Weighted Vest Workout – Cardio & Strength Exercises

About Weighted Vests

Most of us enjoy walking and running – two of the simplest and most common ways one can get a workout in. You are also probably familiar with wearing a thermal vest when working out to get those extra droplets of sweat flowing during the colder (or warmer) months. However, a weighted vest adds a whole new dimension to exercise. When you workout with a heavy weighted vest, whether that be for running, walking or weight exercises, you burn extra calories and simultaneously strengthen muscle.

A weighted vest workout is a type of training that has become very popular in recent times. People wear them when running or walking, and they have even become an incremental part of some training types, such as crossfit weighted vest training, for example. Here at RPM Power, we are big weight vest enthusiasts. We offer both a 5kg weight vest and 10kg weight vest, which are really all you need for a killer cardio or muscle-building workout. 

The Benefits of a weighted vest workout

Wearing a weight vest is basically like wearing a very heavy jacket. You could also think of it as having two dumbbells strapped across your chest. Wearing a weight vest will make every activity – from walking to hiking to squats, a lot more difficult. As you move with extra weight, your body will need to exert more effort to perform any standard exercise or activity. This means that any cardio or strength exercise you do is much tougher and will really push you in that activity to maximise results.

Even if you are someone who only exercises once or twice a week, just by wearing a weighted vest while walking, you can increase the amount of calories burned without increasing the intensity of your workouts too much. As a matter of fact, several scientific studies by academic journals have proved that wearing a weighted vest can improve your cardiovascular health and build muscle faster. So if you are wearing a weighted vest for working out or using a weighted vest for weight loss, there a variety of benefits that this product offers. 


How to Pick a Weighted Vest

Here at RPM Power, we offer two weighted vests in two ‘one-size-fits-all’ options. These are our 5kg vest and 10kg vest. Our weighted vests can be adjusted in tightness via the integrated straps to ensure for an exact fit however, we recommend the max. user weight for each vest is 95kg for the 5kg Weight Vest, and 105kg for the 10kg Weight Vest.

When choosing a weight vest, it is important that you clarify just what kind of training you’ll be doing as well as taking your current fitness level into consideration. For example, if you are moderately fit and will use the vest for walking, there is no reason you can’t wear the heavy weight vest (10kg). On the other hand, if you are just starting to workout, the 10kg Vest could be too much and the 5kg Vest may be a more suitable choice to introduce a welcome challenge to your home workouts. 


weighted vest exercises

What exercises should I DO?

Another question we get asked a lot is if I can run with my weighted vest. The answer is absolutely, the benefits of running with a weighted vest are massive, but the answer has some variables. For example, we would not recommend long distance running with a 10kg weight vest unless you are an advanced level runner. This is because running for long distances with this level of weight will put pressure on your lower back, knees and hips; requiring protection from muscles that have already been well trained and conditioned. On the other hand, wearing a 10kg weighted vest when doing an activity such as sprints would be a fantastic way to condition your body while exerting pressure on these joints for a short period. Therefore, we always recommend the 5kg weight vest to anyone who is primarily looking to run long distances with the vest. 

In terms of body weight workouts, it again all depends on your level of strength and fitness. For example, if you are used to lifting heavy weights and doing a lot of exercises such as – weighted squats, push-ups, lunges, burpees, planks etc, a 10kg weighted vest could be in line with what you need to improve your workouts. Likewise, if you are just beginning your fitness journey, wearing a 5kg vest for exercises similar to the ones mentioned above could be more applicable to you. However, before buying a weight vest make sure that you can do the basics first. 

So, when it actually comes to working out with your weighted vest, there are many workouts you can do in relation to strength and cardio. Let’s look at some of the best cardio weighted vest workouts you can do first. 


