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February 03, 2021 3 min read

A weighted vest will take any workout to another level, adding load and resistance whilst keeping your hands free. Most people use a weighted vest to burn calories and speed up fat loss. But weighted vests can also help you pack on muscle. Here’s how.



The best weighted vests as reviewed by Origym.










1 Press ups

Press ups are one of the best “push” bodyweight exercises, but it’s easy to hit a plateau. Once you can do 20 or so with good form, how do you progress?

Adding a weighted vest will increase the load, and help you build more muscle. Do push ups in a weighted vest and you’ll change a training variable and put more demand through working muscles and stabilisers.


2 Dips

The traditional way to add extra load to dips is with a dipping belt, but a smarter option is a weighted vest – because you can keep it on for your whole workout. Weighted vest dips are easy and practical, and can be combined with loads of other bodyweight exercises.


3 Lunges

We love doing bodyweight lunges in a weighted vest, because the weight is evenly distributed and your hands remain free (great if you’re working on balance). Try doing a variety of lunge variations in a weighted vest: forward stepping lunges, reverse lunges, or walking lunges.


4 Air squats

Doing air squats in a weighted vest takes them out of the realm of bodyweight exercise and turns them into a light weighted squat. Put these in a HIIT or circuit session and feel the difference.


5 Pull ups

Have you mastered pull ups? Take them to the next level by doing them in a weighted vest. This will help you build serious muscle through your back and arms.


6 Bulgarian split squats

We love a split squat for building muscle in the quads and hamstrings, but it can be difficult to add load without challenging your balance too much. A weighted vest solves that problem, distributing the extra load and leaving your hands free to help you balance.


7 Triceps press up

This press up variation is tough enough as it is, but if you want to build more mass in your triceps, do them in a weighted vest. You might need to scale back on the reps at first, but it’s a great challenge for more advanced athletes.


3 WODs you can do in a weighted vest


Murph Hero WOD

“Murph” is one of the best-known CrossFit Hero WODs, named after a Navy SEAL killed in action in Afghanistan. You can do Murph in a weighted vest – just chip away at it and keep going.


1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 press ups
300 air squats
1 mile run



21-15-9 is a classic CrossFit rep range combination – here’s one to try in a weighted vest.

Kettlebell swings
Press ups
Air squats


Bodyweight WOD

You can get a great workout in with no equipment except your weighted vest. Try this as an example:


7 rounds for time
7 burpees
7 sit ups
7 jumping squats
7 press ups
60 second plank hold

Check out our range of adjustable 20kg weighted vests here. 

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