Weighted Vest For Rucking | Ruck For Miles (2023)

Weighted Vest For Rucking | Ruck For Miles (1)

When rucking, theweighted vestis centred around your torso. Allowing you to move freely.Weightedvests keeps you centered, engages your core, and prevents you from leaning forward when the weight is heavy during the ruck which leads to back pain.Weightedvests allows you to change directions easily and allows for more agility.

Weighted vests can be a great alternative than rucksacks for rucking. When considering whether to buy one for rucking or not, here are the main things to consider.

  • Weight Capacity
  • Comfort and Form
  • Multi-use
  • Previous Injuries & Form
  • How to ruck with a weighted vest

But before we dive into our recommended weighted vests for rucking, here are some benefits of weighted vests compared to rucksacks or backpacks for rucking.

Benefits of Weighted Vests for Rucking

Weight DistributionThe weighted vest is centred around your torso. Allowing you to move freely.
Prevents Potential Back PainWeighted vests keeps you centered, engages your core, and prevents you from leaning forward when the weight is heavy which leads to back pain.
FlexibilityWeighted vests allows you to change directions easily and allows for more agility.
Multi-useWeighted vests are not just for rucking. You can use them for home workouts, runs, and training for a ruck.
PlateauYour strength and fitness can stop seeing positive results if you’re doing the same workouts. Weighted vests can help you break through that plateau and allow you to see new positive results (strength increase or improved fitness)
Improves Cardiovascular SystemSimilar to rucking, weighted vests provide added resistance to everyday movements and exercises which challenges your muscles and overall fitness giving you more room to improve.

Speaking of benefits, here’s a complete list of benefits of rucking if you’re still looking for a reason to start!

Weighted Vest Options For Rucking

1- Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0

Weighted Vest For Rucking | Ruck For Miles (2)

Comfort is priority with the Ruck Plate Carrier 2.0. They do this by having the lumbar padding support the natural curvature of your back, along with the shoulder straps padding (allowing you to carry more weight comfortably) and a padded top lid to maintain protection during fast movements exercises.

The material is made from 1,000D Cordura, which is the same materials used for making tough and durable rucking rucksacks. A great feature for durability. On top of that, it does include a Scars Lifetime Guarantee so even if you somehow manage to scratch it or break it somehow, they can fix it!

Lumbar supportWill take some time to get used to
Padded shoulder straps
Includes adjustable training Sternum Strap.
Comfortable & Durable
Includes Scars Lifetime Guarentee
Low instalment payments available

Check out the Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0 on GORUCK (link to goruck.com)

2- RunFast Weighted Vest

Weighted Vest For Rucking | Ruck For Miles (3)

We did come across the RUNFast Adjustable Weighted Vest that can carry up to 140 lbs of weight. If you’re interested, here’s a cheap weighted vest you can check out, RUNFast (Link to Amazon).

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The RUNFast weighted vest has customizable weights of up to 20 lbs, 40 lbs, and 60 lbs options. Furthermore for comfort, it comes with two padding options: shoulder padding or no shoulder padding.

Check out the RUNFast weighted vest if you’re interested (link to Amazon)

3- Car Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest

Weighted Vest For Rucking | Ruck For Miles (4)

We came across the CAP Adjustable Weighted Vest that we highly recommend for rucking. It’s flexible and we’re able to get it at 80lbs. It ranges from 40lbs – 150 lbs.

You don’t need to worry about the sizing as it has a one-size fits all along with an adjustable belt to ensure that the weighted vest is tightly secured. The included weights are adjustable and can be removed at any time.

Rucking weighted vests aside, lets dive into the benefits of rucking with a weighted vest.

Check out the Car Barbell Weighted Vest on Amazon (link to amazon).

Comfort & Form

If you’re a frequent rucker or not, you may have experience some real pain during and after your ruck. The constant weight on your back and shoulders can cause serious discomfort (if you slack on your form, which a lot of us do). Learn more about shoulder pain from rucking and how to avoid it.

This is where weighted vests come into play. They are pretty much hugging you, ensuring that the weight is balanced on your torso. It prevents the typical lower back pain that comes with carrying a heavy rucksack that forces you to lean forward.

Weighted Vest For Rucking | Ruck For Miles (5)

If comfort is a big thing for you, then consider getting a weighted vest that has the appropriate weight per your body weight and that has shoulder pads. Not too long ago, we came across the MIR weighted vest (link to Amazon). It comes with a standard or zipper option and can carry up to 45 lbs.

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Remember, when getting your weighted vest, make sure that it’s comfortable and can carry the appropriate amount of weight. We typically recommend for beginners to carry around 15% of your body weight. Check out our rucking for beginners guide for more juicy details.

