Weight Vests: The New Phenomena

Are you wondering why weight vests are getting to be so popular? Have you had a club member walk into your club with a weight vest? Or, have you been questioned about weight vests? If so, you are seeing the maturation of a fitness and wellness movement. The public is becoming better-educated and more aware of training modalities, and weight vests are among the fastest-growing training products today. The truth is, strength and conditioning coaches, sportspecific coaches and physical therapists have utilized weight vests for decades. So, why all the buzz?

In the past 18 months, weight vests have had an enormous insurgence into the fitness and wellness markets due to the publicity in major magazines and network television. Imagine what eight minutes of the Today Show with Katie Couric in a weight vest walking up and down Rockefeller Center can do for product awareness. Or, a twopage spread in Muscle and Fitness recommending a weight vest as a “must have” product for your fitness training. It is tremendous publicity that companies can only dream of.

But, the real question is, “Why?” Why all of the publicity? Why are people using weight vests now?

The answers are simple. Weight vests have been improved to fit in a more efficient manner; thereby enhancing usage to better suit the user. In the past, weight vests did not fit the user so the weight in the vest moved or bounced around, which caused numerous problems and possible injuries. Today’s weight vests have been designed to fit the user so the weight doesn’t move, and now you have a safe and highly effective training tool. And, when I say highly effective I mean highly effective. Numerous studies from reputable universities such as Harvard, USC, Cornell, Ohio State and Oregon have shown weight vests to improve performance, increase metabolic rate, improve bone density and increase lean muscle mass at alarming rates.

Now that you have a basic understanding of “Why,” we need to work on the “How.” How do you become more knowledgeable about weight vests and weight-vest training? And, most importantly, how do you capitalize on this movement?

As to your knowledge, this takes some time and effort. There are numerous weight vests on the market today, so finding them is very simple. Use the Internet and do the research. I then suggest that you email the companies all of your questions or make phone calls, and request literature, articles, references and endorsements. Once you have made an educated decision, purchase a vest, or two, to use. This will open your eyes to a new way of thinking and training. Weight-vest training isn’t restricted by space, place, activity or exercise. The fact of the matter is weight-vest training is only restricted by you or the person you are training. Consider this, you can walk, jog and run in a weight vest. You can swim, ride a bike or rock climb in a weight vest. You can also do any body-weight exercise, aerobic or anaerobic activity as well as plyometric, agility or speed training in a weight vest. The truth is there isn’t much you can’t do in a weight vest. Once you have a good understanding of weight vests and how to utilize them in your club, it is time to move on to capitalizing on your knowledge and the growing movement. Align yourself with a vest company. Begin promotions in your club, hold training events and develop daily programming for weight vests. Then, sell a weight vest in your pro shop.

Promotions should begin with your staff. Educate them on utilization of weight vests, how to fit a weight vest and weight configurations. Get the staff to train in the vest, this will help your cause and create more awareness in your club. Hold special events in your club like bone density training, weight loss, aging wellness, and women’s wellness or alternative training techniques, and use a weight vest. Become the expert in weightvest training and develop specific group classes like boot-camp training, body training, or pump up your current group aerobic classes by adding a weight vest. I can tell you that adding a weight vest to a step or spin class seriously intensifies the exercise, just try it yourself!

Once the buzz is loud and clear in the club, all you need to do is have weight vests to sell to your club members. It is time to take advantage of a growing and exciting movement. Are you up to the challenge?

George Morrison is the Developer of the Xvest, and a Strength & Conditioning Coach. He can be contacted at 800.697.5658, or by email at gmorrison@thexvest.com.

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