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10 Brutal Weight Vest Workouts for CrossFit Athletes

Weight vests are a staple in classic CrossFit workouts. Sometimes, athletes will wear them for the sheer hell of it even if they’re not prescribed in a workout.

There’s a good reason for this, all movements will require more effort when tackled. Weight Vest workouts are way more difficult than ones without it.

Weight vests are simply a heavy vest worn over the torso that provides varying amounts of resistance, thanks to the fact that a lot of them are designed to add or remove weighted bars or plates as needed. Athletes can choose what weight to put in it for that extra kick in any of the weight vest workouts.

While weight vests do look suspicious if you don’t know what they are (the German city of Hamburg was on high alert after a passer-by mistook a runner wearing a weight vest for a suicide bomber and notified the police), they are a great tool to add to your training.

Benefits of doing weight vest workouts include:

  • Develop strength, endurance and cardio by increasing your body weight
  • Influence the ways your muscles stress and strain during workouts, leading to a harder training session
  • Faster energy depletion through increased exerted force, which leads to performance improvements as your body adjusts and your systems adapt
  • Add variety to your workouts

If you don’t own a weight vest, a heavy backpack will essentially reap the same benefits. Always beware of the weight you add to the vest, especially if you suffer from back or neck problems, as the increased strain can lead to injury if not used correctly.

Give these brutal weight vest workouts a go and revolutionise your training.


Workout 1 Stairway to Heaven

For Time:

Part A – From 0:00-20:00, EMOM of:

  • 20 Box Step-Ups (40/30 lb Weight Vest)

Rest 3 minutes

Part B – From 23:00-43:00, EMOM of:

  • 20 Box Step-Ups (20/14 lb Weight Vest)

Rest 3 minutes

Part C – From 46:00-1:06:00, perform:

  • 400 Box Step-Ups

A leg-heavy workout, it’ll be hard to keep to the rep range as the minutes go by – the rep-rage and pace are very aggressive.

For Part A, if you’re unable to keep pace, start over with 2 reps less than your previous attempt until you get to a pace you can handle. Part B uses a lighter weight vest, yet feel free to use the same technique if you’re unable to perform the reps within a minute.

Score is the time on the clock when you complete the 400 box step-ups. Decrease reps or weight for scaling.

With weighted vests, you can mix up the stresses placed on your muscles throughout your session.

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