We have all seen that guy who shows up to the gym wearing a weighted vest and proceeds to perform his workout with it on, but what about the guy who wears it at his desk or around the house? It’s not much of a question whether or not the vest makes a workout more challenging, but you may find yourself wondering if there is any added benefit to casually wear it throughout the day. To help answer this, a recent study investigated if wearing a weighted vest during daily activities excluding sporting activities improved neuromuscular performance in young adults.
At the beginning of the study, baseline assessments of all participants were made to determine performance level: countermovement jump (body mass normalized peak power), figure-of-8 running test (running time), and 10-meter running velocity test. These same tests were also done at the end of the study so comparisons could be made.1
Twenty young males participated in the study. Eight of them wore weighted vests 3 days per week for 3 weeks. They wore the vests during the day (excluding sporting activities). The weights of the vests were an average of 5.6% of the body mass of the subject, which ended up being a 4 or 6 kilogram vest. The other 9 participants did not wear the vest, and served as the control group.2
The baseline results in performance were similar, but the analysis of the data indicated that the intervention improved the figure-of-8 running time. On the other hand, normalized peak power and running velocity were unaffected. Ultimately, wearing the weighted vest only resulted in a slight improvement in agility-related performance in young men. Previous studies showed that wearing a weighted vest throughout the day, as well as during training, was an effective way of increasing jump performance.
In conclusion, since the benefit of wearing a weighted vest during the day was slight, wearing the vest only during exercise would probably benefit the most. This particular study proved that wearing a weighted vest throughout the day and not during sporting activities is slightly effective in improving agility only. So if you are looking to increase performance via a weighted vest, it would be best to refrain from wearing it during the day and only suit up when it’s time to train. So basically, don’t be that guy at your desk wearing a weight vest.