When doing a cardio workout, we always recommend warming up with light jogging or calisthenics, followed by dynamic stretching and higher intensity strengthening to get your body warm. Once you have done that, you are ready to start your workout. We recommend you pick 5 to 10 of the following exercises below (based on your level of fitness), and do each exercise for 30 seconds at maximum intensity 3 times.The less rest you give yourself between each exercise, the better your cardio will be. These exercises are some of the best cardio exercises with a weighted vest you can do. 


Burpees are what you would label a calisthenic exercise. This means that they will use your bodyweight for resistance. With your weighted vest tightly secured on your body, focus on endurance and building muscle strength by following the exercise below. A standard burpee exercise will work to strengthen the muscles in your legs, hips, chest, shoulders and arms.



2. Jumping Lunges

The jumping lunge is an advanced variation of a basic lunge and increases the intensity by adding a jump. This plyometric exercise comprises jumping up high into the air and switching your foot forwards before landing. Adding the jump lunge will increase the exercise by boosting your heart rate and increasing the strain on your glutes and hamstrings. Make sure to always land on your heel before your foot touches the floor of the lunge, improving the stability offered of the exercise. Once your weighted vest is tightly secured, follow the below exercise.


3. Squat jumps

Squat jumps are a simple, yet effective exercise that will improve agility and power as well as improve any athlete’s vertical jump. This exercise is also high-intensity, perfect for anyone looking to build the muscles in their glutes, hamstrings and quads. It is an excellent exercise for anyone desiring to improve their explosive power off the mark, or improve the muscle in their lower body. Try to keep your core rigid to protect your lower back and follow the exercise as below.


4. High Knees

High knees are an exercise that does exactly what they say on the tin. Performed at a fast pace, this exercise will engage your core, all the while strengthening the muscles in your legs and increasing your heart rate and coordination. With your weight vest securely fastened, doing this exercise will allow for you to increase the intensity of your workouts.


5. Butt Kicks

Butt kicks are plyometric exercise which will work your cardiovascular system and boost your muscle strength. This exercise is key for anyone looking to get better form and efficiency in their game, as well as protecting themselves from injury. This explosive exercise will work both of your hamstring muscles and your glutes, allowing you to stretch your quads dynamically yet effectively. 


6. Power Jacks

Butt kicks are plyometric exercise which will work your cardiovascular system and boost your muscle strength. This exercise is key for anyone looking to get better form and efficiency in their game, as well as protecting themselves from injury. This explosive exercise will work both of your hamstring muscles and your glutes, allowing you to stretch your quads dynamically yet effectively. 

7. Heisman

The Heisman is a full-body plyometric exercise that is perfect for increasing heart rate, improving metabolism and burning fat. By engaging your legs, core, hips and glutes in one exercise, your cardiovascular fitness will improve as you strengthen the lower part of your body. 


8. Globe Jumps

Globe jumps are another plyometric exercise which focuses on building power through an increased heart rate and high amount of intensity. Start with your hands on the floor and jump up and to the right. Repeat in a backwards motion, then again to the left and finally one more time to the front.


9. Mummy Kicks

Although they may look slightly unusual, mummy kicks are a great exercise to workout your core and calves at the same time. Begin by standing with your arms extended in a circle straight out in front of you. When in position, perform light hop kicks simultaneously while criss-crossing your hands, alternating your lead limbs. Always tense your core when doing so. 


10. Ice Skaters

Ice skaters are a plyometric exercises that provide a mixture of strength, balance, fitness and coordination. The major muscles worked by ice skaters are found in your legs and core. Your quads will receive a lot of the punishment as will your hamstrings, glutes and calves. Once your weighted vest is securely attached, follow the below clip to try. 



Top 10 strengthening exercises

If you regularly choose bodyweight workouts as a type of strength and conditioning, weighted vests are one way to turn bodyweight drills into grueling muscle building exercises. If you may think that having an added weighted vest is too much for you when you do resistance exercises, it is not as bad as you may think. Your body can handle more weight at the top of your body rather than hanging from your waist, since it is more evenly distributed across your chest. This same factor is what will make your strength workouts intertwine with cardio, as the vest’s pressure on your shoulder and back muscles means your muscles will have to work harder. 

