T Nation

Weighted Vest Training


Im training for Linebacker and I was wondering if any of you have trained while wearing a weighted vest? Im thinking about doing this instead of sled dragging? I would do 6 cross field runs. 3 forward runs and the 3 backward runs. After that I would do bunch of sprints. When I do Sprints should I wear the vest or not? 4 20yrd sprints, 3 30yrd sprints, and 2 40yrd sprints. Thanks




The vest may change your mechanics because you will be top heavy. It may not be the best idea.

The sled will build the sprinting muscles in the same range of motion they go through while sprinting. I still would run with it though. Concentrate on strengthening those muscles and then trianing them to do what you want them to do by sprinting.


Where in WI are you from do you know where I can find a sled here? But Its only a 20 lbs vest so it shouldnt really screw up my mechanics. I think I will gain some upper body strength by hold my body correctly and add leg muscle cause I have an extra 20 lbs on me.


Im in Waukesha.

I won't debate you about how this training may or may not transfer. I gave you advice based on what I would do and have seen. You seem to have your mind made up about using it, so give it a try. There would be ways to incorperate into your training, but if you were my athlete, you wouldn't sprint with it on.

The easiest way to get a sled is to make one. If you live in a place that gets snow go by one of those saucer type sleds. Add rope(s) to it and pull away. They can also be made from tires which you should be able to get for free from a tire store. The tire will last longer over more surfaces


So you say start im my LB stance and then just sprint?


A weighted vest has never screwed up anybodies mechanics. You may run with different mechanics when wearing one, but it won't change your mechanics when you run with out it.

This is also true of pulling a sled and wearing a weighted belt. It is possible to hurt yourself wearing one and that could change your mechanics.



Exactly how many sprinters and athletes have you trained? There isn't a single high-level sprint coach who trains his/her athletes with weighted running of more than 5-10% bodyweight. If this type of training helped you, then swinging 30 pound bats would help your baseball swing.

If you are 200lbs, sprinting with a 20lb sled would be probably be fine. I wouldn't really recommend a vest, but anything 20lbs or less would be fine. Football players don't run with the same mechanics as sprinters anyway. You could probably even go up a little higher with a sled, but I'd be wary to start with even more than 10lbs on a vest, you'd be surprised at how much you can feel that amount of weight even.


Great points. In your opinion, would a vest of only 10% of the athlete BW even be worth it? I could see a light vest to simulate the weight of equipment, but that isnt even 10lbs.

I have always seen better success by simply making an athlete stronger over all and let the sport activity "train" the movement rather than weighting the sport specific ROM which could lead to a different "groove" being ingrained in the neuro pathways. To each his own.

Back to the sprinting, if the original poster would look at the demands of a linebacker, he may come to the conclusion that the program which he laid out above is flawed. Appearently he wants to be the fastest straight line linebacker in the league. Watch Urlacker this weekend, count how many times he changes direction. Straight line speed is a start, but you may want to add some agility work to. I'm willing to bet the increased effeciency of being able to start, stop, start, change direction and start again will make you a better player. Your 40 yard time may go down by huge numbers, but you'll make more of an impact.


Chill dude. I didn't make any endorsment of running with a weighted vest and I made no mention of weight or % of BW. All I said was it wouldn't screw up his mechanics.

I must have offended you by pointing out your dumb remark. Sorry.


Oh, sorry again. That wasn't your remark, it was BJ's


So you don't think weighting an athletes upper body could increase the degree of forward lean as he experiences while sprinting? And that extra lean couldn't possibly change his form once you took the vest off of him huh? What if he is training in an already fatigued state? The extra weight which is unevenly distributed on body, no that won't change his form either. What your talking about could be deamed as a whole seperate skill set. Just because you can get him to run faster with a vest on, does mean the performance will increase at the same rate, if at all, with the vest off.

Well, I better go strap on some ankle weights and wrist weights for Muay Thai practice tonight. You say that won't screw with my mechanics huh? I think I'm going to order a 45lb clubbell too. You know, for baseball and softball players. I must have missed something in all my schooling, my CSCS exam and all those seminars...those coaches must be dumb too. Shit, when are you speaking next and what's the topic? I'm not going to miss this one.

And I'm the dumb one?

I typically don't like to attack people personally, but since you threw the first stone....


I own a weighted vest (50 lbs) and I'm not totally in love with it like I thought I'd be. I have track coming soon and I thought that I'd be a tough guy and use the vest. Running with it sucks.

I think through my limited experience with it, it is best to use it with light weights. 8-16 lbs for my body (195). The problems that I have encountered:

When you run or jump with the vest the vest rises (higher with more power) on your shoulders and doesn't come down the same time as your body does. It puts a lot of strain on the ol' back.

This is one reason why lighter is better. Another reason why lighter is better is because you still want to train fast. Why load yourself up so much that you're training slow.

