Running with Weights: Everything you Need to Know | Rockay

Running with Weights: Everything you Need to Know

Every runner hits a point where they want to challenge themselves. Some people increase their distance or their speed. Other runners want to increase the resistance of their runs, which means they add extra weight to their run. A few people carry hand weights while running with weights, but this disrupts stride length and is not recommended. The majority of runners who want to add weight to their routine go about it with ankle weights or weighted vests.

Image result for running with ankle weights 1000x1000

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. And, it must be noted, research on the effects of weighted running has yielded mixed results. Some studies indicate that adding weight to a run does not help. Other studies show that the weights help, but only if used correctly. In this article, we will cover the two most common methods of adding weight to a run. We cover their advantages and disadvantages as well as the proper (and improper) ways to add them to an exercise routine. As with all fitness-related choices, runners should consult a doctor and/or trainer prior to making changes or starting anything new.

Ankle Weights

Ankle weights are the first kind thing most runners think of when they want to want to do running with weights add resistance to their runs. They are, unfortunately, also the most dangerous method. The danger of ankle weights while running with weights lies in the very same qualities that made them so popular. Runners would strap weights to their ankles using adjustable straps. Runners can change the amount of weight to suit their fitness level. This, unfortunately, puts all of the weight on the runner’s ankles. Ankles are already sensitive joints and additional weight focused right on top of them can quickly lead to injury. The weights also had a tendency to shift and spin on the runner’s leg as they moved, which would throw off a runner’s stride, balance, and form.

Runners who still want to use ankle weights should do so very carefully. They should consult a doctor or trainer prior to involving ankle weights. As with all weight training, it is best to start at a low weight and slowly work up to the desired weight so as to avoid injury. Ankle weights are only truly safe to use in resistance training. Even then, athletes must be careful to maintain their usual work pace when wearing ankle weights. Research has shown that many athletes have a tendency to slow down their workload when wearing ankle weights to compensate for the increased energy they burn.

Below you’ll find some excellent instruction on how to run with ankle weights safely.

Weighted Vests

A newer addition to the running with weights scene is the weighted vest. They work under the same principle as ankle weights, but with the added strain centered on a person’s core rather than their ankles. This is not to say that weighted vests can be used without precaution. They are, however, a safer alternative to ankle weights. Studies on the efficacy of weighted vests have returned mixed results and this is largely due to the number of variables that affect the outcome.

Weighted vests are ideal for a few specific groups of athletes. These athletes are those who focus on explosive power and bodyweight exercises in their training. Whether or not the athletes find weighted vests useful depends on the weight of the vest itself, how often it is used, and how long it is worn. Most trainers suggest that people start training with a vest that is 5% of their body weight and work up from there. The specific training methods vary depending on the athlete’s goals, however.

Weight Vest Risks

Before an athlete uses a vest, they need to be aware of the risks involved. The most obvious risk is that an athlete with poor form will hurt themselves when they add extra weight to their routine. Bad fitness posture – such as a curved back during pushups or weak knees in a squat – can strain muscles and potentially even cause stress fractures under the added weight of the vest. Athletes must ensure that they can maintain perfect form through 3 sets of 10 reps for any exercise they will perform with a vest.

Image result for weighted vest for runners 1000x1000

Once an athlete is ready to involve a vest, they have to be sure their cardio health can bear the load. Vests put a lot of strain on the cardio muscles as well as the surrounding core muscles. This results in the athlete struggling to breathe, which can cause a panicked “fight or flight” response. Proponents of vests are adamant that this is part of the training. Once an athlete learns to control that response, they gain better control over their general heart rate and cardio health. If athletes cannot develop this control, weighted vests are discouraged.

The final major risk is a vest’s impact on the nervous system. Everyone has a unique nervous system response based on the amount of weight and strain the body deals with. When an athlete wears a vest it causes the body to react differently than it normally would. More energy is directed to the weighted muscles and this can affect a person’s balance, power availability, and energy use. This is useful in small doses. In large doses, it can create chaos in the nervous system’s response pattern. A trainer or doctor can help athletes find the right balance of training with and without the vest to avoid issues.

