Weight Vest Circuit Questions

Hi Jim and others,

I have liked using weight vest circuits for assistance work, as programmed in a couple of templates in the Forever book. Typically, bodyweight assistance is given a range (ex: 50-100 reps of push) that allows for modification based on the level of the lifter and the specific workout in most of the 531 programs. In the weight vest circuits, such as in the Jim Wendler Classic, a specific number is given for pull ups, push ups, and squats.

I can complete the circuit of 25 pull ups, 50 push ups, and 125 squats with a 40 lb vest in less than 20 minutes without much trouble. I am 175 lbs, for reference. Should I just think of this as assistance and maintain this? Or attempt to progress by adding weight to the vest? Or try to simply keep getting better and better at the moves? Or to decrease the amount of time it takes to complete the circuit? Or to add volume to the circuit?

Thanks in advance.

If your main lifts are progressing you probably should just keep doing what you are doing. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

Greatly depends on what your goals are and how this would influence said goals. There is NO RIGHT ANSWER to this; ask yourself each of these questions and how each scenario effects your goals AND your current programming.

Basically this is about as impossible to answer question as there could be. The good thing is that you can now experiment and use this experience to make you a better lifter.

Thanks for the responses, and my apologies for a question that’s really individualized.

I have had some luck (so far) with doing three barbell days a week, and 1-2 weight vest circuits a week (usually just one). For example, I am currently doing Perverter, but extending the “week” and rotating through the four lifts in 9 days rather than every 7. I’ve found it allows me to recover better at my age, and adding the quicker, easier weight vest circuits in place of the 4th barbell day keeps me fresher.

I perform the weight vest circuits after about 30 minutes of easy cardio, typically a jog or the airdyne. I think I’ll stick to the prescribed numbers for the most part, and perhaps add an extra rep or two to each round in the future.

Unless you have some other goal (which is perfectly okay), a weighted vest is low down on the list of things you should buy. It is on the list, but you should have a quality Olympic bar, bumpers, squat stand, c2 rower… before you get the vest. Of course, if you belong to a gym with all the above, that counts. You can put your bumpers in a backpack and have some vest benefits (a vest is more comfortable).

That said, they are useful. I wouldn’t discourage it. It is just that most people are better off spending their limited money elsewhere.

Thanks for the suggestions. I already own a weight vest, so it’s a bit of a moot point as it applies to me. I do have the others on the list, but don’t have a rower (I have an airdyne, though, which I prefer). Personally, I think the vest is a great tool to have and I use it for both workouts and short walks each week. I would certainly recommend it to others considering it.

I would add: olympic rings, medicine balls, 1-2 kettlebells, ab roller, and a neck harness (along with a weight vest) as great additions to a home gym. While none are as essential as squat racks, barbells, and dumb bells, they all get plenty of use in my routines.