Weight Capacity

People ruck for different reasons. Some, like us, do it for the social and health benefits. While others do it for military use. Whatever your intention is though, if your goal is to carry more weight for a ruck event, you have to carry weight that is truly challenging for you.

Weighted Vest For Rucking | Ruck For Miles (6)

If you’re training for a military ruck march, this weighted vest will help you endure more weight, but you should still supplement your training with a weighted rucksack. Check out our favourite rucksacks here.


While some say you shouldn’t get a weighted vest because you can’t use it in some rucking events, that’s certainly does not mean it’s useless. You can use a weighted vest interchangeably when you train for a ruck event to avoid injury while training for a ruck.

Part of training for rucking includes working out. Improving your stamina and strength prior to a rucking event is very important. It helps improve your endurance, which helps you to last longer in the event, and generally improves your health. Moreover, rucking burns a lot of calories!

With a weighted vest, there are TONS of workouts and exercises you can do to improve your cardio, strength, and readiness for a ruck. Check out our best exercises for Rucking post to learn more.


There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a plateau. You’ve been doing all the rucking exercises, sticking to your rucking schedule and diet but still not seeing new improvements in your ability to carry more weight or lose more weight.

Unfortunately, we all go through a similar phase. This is because our body got accustomed to the same workouts, same resistance, and activating the same muscles.

This is where weighted vests come into play. They force you to activate and use muscles that you might not have activated or worked out. A weighted vest will change the routine and make it difficult for your muscles to adapt to the changed form of resistance.

The more you can shock your muscles and push your fitness levels, the more improvement you will see in your rucking sessions.

(Video) GORUCK Plate Carrier or Rucker 3.0? // Different Tools for Different Training.

Improves Cardiovascular System

This is an obvious one, but similar to rucking, a weighted vests adds more resistance to your body. This makes everyday movements more difficult and forces your muscles to adapt to the new weight. Furthermore, the added resistance will deplete your oxygen levels which will increase your aerobic endurance.

You will notice that your heart rate is increasing and you’ll break a sweat before you know it.

The Risks of Rucking with a Weighted Vest

Generally speaking, weighted vests can further exacerbate the pain from previous injuries or other injuries caused by rucking with improper form.

If you had previously been feeling any pain (i.e lower back pain) from the weight due to past rucking injuries, we would highly recommend that you work on solving that issue first prior to trying to replace the weighted vest for a rucksack.

If you’re using a weighted vest for activities beyond rucking like pull-ups or push-ups, a common mistake people make is “cheating the rep”. This means that some people tend to rely on other body parts to complete the exercise.

For example, if John is attempting to do a pull up with a weighted vest, he may feel the need to swing aggressively to pull himself up, this can lead to to added stress to joints and other points.

Simply put, if you’re unable to perform any exercise (including rucking) without the weighted vest, you may want to reconsider using a weighted vest. Prefect the fundamentals first before using a weighted vest.

This concept most certainly applies when rucking. Check out our rucking tips to learn more about rucking with proper form.

How To Ruck with a weighted Vest

If you’re using a weighted vest for rucking for the first time, wear it and load 5% of your body weight. This will avoid shocking your body to the change of resistance.

After a few sessions, you will be able to determine and assess which body parts are most sore (you’ll be surprised what muscles will be activated that normally aren’t).

After that, work your way up to 10% of your body weight. When that starts to feel tolerable or too easy, feel free to keep on increasing the weight.

(Video) The Benefit of Wearing a Weighted Vest During Cardio

Weighted Vest or Rucksack: What’s Right For You?

This depends on why you are rucking.

If you’re rucking to join the military and meet the army ruck march standards, we highly recommend that you use a rucksack. This is because the military standard to ruck 12 miles in 3 hours carrying weight anywhere from 68 to 100 pounds is very intense.

Not only is it intense, but it will require a lot of practice prior to joining he military to prepare for the military. We hate to say it but a weighted vest will not help you with that.

This is because its more than just the amount of weight you’re carrying. Rucking with a weighted vest does not set you up or help you train for realistic military rucking requirements.

Also, you will want to get used to rucking with a rucksack to get used to it and prevent common rucking injuries.

Other than the military, if you find yourself needing access to a lot of things during your rucks like hydration, snacks, etc then you wont have space for it in the weight vest.

If you’re rucking solely as a means of getting in shape, you should absolutely use a weighted vest.

CrossFit and other rucking events use weighted vest to intensify their workouts. The weighted vest gives you more flexibility and intensify any HIIT workout that you’re integrating into your work out.

Related Questions

Do Weighted Vest Build Muscle?

