6 WEIGHT VEST movements you haven't tried

04/06/2021 | Andrew Tracey

Andrew Tracey is a long time collaborator with Bulldog Gear. A coach, writer and current fitness editor of Men’s Health Magazine, he has been in and around the fitness industry for the past 16 years. Having enjoyed and endured a number of disciplines from endurance racing, to strongman, to Crossfit AT enjoys getting neck deep in the practice just as much as the theory.

Weighted vests are a criminally under utilised tool in training. Far from being a novelty piece of kit that you blow the dust off of once a year for your annual ‘Murph’ attempt, training in a vest offers a myriad of benefits, from increasing your aerobic adaptations during low intensity exercise, right through to turning an ‘easy’ bodyweight piece into an epic battle against gravity.

If you’re looking to break out the body armour more often, but need more motivation than a few heavy miles and going to struggle city on the pull-up bar, we’ve got 6 alternative movements for you to try with your vest.


Direct arm training gets some unfair press in certain circles, but the truth is you’re only ever as strong as your weakest link. Throw in a few high rep sets at the end of your workout to build your pulling strength endurance.


Falling somewhere between the full body metabolic hit of a plate ground to head, and the unstable stimulus of a sandbag, using your vest for a ground-to-overhead is a great way to add an additional resistance movement to your weight vest training day, without lugging around any additional kit.


Making the most of the incremental weight ‘bricks’ found in our vests, the close stance and elevated heels position of the cyclist squat place a huge emphasis on the VMO muscle of your quadriceps, which is vital in stabilising the knee joint, it’s development is essential for long-term knee health. Try a high rep chipper to polish of your lower body session with a burn.


Loaded carries are more often than not the missing link in most people’s training. This variation may be a lightweight offering, but the constant, isometric tension will build endurance through your biceps, forearms and upper back, helping you to up those pull-up numbers (and grow a sweet set of guns in the process).


Another barbell or dumbbell staple that can easily be adapted for use with the vest. Focussing on a range of motion that’s often neglected (pulling vertically, towards your shoulders). The upright row has received some negative attention in the past, but when performed under control and with proper form, the potential benefits for your shoulders and upper back are huge.


A great option for building shoulder stability and stamina whilst also hitting those pins. Try a max distance effort, until you can no longer hold the weight overhead; immediately put the vest on and continue with your lunges, to failure.