T Nation

Weighted Vest Substitute

Just wondering what peoples opinions are in regards to substituting a weighted vest for conditioning work with a loaded backpack?

I don’t currently have access to a weighted vest (something which I later intend to purchase) however, I do have a decent quality daysack - would loading this with plates be a decent swap for weighted vest work?

If so, what kind of weight should I be looking to use? I’m in the military so I’m quite accustomed to carrying heavy loads on my back whilst ‘tabbing’ - but in regards to conditioning what weight do you think I should be using / good place to start?

I know there could be multiple different answers in regards to load - just a general bit of feedback from you guys would be great. I was planning to start with 20kg and see how that goes…

Conditioning is conditioning… I don’t think it matters so much how you do it, just that you do it. And in your case marching with weight on your back is actually appropriate for your job.

That said, the big different between a weighted ruck and a weighted vest is the distribution. A vest will pull you forward and back, and to a lesser extent side to side. You can stand upright in one and as you move and train you have to work against it in every direction to maintain balance.

A ruck will just pull you back and you’ll tend to lean forward into it all the time. I find a weighted vest works your lower back a lot better.

Thanks for the reply, that’s pretty much what I thought the major benefit on the weighted vest was…guess I’ll start looking at getting a vest!

I have posted this several times - I own a prowler and a sled and live near a hill to run up and they work great. Having said that, I wanted to throw another mode in. The reason I mention the prowler and sled is because I just cannot afford another expensive piece of equipment. I went to Home Depot and bought 2 x 50lb bags of sand and then to a camping store and bought a relatively strong and comfortable backpack. It works perfect.

For variety I walk my dogs with the pack filled. I have used a real weighted vest a few times though - and to tell you the truth I think the work is harder with the pack. What the previous poster said is true regarding distribution but distribution makes it easier because it involves more muscles. I promise you your abs and low back will be fried if you load enough weight in the pack. I have also experimented with turning the pack around and walking with it in the front.

This simulates a safety squat bar and tries to pull you forward. You have to work like hell to stand straight up and thus you strengthen the squat via working your abs and upper back. You will look like an idiot though walking around your hood.

You could put a backpack in FRONT, with equal weight then the one on your back…

[quote]Phil Rich wrote:
You could put a backpack in FRONT, with equal weight then the one on your back…
[/quote]

That sure is an option, not sure if I could pull the double bag look off though!

Think I’ll stick to loaded bag for now and look at getting a vest in the future, struggling to find any vests available in the UK that weigh over 14-15kg at the minute though… Any Brits able to point towards a online shop with heavier vests?