The Beginner's Guide to Weighted Belt and Weight Vest Workouts

The Beginner's Guide to Weighted Belt and Weight Vest Workouts

In strength training, wearables don’t necessarily mean fitness trackers like a heart rate monitor or a smart watch. There are also wearable weights, like the newTRX® XD™ Kevlar® Weighted Belt and Weight Vest
Reading The Beginner's Guide to Weighted Belt and Weight Vest Workouts 7 minutes

How do you like to weight your workouts? With dumbbells? Kettlebells? Nothing at all? What about adding wearables into the mix?

In strength training, wearables don’t necessarily mean fitness trackers like a heart rate monitor or a smart watch. There are also wearable weights, like the newTRX® XD™ Kevlar® Weighted Belt and Weight Vest. (Yes, we do more than just TRX Suspension Trainers™, friends.) Let’s talk about each of those options, how to integrate wearable weight into your workout routine, and how to use TRX Training Club® to get more from your gear.

Hands-free weight training? It exists!

Both theTRX® XD™ Kevlar® Weighted Belt and the TRX® XD™ Kevlar® Weight Vest give you options for wearing weight—instead of holding it—during your workout. That means you could load up squats, lunges, curtsies, and more, all hands-free. 

Wearable weights are also a way to level up your plyometric movements. Jumping or running with dumbbells or kettlebells is a non-starter, but you can add explosive movement to a load-bearing workout with a Weighted Belt or Weight Vest. Want to make pull-ups even tougher? Wearable weights make it possible.

So what’s the difference between the two options?

Women with weight belt

A weighted belt is designed to load up the hip complex without worrying about finding the right grip or position. (If you’ve got an upper body injury and you want to train lower body, a weighted belt is your new best friend.)  TheTRX® XD™ Kevlar® Weighted Belt is a 10-lb., adjustable workhorse, and the only weighted belt on the market built with DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber. (That’s the stuff that’s literally stronger than steel, so it’s made to last.) 

The Weighted Belt cinches around the waist to provide a comfortable and easy way to add weight to your workouts, and you can use it for both resistance training and contrast training. It comes pre-weighted at 10 lbs., but you can adjust it  down in ½-lb. increments by removing the coated weight bars.

Man with weighted vest

A weight vest, on the hand, increases the load on your whole body.

The TRX® XD™ Kevlar® Weight Vest slips over your shoulders and wraps around your chest to distribute the weight around your upper body. It’s fully-padded for comfort, and has a cross-strapping system that will prevent shifting even through your power moves. Our Weight Vests come pre-weighted in 10, 20, and 40-lb versions, with removable weights that let you determine the right load for your workout.

Which wearable is right for you?

New to the world of wearable weights? You might want to start with the TRX® XD™ Kevlar® Weighted Belt. It’s easy to wear, and a little bit cooler temperature-wise, since you aren’t adding a full layer of weight over your chest. If you struggle with maintaining correct posture during strength training, the Weighted Belt may feel more accessible, since it’s not adding to the load on your spinal column.

For more advanced athletes, or posture sticklers, the TRX® XD™ Kevlar® Weight Vest creates a top-heavy challenge, requiring extra attention to form. If you like compression, one advantage of the vest is the adjustable, snug fit around your upper-body. Also, the vest comes in a broader range of weights, if you’re looking for a load greater than 10 lbs. 

Ultimately, they’re both comfortable, adjustable, and designed to last; the deciding factor is usually personal preference. 

Women squatting with straps and weighted vest

What exercises can I do with a Weighted Belt?

When in doubt, start with squats! (Isn’t that the rule for everything in life?) 

Think of the Weighted Belt as a hands-free way to load up your legs. It’s best to begin with an exercise that’s familiar so you can understand how the weight is changing the exercise. Remember, you can also double up your tools, adding a TRX Suspension Trainer™ to the move to help you maintain your stability while working with the Weighted Belt.

Here are three of our favorite exercises to help you grow comfortable with a TRX Weighted Belt. While adjusting to the sensation of exercising with wearable weight, consider starting with minimal weight in your Weighted Belt. If it’s too light, add more. If you have a TRX Suspension Trainer, feel free to use it with any of these exercises.

Women with straps and weighted vest doing jump squat

Squats: Start with your standard squat—that means heels firmly planted on the ground—then progress to a squat-to-calf-raise, and finish with a squat jump.

Lunges: Step-back lunges are a solid way to improve both lower body strength and ankle stability. Load up with your wearable weight of choice, and start with alternating lunges. As you step back, make sure that your front knee does not extend over your front toe. When you’re ready for the next challenge, add a pulse to the bottom of your lunge, or try staying low in your lunge for 15-30 seconds, before attempting the same hold on your other leg. If you’re feeling confident in lunging while wearing a Weight Vest or Weighted Belt, add a jump to the transition.

Curtsies: While the motion is similar to the step-back lunge, curtsies target the gluteus medius and hip abductors, in addition to the quads and gluteus maximus. Start with alternating curtsies, add the additional pulse or hold, and finish with skaters when you’re ready to bring plyo to your routine. 

Women lunging with straps and weighted vest

What exercises can I do with a Weight Vest?

With a Weight Vest, you can tackle any of the Weighted Belt exercises, and then some. 

Weight Vests are great for everything from running to powering up a plank, push-up, or pull-up. (Just don’t add wearable weights to your workouts in the pool, okay?) Just like the Weighted Belt exercises, you can use your TRX Suspension Trainer to support any of these moves. 

Push-ups: Even if you’re a long-time, push-ups-from-the-toes kind of person, you might want to start you Weight Vest push-up from your knees. Trust us: this is a humbling experiences. Your arms, legs, and core have to work a lot harder to complete each rep when you’ve packed on an extra 10-40 lbs. in a matter of seconds.

Pull-ups: Be sure to add your weight gradually when attempting weighted push-ups. Your traps will be annoyed if you start with a maximum load.

Plank Openers: Who’s ready for a stability challenge? Start in your standard plank, and then open into a side plank. Once you feel steady with the basic opener, you can try adding a hip dip or a leg lift into your reps.

Women doing row with weighted vest and straps

TRX Rows: A bonus move, and one of our favorites for a Weight Vest! TRX Rows are super for strengthening your lats.

Want more? You got it!

Trx training club

Generally, if you can do an exercise with bodyweight only or with your TRX Suspension Trainer, you can take it to the next level by adding a TRX  Weighted Belt or TRX Weight Vest. And you don’t have to spend hours programming your own workouts. On TRX Training Club, we’ve got hundreds of on-demand workouts you can complete at any time, and dozens of live Suspension Training™ classes every week that you can do with your wearable weights. First timers get a free 7-day trial with unlimited TRX Training Club access, so you can make an informed decision about continuing with the full experience—a steal at less than $20 per month—or just the on-demand library.

Every body is different. Whether you prefer body weight, light weight, or heavy weight, you’ve gotta go with the routine that works for you. Whatever that is, TRX® has gear like our Weighted Belt and Weight Vest that meets you where you are.