Training with a Weight Vest

But before someone trains with a weight vest, there are a few core skills that they must master. They need to make sure that they have perfect form in an exercise before they add a weighted vest. If they do not, they risk moderate to serious injury. Athletes must also have strong cardio health. This will reduce the risk of the vest cutting off their ability to breathe. An excellent test for cardio health is to bike all-out for 5 minutes, then sit still and track one’s heart rate for one minute. After one minute it should drop 40 beats per minute. At the end of a second minute, it should drop another 20-30 beats per minute. If an athlete cannot reach this response level, they should improve their cardio health before adding a weighted vest to their workout.

Cardio and Speed Conditioning

If an athlete wants to improve their cardio or speed conditioning through a weighted vest, they should start slow. Ideally, vests start out at 5% of the athlete’s total body weight. The athlete can wear the vest throughout a long walk to determine if they are to increase their cardio load. Over time, they can increase the weight to a max of 10% of their body weight. So long as they stick to low or moderate-intensity cardio, athletes can wear their vests through a complete workout. If they want to reach a high-intensity workload, athletes should only wear their vests for ten or twenty minutes at a time and finish the workout without it.

Runners get the most out of weighted vests by using them on treadmills. This ensures the runner’s speed remains consistent. It also gives them the chance to focus on their breathing. Weighted vests will make breathing more difficult, even for those with strong cardio health. Runners must learn to breathe with the additional weight on their chest and it is safest to do this in a controlled environment.

Strength and Body Weight

Athletes focused on their explosive speed or strength conditioning are those for whom perfect form is key. If an athlete cannot complete 3 sets of 10 reps for an exercise, they should not add a vest to their routine. Once they perfect their form, they can add a vest with 5-10% of their body weight. Over time the athlete can increase the weight to 20-25% of their overall body weight.

Final Notes

Weighted vests are not tools for beginners. They are not going to help anyone see quick gains or sudden weight loss. These products are best left to people who have perfected their form and technique. Even experienced athletes should be careful, however. They must increase their rest times while wearing a weighted vest. And, if they feel their form or technique changing, they must take off the vest and finish the workout without it.

Sources

  1. GQ, Do Ankle Weights Make You a Stronger Runner?
  2. Runners World, Ask the Coaches: Running With Hand or Ankle Weights

Pin for later

Blog
Toe Separators for Runners: Everything You Need to Know
read more >>
Blog
A Short and Sweet History of Running: Why Do People Run?
read more >>
Blog
Salt Tablets for Runners: Everything You Need to Know
read more >>
Blog
Plantar Fasciitis in Runners: How to Get Rid of the Pain
read more >>
Blog
The Best Diet for Vegan Runners: An In-Depth Guide
read more >>
Blog
Hill Running Benefits, Strategies, Tips, And Racing Hills
read more >>
comments
Sorry !
You can not leave comments. Please SignIn / Register.
Thank youfor your comment on our website!
Share this with a friend
Your Email
Recipient Email

Subject
Message
Rockay Rewards$0.00
Welcome to Rockay Rewards:
faq
Rockay Rewards
Bonus
Shop at Rockay.com!
Earn 10% back on every purchase to be applied towards future orders
bag
FAQ
FAQ:
We value loyal customers!
We have created a loyalty program in order to reward customers who enjoy using Rockay products on a regular basis. We grant 10% credit for every purchase you make in our shop to use for your future purchases.
How to join the Rockay Rewards?
Customers with Rockay accounts are automatically enrolled. If you do not have an account, join Rockay.com today by clicking here to create your account. It is absolutely free!
How to earn credit?
You will earn 10% credit on every purchase you make in Rockay shop. Purchases made with a gift card will not add points to your account.
How to redeem rewards?
You can use your credit at any moment for any purchase. There is no minimum amount that you can use.
How to use rewards?
Rewards are given to you as credits. You can tick the box at checkout to apply your credits on any order you want.
Who are referrals?
With your coupon your friends will get $5 off their first order and you will get a $5 credit added to your Rockay Rewards balance. Send your code to 10 friends and get a max credit of $50!
Want a Restock? We will have this item in the inventory soon! Let us know that you want to have it by entering your email, and we'll contact you when we get this item in stock!