Weighted vests can definitely help you build more muscle. This is because they provide extra resistance that your body needs to break down the muscle (and eventually repair it, this is how muscle growth happens in a nutshell).

If you’re incorporating different hypertrophy workouts in your ruck session, you will be able to build muscle (assuming your nutrition and sleep is on point too).

How Heavy Should Your Weighted Vest Be?

A big part of this involves listening to your body and taking into account the workout ahead. If you’re going to a ruck event that involves a High Intensity Interval Training component, then you may want to adjust your weight accordingly.

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Here are three easy ways to tell if the weight you’re carrying in your weighted vest is too heavy (during a ruck or in any other workout):

  1. Cheating your reps
  2. Poor posture
  3. Post workout rucking injuries


Does a weighted vest count as rucking? ›

Weighted vests are a great alternative to rucksacks for rucking.

How many miles should I run with a weighted vest? ›

How many miles you should run with a weighted vest is down to personal preference and your level of fitness. However, do remember that a weighted vest is an increased strain on your body so it's important to build up your distance gradually to avoid injury.

Is walking with a weighted vest better than rucking? ›

Weight vests centralize the weight around your entire torso and keeps it tighter against your body so they're better for running. Rucks keep it on your back so you can do push-ups, climb objects, and other things common in events. It's also easier to take off and gives you storage space.

How much weight should I add for rucking? ›

How Much Weight to Use. If you're just starting out with rucking or it's been awhile since you've done much physical activity, start with a weight that's about 10% of your bodyweight. So if you're a 200-pound man, start with 20 pounds in your ruck. Each week, add 5 pounds until you get up to about 35-50 pounds.

How heavy should a weighted vest be for walking? ›

Getting started -How to Choose a Walking Weight Vest

Look for a vest with weights that are no heavier than 1/2 lb. You do not need to wear a lot of weight. Around 5 to 10 percent of your body weight is good for most people. Comfort and fit are a key factor.

Does walking with a weighted vest build bone density? ›

Some studies have shown that performing activities such as walking, jumping, and resistance exercises while wearing vests loaded with weights equivalent to 4% to 10% of body weight (5–13 pounds in a 130 pound woman) might help stabilize bone density and would likely also improve balance.

Is a 20 lb weight vest enough? ›

A 20lbs weight vest is usually too light for many exercises. This will depend on your fitness level, but for the average individual a 20lbs weight vest will not be enough weight to unlock you full potential for exercises like the push-up or squat.

How much harder is it to run with a weighted vest? ›

One small study of 11 long-distance runners showed a peak speak increase of 2.9 percent after weight vest training. Weight vests work by training your body to exert more force to run during training sessions.

What does running with a 20 pound vest do? ›

According to a small study, running with a weight vest leads to increases in heart and lung efficiency. In other words, it makes an already effective cardio workout even better. If you're looking to seriously build cardiovascular endurance and health, weighted running is a great tool.

What should you not do with a weighted vest? ›

It is not advisable to wear a weighted vest for the whole day as it is likely to make you very tired and could cause soreness and muscle burn in various parts of your body. If while exercising, any of your muscles start to hurt, take off the vest immediately.

What if you wear a weighted vest everyday? ›

A precaution to consider when using weighted vests is attempting to wear more weight than you can handle. This can lead to overtraining or injury. This can lead to excessive soreness, as well as chronic strain or pain issues. As such, it's better to start lighter than you think and gradually increase the load.

Is rucking better for you than running? ›

Rucking is less stressful on the body than running and counts as a low-impact exercise. Rucking can increase balance and coordination and help improve upper body strength. There are organized rucking events you can participate in with friends.

How much weight do Navy Seals ruck with? ›

A typical ruck march in BUD/S or Alpha Phase would be to cover three miles carrying 35 pounds in the O-Course/Demo Pit area (a combination of hard pack and soft sand). The pace would be around 14-13 minutes per mile (4.3 - 4.6mph).

How fast should you ruck 3 miles? ›

ruck, and go 2-3 miles at a 15 minute per mile clip. This will allow you to feel out how you have packed your rucksack, how the shoulder and back pad sits, and any adjustments you need to make. Once you can reliably do this distance and time, you'll move onto the intermediate ruck.

What is a good pace for a ruck mile? ›

A fast-walking pace with a ruck should reach the minimum standard of a 15-minute mile pace. However, a power walking stride should push about a 13- to 14-minute pace, with moderate weight of 50 pounds.

What happens if a weighted vest is too heavy? ›

The risk involved with a weight vest

If you go too heavy all at once, you can strain your muscles or spine, and cause yourself quite an injury. Wearing the vest too loose or not adjusting it properly can lead to injury as well, as can a disproportionate distribution of your weight.

