touch to your routine as a weightlifter. You develop other parts of your body as well, leading to a better esthetic equilibrium to your body. It’s not just your biceps and thighs that look big, all your other muscles look like they’re made to support those big muscles too. That’s a thing Calisthenics is much better at than just weightlifting. Most weightlifters, already possessing a fair amount of strength, will be eyeing Weighted Calisthenics as a good add-on.
Who is the Kensui EZ Vest Not For
Pure Cardio, but weighted, is best done with alternative means. The Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2’s defining feature is its progression from a low weight to a very high weight using weight plates. The rigid breast and back plate might also inhibit your upper-torso movement when jogging, for instance. For these exercises, a nimbler weighted vest is advised. The Gravity Fitness Weighted Vest is an excellent alternative to this end.
Kensui EZ Vest Discount Code
Kensui Fitness is a partner of ours and, despite our ruthless adherence to neutrality, they were happy to give us a discount code which you can use on any of their products, including the Kensui EZ Vest. Use the code CWW10 during checkout for 10% off your entire purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Kensui EZ Vest
A final few frequently asked questions about the Kensui EZ Vest.
The Kensui EZ Vest is worth the investment for people who want to do Weighted Calisthenics beyond the typical weight range of a Weighted Vest. The Kensui EZ Vest MAX V2 is rated for up to 300lbs added weight using weight plates. It is of a very durable and high-quality design so that this weight can be worn comfortably.
The Kensui EZ Vest itself weighs 4lbs. It has a maximum rated weight capacity of 300lbs using 2 150lbs weight plates front and back.
Weighted Vests can help you push your Calisthenics to the next level. Like with any free weight, overuse is not healthy and can cause more harm than good. Using the Weighted Vest only during your specific weighted exercises and only increasing the weight incrementally is perfectly healthy.