Gearhead: Add weight to your workout

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Want to amp up your training routine, build endurance and maximize strength? Many professional trainers recommend using weighted vests to do so.

According to an article in Men’s Journal, some studies indicate that training with added weight can improve speed, time to exhaustion and the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise (often called VO2 max). In addition, trainers believe that weighted vests improve cardio work and bodyweight exercises; they’re also used for certain injury rehab situations. Many users like to hike or even run with a weighted vest.

Weighted vests are best used by people who are in good shape and already have a regular workout routine. If you get one, start off using it slowly. Some vests, like the first one described below, have slots for inserting an incremental series of weights. Begin with a single weight and, as your body becomes accustomed to carrying that weight over time, add more weight. Most vests come with 10 or 20 pounds of weights (some vests are made in a way that allows you to add more weight if you want to scale up the load).

Here are two well-recommended vests:

Hyperwear’s Hyper Vest PRO comes with 10 pounds of 1/4-inch thickness, high-density steel weights. Made from breathable, odor-resistant wicking fabric, the vest offers open side panels and flexible side laces that let you adjust it for optimum comfort while not hindering motion range. The weights can be adjusted in 2.25-ounce increments. The vests come in four sizes to fit both men and women. The small can hold up to 20 pounds of weight total, while extra large can carry up to 42 pounds. $199 for the basic 10 pound vest.

Everlast’s Evergrip Weighted Vest comes with built-in iron and sand weight filling (this means you can’t add or decrease the weight). It’s made from neoprene, and adjustable straps allow you to strap into it for a just-right fit — most users remark on its high comfort level. It’s a unisex vest, with one size fitting most people. It comes in two different weights: 10 pounds ($49.99) or 20 pounds (79.99).

In Sonoma County, Everlast is carried by Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

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