Don't train slow. Train with explosive power. The lighter weight will help you to still run at speeds near your max. The only time I load 15 lbs or more is when I come out of the blocks, I do that for like 10-15 yards, then try again.

I forgot what else I was going to write. I hope this was somewhat insightful.



I don't mean to make a personal attack. However, I see a lot of bad advice given to athletes on forums and that's exactly what sprinting with heavy weights is. You should not do ANY activity that relies heavily on rate of force developmentt with significant weight.

This is why baseball pitchers don't throw 2 pound baseballs, tennis players don't swing 10 pound rackets, etc. etc. It will, without a doubt, screw up your mechanics.


Kir Dog,

Try using cords for starting strength/power. They will teach to "coil" up and then explode. The only downside is you need a partner.


All good points. I agree to the high amount of bad advice given to athletes, many times I just shake my head and don't post. I was hoping to just save the original poster some wasted training time. Oh well. Do you coach? PM me if you have time, I'd be interested in chating about this stuff with ya.


You two are really dense. Do I really need to say again that I am not endorsing running with a weighted vest? Are you so bent on being right that you have to put words in my mouth? Repeat that for weighted bat, kettle bell and ankle weights.

Regarding mechanics of running. A weighted vest would not increase an athletes foreward lean. The added weight would increase his tendancy to stay upright. So, if your concern is foreward lean, your concern is unfounded. Again, do not take this statement as an endorsement for running with a weighted vest!

Have you guys heard of cross training? I know, I know, cross training is an old concept. It's out dated. It's not on the cutting edge of training like you guys are. Well, anyway, cross training does not screw up mechanics it increases adaptability.

Speaking of adapability and weighted bats. Most major leagers swing a weighted bat. When I played, in the off season my wife would pitch me wiffle balls which many would argue is a bad idea. After all wiffle balls slow down much more quickly than baseballs and this can lead to a late swing when switching back to a hardball. However, making these types of switches improves a hitters ability to adjust. You don't always get a fastball down the middle. Sometimes what you thought was a fastball down the middle turns out to be a slider at the laces or a change up. You have to be able to adjust your swing.

When I hit wiffle balls I often used a weighted bat. Partly to increase strength, partly to increase my ability to adjust and mostly so I wouldn't kill my wife. A wiffle ball crunches when you hit it and moves very quickly before it has a chance to re-expand. I would still always take some cuts with a regular bat at the end and I can tell you with certainty it didn't screw up my swing.

Although I don't endorse running with a weighted vest I do endorse Plyometrics with a weighted belt. a weighted belt stays snug against your body and is reasonably comfortable. You can get a nylon belt with pockets and little sand bags to go in the pockets from a dive shop. I use to use the weighted belt at advanced stages in my plyo programs.

It sounds like you guys are fans of Dr. Chu's Complex Training. His books are written to about the 8th grade level to appeal to a broader range of readers. Doing a plyometric set with a weighted belt, then doing a set without should appeal to you. This is assuming you are intelligent enough and flexible enough to believe that the Complex training does not have to consist of a fast movement following a near maximal load.

I guess I've said enough.


I'm not a coach but I played div1 basketball and football a few years back. For basketball we did several types of box and jumping drills with the weighted vest. On the on the otherhand, as a receiver, coach would never let us wear a vest for the same reasons some of these guys have stated. I even had a speed coach who once told me the weighted vest might slow me down a bit. I'm not sure if it would have the same effect on you since I was a small guy who's only job was to outrun the corners.

just my .02


I happen to think crosstraining isn't used enough with most athletes. But, what you are alking about is not crosstraining. Weighting the actual skill you are trying to improve is not crosstraing. Plyos wouldn't be crosstraining either, the specific plyo moves would still be geared to improve speed. Part of a program designed to improve the specific skill/activity.

Crosstraining would be having the Cross Country play soocor in the early or off season to improve aerobic capacity.

Weighted plyos would be a whole different animal. This is a great way to improve power and reaction, given the athlete can handle the added impact. But this isnt a skill, it is an exercise.

I actually agree with you on one point. Dr. Chu's books are way overrated and offer almost no good info to a coach or experienced athlete. 8th grade level is about right.

Whether you endorse the weighted vest or not, your position that it wouldn't/couldn't alter mechanics, says (to me) you'd be OK with your athletes using it for that purpose. No? Either way, it's been a fun.
Good luck with your goals.


Ok. Forget I used the term "cross training". Modifying an activity to increase the degree of difficulty can be a good tool for improving performance.

And, for the last time, I do not endorse running with a weighted vest. Holy Cow!!!

I don't like the bounce. Throws off rythm and timing. I don't like the spinal shear that could occur in some movements and I don't like the knee stress if the weight is too high for the athlete.

But, I'm not going to just say it ruins mechanics. You take the vest off and your mechanics will return to "normal" within a stride or two. Period.