How long should you wear weighted vest in a day? ›

Weighted Garments

Wear time should be 20 to 50 minutes based on convenience. For example, if the student is going to a class where he could benefit from vest wear, I would recommend leaving it on for the duration of that class/subject. Leave the vest off for at least that long before next planned wear time.

Is rucking good for bone density? ›

Rucking is an often underrated and underutilized form of low impact exercise that can be used to improve strength, cardiovascular capacity, caloric burn, balance and bone density.

Does rucking help bone density? ›

Running and rucking long distances isn't just great for developing your cardio and mental toughness. It's also an excellent exercise for building bone density, joint stability, and muscular endurance.

What is the best exercise for bone density? ›

Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are the best for your bones. Weight-bearing exercises force you to work against gravity. They include walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing. Resistance exercises – such as lifting weights – can also strengthen bones.

Is a 40 pound weighted vest to much? ›

I would recommend for someone who is new to weight vests to start out with 10 or 15 lbs and build from there. 40lbs is too jarring to your body initially. High quality product.

Does walking with weighted vest build muscle? ›

Another benefit of wearing a weighted vest is the impact it has on how your body deals with fat. As we know, wearing a weighted vest helps greatly with increasing your muscle mass. The more muscle your body has, the better armed it is to burn calories and lose fat.

Is a 40 pound vest good? ›

The weighted vest is a useful tool whether you're training to build speed, strength and athletic power, or just looking for a way to make training a little tougher. A 40-lb. vest would be suitable for an intermediate to advanced trainer.

Should a running vest be tight or loose? ›

Choose a snug fit: Running vests are meant to fit quite snug to limit movement while running. When a vest is too big, it will tend to shift around, which can be distracting and uncomfortable, especially if the movement causes painful chafing (learn more about preventing chafing).

Does weight vest improve stamina? ›

Wearing a light weighted vest during your cardio routine has been proven to increase stamina, strength, and endurance.

Is a weighted vest good for backpacking training? ›

One of the best ways is by using a weight vest. Even for those fortunate enough to live near mountains, weight vests work on the bigger leg muscles as well as the stabilizers, helping to lower the chance of injury on top of raising hiking speed.

Are weighted vest good for hiking training? ›

Weighted vests work well to increase the challenge of bodyweight and resistance activities, and they can be used with some aerobic activities, such as running and hiking. They can also be used with explosive training exercises, including jumps and reactive training drills.

Is it OK to wear a weighted vest all day? ›

It is not advisable to wear a weighted vest for the whole day as it is likely to make you very tired and could cause soreness and muscle burn in various parts of your body. If while exercising, any of your muscles start to hurt, take off the vest immediately.

Does weighted vest build mass? ›

Another benefit of wearing a weighted vest is the impact it has on how your body deals with fat. As we know, wearing a weighted vest helps greatly with increasing your muscle mass. The more muscle your body has, the better armed it is to burn calories and lose fat.

Is a 40 lb weighted vest good? ›

The weighted vest is a useful tool whether you're training to build speed, strength and athletic power, or just looking for a way to make training a little tougher. A 40-lb. vest would be suitable for an intermediate to advanced trainer.

What are the results of weighted vests? ›

Weighted vests are great for increasing coordination, balance, and explosive power needed for agility exercises. The extra weight puts more stress on the entire body, so when you perform the exercises without the vest after training for a period of time with it on, these movements become much easier.

Does walking with a weighted vest burn more? ›

2. Wearing a weighted vest. Adding extra weight to a workout will burn more calories. Heavier people burn more calories because their bodies require more energy to perform the same task than someone who is not as heavy; wearing a weighted vest while walking encourages a person's body to work harder during a walk.

Can a weighted vest build abs? ›

Not only will you burn more calories with a weighted vest on, but you will also actually strengthen your abdominal muscles as well. Your core has to work harder to stabilize when resistance is added, making a weighted vest the perfect tool for strengthening your core.

What muscles does a weighted vest work? ›

Weighted vests target and work the muscles that are resisting the added load. For example, running with a weighted vest will work your legs, doing pull ups with a weighted vest will hit your back and arms while doing pushups will work your chest and arms.

Can you walk with a weighted vest everyday? ›

Weighted vest walking for fat loss

Not because walking or walking with a weighted vest is going to burn the most calories. However, it is something you can do consistently on a regular basis. That's why weighted vest walking is one of the best exercises for fat loss – because you can do it every day.

What percent of body weight should a weighted vest be? ›

A weight vest should not exceed 10 percent of your body weight. Most research is based on vests that are 4 to 10 percent of the body weight of study subjects. To get the most value for your money, look for a vest that allows you to start at a lower weight and gradually add more weight.


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