Resistance Training With Weighted Clothes

By Ashley Henshaw. May 7th 2016

If you want to intensify your workout, one option is to incorporate weighted clothing into your exercise routine. These items of clothing add resistance to your workout by adding extra weight in strategic areas. This added challenge could provide some great health benefits, but there are also some risks you should consider. This article explores the types of weighted clothes for resistance training that are available and the pros and cons of using them.

Types Of Weighted Clothing

There are several types of weighted clothes that can be used for resistance training purposes. The following are some of the most common types of weighted clothing that are available today:

  • Vests: A weighted vest is used to add extra resistance to the torso area of the body. Typically, the vest has weights distributed all around the front and back of the body, making it possible for this type of weighted clothing to add quite a bit of weight to a workout. These are one of the more popular types of weighted clothing because of how the extra weight tends to be distributed more evenly around the body. (For more information on weighted vests, see A Guide To Training With A Weighted Vest.)
  • Backpacks: This type of weighted clothing also adds weight to the torso much like a vest, but the weight is strapped onto the back instead of distributed evenly around the body. Weighted backpacks are often used in training for fire fighters or military personnel who may need to carry extra weight while performing the duties of their job. However, weighted backpacks can also be effective for enhancing certain types of workouts.
  • Belts: Like a weighted vest, weighted belts usually distribute weight all around the body in the general torso area. These are particularly useful when someone wants the added resistance of extra weight but needs the flexibility that a backpack or vest can’t provide.
  • Dip belts: Usually utilized for weight training, dip belts are a bit different from other types of weighted clothes since they aren’t strapped onto the body. Instead, weights are suspended from the belt itself.
  • Ankle weights: These types of weighted clothes, despite their name, are actually strapped on just above the ankle. These are useful for increasing leg strength through added resistance and are used in a wide variety of exercises. (To learn about the possible dangers of ankle weights, read Walking And Running With Ankle Weights: Is It Safe?)
  • Wrist weights: This variety of weighted clothing is useful for replacing or enhancing a workout with hand-held weights. They are can be used in a variety of exercise activities.
  • Footwear: Weighted footwear can come in many forms, including boots, sandals and shoes. While some prefer to wear weighted footwear while working out, others incorporate these special shoes into their everyday activities to increase their leg strength.


There are several features that various types of weighted clothing may have. Here are some of the key features to look for in weighted clothes for resistance training:

  • Straps: The straps used to affix an item of weighted clothing to the body are one of the most important features in this type of clothing. It’s important that the straps be adjustable to fit various body shapes. Also important is how reliable those straps are under pressure. You don’t want your wrist weights or weighted belt to fall off in the middle of a workout; it’s ineffective and could potentially cause an injury.
  • Removable inserts: When purchasing weighted clothing, it’s helpful to buy products which have removable weighted inserts. This allows you to adjust the amount of weight you are added to your workout routine. For example, you may want to start with a small amount of weight then work your way up.
  • Padding: Certain weighted clothing items should have padding to ensure that you are comfortable and safe during your workout. For example, vests should have padding in the shoulder area.
  • Breathability: Larger items, like weighted vests, often need vents for breathability to help prevent overheating during an extended workout.


Weighted clothes used for resistance training can provide a number of great benefits. To begin with, they increase the intensity of the workout by adding more weight to your body. This can be an easy way to increase strength, especially since the weighted clothing often has removable weights which can be added in to slowly increase the resistance over time. Naturally, the increased resistance from weighted clothes can also help to burn more calories during a workout and to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Another benefit of weighted clothing is that it can help improve performance in certain activities. This is called “overloading” – the body becomes accustomed to working with the added weight, so when that weight is removed the muscle fibers react with more power as though they still need to support that weight. Many athletes use weighted clothing for this purpose since they find it increases their endurance, quickness and strength.


Unfortunately, there are also risks involved with using weighted clothes for resistance training. First of all, those with joint problems may find that using weighted clothing exacerbates their joint pain since it adds extra pressure on those parts of the body. In addition, weighted clothing that is too heavy for someone or that is worn improperly could potentially increase the chance of an injury while working out.

Finally, some people have concerns over the effectiveness of weighted clothing. For example, the body may, over time, become so accustomed to the added weight that it fails to provide much resistance anymore.

Weighted clothes may be a good way to enhance your resistance training, but they aren’t necessarily for everyone. If you aren’t sure whether weighted clothing will help you, speak to your doctor or to a professional trainer to find out whether it’s the right choice for you.


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