The 20 Best Weight Vest Workouts

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You got a hard CrossFit workout…and that should be enough…

Right….right…??!!

Apparently, the likes of DT, Karen, and Cindy just aren’t quite enough for the serious CrossFit enthusiasts. At least, not in their “vest-less” iterations.

….also, some days you just gotta do a weight vest workout.

Thankfully, we have a few heavy hitters here for you to choose from!

When considering the…ramifications for donning the weighted vest, factor in ~20-30% more time than a “weight-less” variation of the same workout might take you. After looking at top Murph times versus what the best in the world put up at the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games competitions, this range seems to be pretty consistent to the kind of…hindrance that you gotta overcome when working in a vest.

Still up for the challenge and you’re cool with your weighted Murph time looking a bit slower than when you’re vest free? Then, without further ado, here we have…

The 20 Best Weight Vest Workouts

Hidalgo

Equipment: Weight vest, Air Runner (optional) barbell, bumper plates, plyo box

We’ll kick-off with one of the toughest, if not the toughest of the top weight vest workouts. I mean, 4 miles in a vest is hard enough, but a bunch of heavy-ish squat cleans, box jumps, and lunges…

Holy burning quads, Batman!

…and those 2-minute rests before and after the big runs…just teases!

Sweat

Equipment: Weight vest, Air runner (optional)

It’s always the workouts that look so “simple” that end up to be soooo hard!

Truth be told, Sweat “only” throws 100 burpees and a couple of miles at you…but this just means that you’re supposed to move

Fast…you’re gonna sweat!

Get going!

Taylor

Equipment: Weight vest, Air Runner (optional), pull-up bar/rack, gymnastics rings

The quarter-mile runs…no big deal.

20 muscle-ups…tough, but do-able.

20 burpee muscle-ups…this is getting hard.

20 weighted burpee muscle-ups…good luck!

Westy’s 10,000

Equipment: Weight vest, dumbbells

One of the hardest parts of this one might be simply finding a 70-pound vest. However, if you are “lucky” enough to get your hands on one, then you get to do one hundred grounds-to-overheads with a couple of fiftys.

I mean…those grounds-to-overheads would be hard enough without a weighted vest…so…have fun!

2017 Riders Throwdown – WOD 1

Equipment: Weight vest, Assault Bike, barbell, bumper plates, pull-up bar/rack, Air runner (optional)

Make sure you wear a weighted vest for this one (the Rx athletes at this event had to perform this one as a weight vest workout)!

You gotta take your time on the Assault Bike or your legs will be absolutely worthless during the thrusters…not to mention being absolutely destroyed during the run.

tldr: don’t try to be a hero during the beginning of this one!

Luce

Equipment: Weight vest, Air runner (optional), pull-up bar/rack, gymnastics rings

A lot of running, and a lot of air squats…kinda sounds like you know who, doesn’t it?

Well, as tough as Murph is (that is who you were thinking of, right?) at least you don’t have to knock out 30 muscle-ups!

Those muscle-ups…totally different story when you’re hauling an extra 14-20 pounds around!

Sir Charles

Equipment: Weight vest, Air runner (optional), pull-up bar/rack

Another weighted vest making the running and squatting much more difficult.

…but in my opinion, the 50 chest-to-bar pull-ups really make this one of the top weight vest workouts!

The “good” news about those weighted chest-to-bar pull-ups? At least your chest is that much closer to the bar, making them that much easier!

(this one is still too hard for the real Sir Charles to tackle, though!)

Stairway to Heaven

Equipment: Weight vest, plyo box

Chad is really hard and man do you feel it for days afterwards!

…and this version of Stairway to Heaven is actually tougher than Chad is (in my opinion, at least).

You “only” have 800 weighted box step-ups as well as 6 whole minutes of dedicated rest. However, 400 of these step-ups require a 40-pound vest and once the weighted step-ups are finished, you have 400 step-ups to complete as quickly as possible.

Do you agree with my assessment of this one? Give it a try and prove me wrong!

Murph

Equipment: Weight vest, Air runner (optional), pull-up bar/rack

What else needs to be say about Murph that hasn’t already been said?

Some would argue that this is one of the best weight vest workouts (if not the best) of them all (just like it can be considered to be the best hero WOD, running WOD, upper-body WOD…you get the picture!)

I can’t say I disagree with them!

…and if you want to take on Murph, but aren’t quite ready for the weight vest version of the WOD…check out our beginner version here!

