Many exercises, including plyometrics, simple cardiovascular activities or calisthenics, are theoretically improved upon by making the body "think" it's heavier than it actually is, which is why some people choose to work out while wearing a weighted vest. A weighted vest is worn over the torso and can hold between 10 and 200 pounds of extra weight. These vests are meant to be worn while exercising in order to force the body to work harder, thus causing it to burn more calories. Although it may seem like a simple idea, using a weighted vest can cause many problems.
Adding extra weight to the body not only makes the muscles in the body work harder, it also forces joints and ligaments to absorb a great deal of this impact. People who wear weight vests risk injuring themselves even while performing low-intensity activities like walking. This risk is especially high for people who have had any history of joint, tendon or ligament damage, such as tendinitis or any kind of dislocation — especially in the lower body.
Because the midsection is where many people tend to carry extra weight, it is often an area of focus for people trying to get into shape. However, unless you are in good shape to begin with, adding even 40 pounds to your upper body in a weighted vest can put an immense amount of pressure on your spine. Twisting exercises meant to target the torso's muscles can put extra strain on the muscles surrounding your spine as they must compensate for a weaker core. People just beginning an exercise routine would do well to avoid weighted vests altogether because the risk of back injury outweighs the possible benefits.
Another disadvantage of a weighted vest is the cost of a high-quality piece of equipment. The cost of an MiR weighted vest, which has been proven to help elite athletes in their training, can start at $150. Heavier vests can cost more than $350. A similar effect can be achieved by chaining a weight plate to a belt, both of which are often provided in public gyms. If you choose to use a belt and a weight plate, keep in mind that the same risks apply.