Are you thinking about buying a tactical weight vest and weight vest plates for boosting your workouts?
A lot of factors go into choosing the right weighted vest. The type of weight a vest is loaded with is important to picking the best for your workouts. You see many tactical weighted vests with solid metal weight vest plates in events like the Crossfit plate carrier in the CrossFit® Games. These weighted plate carrier vests originated as military body armor. Does that make a military weight vest the best style vest for you? What are the pros and cons of a plate carrier with weight vest plates when compared conventional weighted vests?
Looking for the best weight vest for fitness? The type of exercise and movement in your workouts is a deciding factor. You are not heading in the right direction if you workout with a big hunk of solid iron
strapped to your chest and back. Large weights have their own inertia. A quick cut and change of direction will find that plate moving against you. Fitted style performance weight vests allow functional movement. Smaller weights are held close to your center of gravity and allow for natural movement.
Are you really ready to jump right in to workout with a 20 lb weight vest for Murph? The best advice for strength training is to gradually increase your resistance. Working out with a weighted vest is no exception.
Your options for adjusting the load of a weighted vest using weight vest plates is limited by your budget and the size of the weights. Moreover, there are only two or three common weights available for plate carriers - 5.75/8.75/14.5LB Pairs are typical.
Why? Most important, the popular MURPH WOD has standard weights of a total of 14 lbs for women and 20 lbs for men. You pay anything from $80-$110 a pair of weight vest plates and be limited to increments of 6 to 10 lbs. But we are focused on using a tactical vest for fitness. However, if you are military, police or a firefighter just go with the heavy load. You should be ready for it. Need smaller weight increments for your workout? Get a conventional style of weight vest or a performance model. Lastly, want an even better option for an adjustable weight plate that is flexible and can be changed by 1/2 pound increments? Look for a pair of the new 9 lb Hyperwear Flexible Weight vest plates now available on Amazon with a 10lb adjustable Flexible Weight vest plat coming soon.
Weight Plate Compartments
A hidden but critical feature is how a tactical plate carrier secures the weight vest plates. Almost all designs have an opening at the bottom of the plate compartment. Above all, that opening must have a secure closure. You are
moving around with thin solid pieces of iron that could take your toe off if it falls out. That is why you will see tactical vests have large velcro areas and interior straps. A good strap system will also keep the plates from bouncing around inside the compartment. Finally, there are other options with one model that has a side opening or choosing the new Flexible Weight™ vest plates for fitness plate carrier vests.
Straps that Adjust Fit
Wide mesh elastic straps are a good solution found on many tactical carrier vests. In real life, you are going to be tightening the straps a lot to hold the plates in place. Very little elastic will be left. Going with non-elastic webbing straps that are strong will be as effective and last longer. Performance weighted vests sometimes have stretch fabric and side shock cords that truly give you comfort and tight fit. You want to pick a model of weight vest that allows your chest to expand to breath - always good when working out.
Why are shoulder pads even sold as an option for a tactical plate carrier? Shoulder pads are essential. Most of the weight load will hang from your shoulders so look for thick and wide pages to disperse and cushion the weight. Up and down movements like muscle-ups jerk the weight around and your shoulders will hate you for it. Avoid the tactical weight vest and go with a performance weight vest if you want to find options that hug your body tightly and remove most of the weight from your shoulders.
Watch for the distance between the shoulder straps and angle. You want straps far enough apart and possibly angled to prevent them from digging into your neck. Most importantly, select shoulder straps that adjust to give you the best fit. It is not great if you are moving with 20 lbs or more hanging from a badly designed plate carrier weight vest. Consider other weight vest options that provide more comfort.
The choices of color are a wide range but most vests come in a desert brown or camo pattern like a military plate carrier. But for a fitness weight vest, a black or grey is a good choice. The material is more important than color. But any decent style of tactical vest is going to be built from 500D or tougher fabric.
Tactical weighted vests are either true military plate carrier vests that hold body armor plates, or fitness plate carrier vests never intended to be used for protection. Because there are important specifications for the size of body armor plates, the size and shape of plate compartments is very uniform. But there are two shapes: 1) trapezoidal, and 2) rectangular. What is the reason? Rectangular plates give you the most area of protection. For fitness a rectangular weight plate give you more weight since they are bigger. Trapezoidal, with the top corners of the rectangle removed, give you greater freedom of shoulder movement and are more common.
One size fits most is the rule with tactical weighted vests. Check on the adjustability of the shoulder straps, width between the shoulder straps, and type of cinch belt to pick what is best for you. But these vests will truly fit most people.
Personalizing your plate carrier style vest with patches is very popular. Look for hook and loop fabric or MOLLE webbing when selecting one to buy if you want to add patches.
Best weight vest plates
The vast majority of tactical weighted vests are sold without weights. There are pros and cons to that story. The big benefit is you get to shop around for the best price and quality for your budget. Because standards exist for body armor plates that military style vests use, you will find most weight vest plates fit most plate carrier vests. Be cautious about trying ruck plates since they are not sized to the standards. They are backpack weights for rucking. The cons are the added hassle of figuring out the best solution, and needing to place a second order to wait for a second package. Non-tactical weighted workout vests have a much greater variety of weight vest weights to pick from and almost all include weights with your purchase.
Adjustable Weight Vest Plates
Fitness plate carrier vests are sold with the promise that they are adjustable in weight. While true for the most part, you are facing a large cost to buy another set of plates of a different weight. And the weight increment will be measured in 6-10 lbs, which is a large jump. Performance training weighted vests are much more adjustable with increments as small as 1/4 - 1lb. The best news is that there is now another choice - a weight vest plate shaped container (either trapezoidal or rectangular) holding small half pound weights. In other words, the feature of a performance training vest in a weighted plate carrier package.
Curved or Flexible Weight Vest Plates
No one who enjoys breathing during intense exercise should willingly choose to strap a flat solid piece of iron hard
against their sternum. You have choices and should spend a little more to improve function and comfort. A number of curved weight vest plates are on the market. You need to be careful that the curved vest plates fit your model of tactical weight vest, but they are a better choice. Not as good as a performance vest, but better than flat steel plates for your vest. However, you have a new best weight vest plate choice. One that is the size and shape of a flat iron plate, but bends and flexes - the Hyperwear Flexible Weight vest plates that fit the majority of tactical weighted vests on the market.
And in conclusion
If you know a tactical plate carrier design is for you, great! Just focus in on the key features above to select the perfect plate carrier with plates for you, at a fair price.
Dig deeper into the main selling points to guide you to your best choice to take your training to the next level - you have the ability to reach your goals and go beyond.
What's your opinion?
Have experience training with a tactical weight vest? We would love to hear from you. Please share with us all the insights, tips, and feedback you have.
Thanks again for reading. Keep training hard, have a great day, and stay awesome!
One final important warning for the fools out there who ignore warnings NEVER USE ANY WEIGHT VEST PLATE AS BODY ARMOR no matter what idiot demo video you find on Youtube.