A Warm Place

Equipment: Weight vest, dumbbells

This one is hard enough to keep track of, yet alone actually perform. However, to be fair, outside of the farmer’s carry, all of the other exercises are pretty manageable…

…and you get a 60-second rest each round!

You got 3 rounds; just. move. fast!

Sisson

Equipment: Weight vest, climbing rope, Air runner (optional)

The first AMRAP on the list looks like it can be “easy” enough for 3 or 4 rounds…just a single rope climb, a few burpees, and a short run…

…but just try to keep up that fast pace for 20 minutes.

This is going to be the only time I explicitly state this…but…pace yourself…please!

Riley

Equipment: Weight vest, Air runner (optional)

(almost) A 5k run and 150 burpees…all in the “context” of wearing a heavy weighted vest.

So…I hope you’re okay with burpees and with running!

Heavy Trail Run

Equipment: Weight vest

You want to do the same workouts as the CrossFit Games athletes? You have your chance with this one; they completed a 7k trail run at the 2009 CrossFit Games!

However, CrossFit has definitely upped the ante in regard to WOD challenges in recent years…so…you’re gonna do this one with a weighted vest!

Will Lindsay

Equipment: Weight vest, dumbbells

You know those WODs (not necessarily weight vest WODs) where there are a few really hard movements and a few that are…not so hard?

Doesn’t this look like one of those?

10 rounds is 10 rounds, but I can assure you that you’re going to have much more trouble with the lunges (like, a lot more) than the air squats.

René

Equipment: Weight vest, Air runner (optional), pull-up bar/rack

This one kind of gives you a Loredo vibe, doesn’t it?

The walking lunges are definitely tough…especially when you couple them with almost 2 miles worth of running.

…but it’s no picnic for your upper body either, considering you have over 100 weighted pull-ups and over 60 burpees.

I’ll say it again…pacing!

Heavy Fran

Equipment: Weight vest, barbell, bumper plates, pull-up bar/rack

Rich Froning endorses this one and…I mean…are you really gonna challenge what the 4-time champ has to say?

That being said, those are heavy thrusters and, once you finish with those each round, you gotta throw on a heavy vest for the pull-ups.

This one didn’t make our list of the top Fran variations…but it certainly could have!

2017 Riders Throwdown WOD 2

weight vest workouts

Equipment: Weight vest, GHD, plyo box, climbing rope, barbell, bumper plates

This one is a little tough to keep track of, but is pretty interesting at the same time. I mean, you get a weight vest workouts version of DT as well as bunch of GHD sit-ups, burpee box get-overs (practice these before you perform them!) and even some rope climbs.

That being said, I’m glad I didn’t have to perform this one as an Rx athlete!

Severin

Equipment: Weight vest, pull-up bar/rack, Air runner (optional)

Hopefully you “learned” strict pull-ups before you got into kipping pull-ups. If you didn’t, this one is going to be…tough.

And those 50 pull-ups are just how things start! Next you have a bunch of those wonderful, weighted vest push-ups…all before a leisurely 5k run.

Besides the need for a weighted vest, this one almost qualifies as a top bodyweight CrossFit workout…so…no excuses not to tackle this one!

Burj Khalifa Challenge

Equipment: Weight vest, stairs

We got another “classic” CrossFit “elite” workout from a yuge competition from the past.

The Burj Khalifa Challenge.

I could try to do this one justice…but…the video can do it a lot better than I can. Enjoy!

Weight Vest WOD: 030122

Equipment: Weight vest, Concept2 rower, Assault Bike

This is another one you gotta wear a 20 or 14-pound vest for in order for it to officially be one of the best weight vest workouts.

Got your vest? Good! time to get rowing and riding!

If (when) this one starts to suck, just remember that after the first full round, you’re already 1/3 done and after the second row, you’re almost halfway done!

Feel better now, don’t ya?!

Weight Vest Workouts…for when Heavy Barbells and High-rep Gymnastics Just Won’t Do!

As much as I’d like to tell you that weight vest workouts are the types of things you’re “going to have to get used to” in CrossFit, as if they’re some new kind of thing or something, I can’t.

The weighted vest has been a…beloved part of CrossFit for quite some time now; if you haven’t been training in one, you actually are a bit behind the eight ball!

Thankfully, after even a quick scan of this roster of WODs, you really have no excuse not to throw on your vest and get moving. Afterall, Murph is only (insert exact number of days until Memorial Day!) days away!

Still not convinced on the merits of all things weighted vest, check out our rundown of the top 15 benefits of weighted vest training…and then feel ashamed that you ever doubted us!

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AUTHOR

Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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