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What is Weighted Clothing?

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  • Written By: T. Alaine
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Weighted clothing is a type of sportswear that is used during training to improve athletic performance, particularly endurance. Available in a wide variety of garments and styles, weighted clothing fit like everyday workout clothes, but are fitted with slim weights that add resistance to training exercises. Generally, weighted clothing is used by athletes in cross-training sessions, or during cardiovascular, plyometric, or bodyweight exercises.

The main idea behind weighted clothing is that by mimicking added body weight, exercisers will have to work harder to accomplish familiar tasks. For example, running one mile is much more difficult while carrying an additional 40 pounds. After adjusting to running with the extra weight, athletes presumably will be able to run the same distance faster once the weight is removed. Weighted clothing is useful because it adds resistance while leaving hands free, and usually is streamlined and well-fitted to avoid inhibiting the workout.

Heaviness can usually be adjusted by adding or removing weights from the pockets of a weighted article of clothing. This way, the weighted clothing is suitable for different levels of fitness, and can be altered to change as an athlete develops or to target different muscles. Clothing that is too light will most likely not produce the desired training effects, but weighted clothing that is two heavy can cause muscle or joint strain and injury.

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There are many styles of weighted clothing that serve different purposes depending on specific fitness goals and the nature of the exercises being completed. One of the most popular styles is a weighted vest, which can be strapped on over the top of normal workout clothing. Like other versions of weighted clothing, vests are available in different weights to fit the needs of individual exercisers. A weighted vest can be worn during almost any cardiovascular activity, such as running, plyometric exercises such as squat-thrusts, or during bodyweight exercises such as push-ups.

Other styles of weighted clothing might be shorts, belts, arm bands, or ankle and wrist weights. These styles target more specific muscles groups than a weighted vest, which usually just seeks to add weight without a lot of focus. Clothing that adds weight at the limbs generally seeks to improve muscle strength in those body parts. For example, doing jumping jacks in ankle weights puts most of the additional stress on the leg muscles, whereas doing jumping jacks in wrist weights puts more stress on the arms and shoulders.

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anon943719
Post 3

Bad luck about your knee. I have done mine too playing football, but under Aussie rules. It is well known that weighted clothing can quickly increase your vertical leap, shown by a study I found online.

nextcorrea
Post 2

A few years back me and some of my old college buddies decided to hike a section of the Appalachian trail. We were planning on about 10 days and 150 miles.

Now, I am 45 and before the trip I was in pretty bad shape. I knew that if I was going to make it and enjoy myself I was going to have to prepare. I had a hiking backpack but It seemed kind of silly to pack and unpack it every weekend.

So in order to simulate the weight of my gear I packed the bag full of pillows and canned goods. When I was full it weighed about 50 pounds. I would go on increasingly longer

hikes every weekend and by the time the trip rolled around I was ready.

I made it through the whole hike with out any problems and I probably could have gone for another 100 miles. Since then I have tried to be more serious about my health. I don't walk around with cans of corn strapped to my back, but I don't want to get as soft as I had before that trip.

tigers88
Post 1

I was a running back in college and we had a strength and conditioning coach that believed highly in using weighted vests. He had developed and entire program for me that involved both long and short runs, jumps and other movements while wearing a weighted vest.

The idea is that if I could imitate the movements I would be making on the field but with much more weight on my frame I would developed strength and endurance in exactly the ways that I needed. I have to say, I think it worked. My sophomore year I put up bigger numbers than I ever had before and I even got a school record for all purpose yards.

Unfortunately I blew my knee out the next year and that was the end of my college career. Still the weighted vest really worked. I would tell any young back to consider working it into their training routine.

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