Here are 10 of our favourite strengthening exercises to do with a 5kg or 10kg weighted vest. We recommend picking anywhere from 3 to 10 of these exercises and doing 10-20 reps of each exercise. With a break in between, we recommend doing 3 sets of each exercise. These are some of the best weighted vest strengthening exercises you can do to develop the muscles in your body. 


1. Push Ups

The humble push up is considered the staple of conditioning exercises for any outdoor athlete. The fact that you can do them anywhere with no equipment makes them one of the world’s favourite exercises to do. As with any exercise, form is the key with push-ups. Make sure you can do a push up with correct form before beginning this exercise. Once ready, start the exercise like we have done below. 


2. Lunges

The lunge is a fantastic resistance exercise which can help strengthen your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. As a functional movement, lunges will work your legs to benefit from the everyday movements you do. This exercise is also crucial in protecting your body for those who play sports like basketball, soccer, tennis and many more. Most importantly with lunges, always land on your heel before the rest of your foot touches the ground. This is crucial for providing stability throughout the lunge. 


3. Plank

The plank is the perfect core and abdominal exercise, targeting the muscles that run from your pelvis along the spine and up through your shoulder girdle.The make sure that your core is strong and stable, add the plank to your workout programme. Combined with the weighted vest, you will see progress if done correctly. Always remember to avoid arching your back and sagging your hips. Follow the video below for a comparison. 


4. Side Lunge

Having tightness in your groin and hip area can be very frustrating for anyone looking to maximise their workout routine. Fortunately, side lunges are a fantastic exercise to open up tight hips and your groin, strengthening your inner thigh and glutes in the process. If you have never done this exercise before, focus on having strong form before using the weighted vest, then add the weighted vest to increase the difficulty once perfected.


5. Crunches

The crunch is a staple exercise which will train your abdominal muscles and core. Since your core comprises a wide range of muscles, the crunch is a great exercise to isolate this wide range of muscles, especially when adding a weighted vest. The standard crunch is done on the floor. Follow the clip below as a reference point when doing it with your weighted training vest. 



As one of the most popular bodyweight exercises in existence, squats are amazing for strengthening your legs, glutes and many more muscles. As well as this, they will improve your lower body mobility and allow you to keep the joints and bones in your lower body healthy. Common mistakes with squat technique include; starting from your knees, bending your knees backwards, not engaging your back, and lifting your heels off the floor. Avoid these for a seamless squatting process. Once you have mastered the proper technique behind squats, adding a weighted vest is a great way to improve the difficulty.



7. Plank Obliques

Side obloqies are a unilateral exercise. This means they work one side of your body at a time so that you are really focusing on a specific area of the core. Side planks will help you tone your shoulders, obliques and legs from the heel to hip area. This is a fantastic exercise for anyone looking to tone and train their core. 


8. Sit Ups

Another bodyweight classic, sit-ups can help improve core strength and protect your lower back. The beauty of sit-ups is that they can be done almost anywhere. Adding a weighted vest to your sit-ups will make them a lot more difficult. Follow the video below as a point of reference. 


9. Side Plank

Side planks are a variation of the traditional plank and are a fantastic exercise for training your obliques and core. Performing this exercise will also put a strain on your shoulders all along the half of your body, making ita great exercise for toning and training your upper body.



To summarise, weighted vests are an effective and simple tool to boost your workout progress no matter what your level of fitness is. For more information on our weighted vests, please see the links below to view more about our 5kg weighted vest and 10kg weighted vest. 

To get an additional 10% off either of these weighted vests, please use the code: 


 Need some extra motivation to try these exercises?

Send us a video of you performing the exercises listed above and we will send you a free RPM Power® product as a reward for your hard work!