First, a confession–to do weighted bodyweight exercises like pull ups I’ve either hung a kettlebell off of one foot, or two light light ones (one on each foot), OR as when training for the Iron Maiden Challenge (which WILL be attempted again) using a dip belt and hanging a kettlebell from that. In the past I’ve put small weight plates inside a canvas backpack for weighted push ups and pull ups. And while the backpack “solution” was certainly interesting and challenging in its own way in terms of a strange unstable balance situation, it never seemed like the greatest idea, and if things shift around it’s hard to finish that last rep with something jabbing you in the back.
So, eventually I just kept with the kettlebell hanging (from feet or that belt) for weighted bodyweight exercises, and switched up hand positions, foot positions, etc with push ups. Eventually I got to a point where weighted pistols were not an issue, and began to push the envelop with them further and further, experimenting with holding a kettlebell (or sometimes 2 kettlebells on a really good day) in a rack position and working with that. BUT… why not something more… why not something I could really move with.
I’d seen many weight vests out there that were not going to cut it. Many were either too light (or too heavy) and not really something I could realistically wear for many exercises. (I’m on the small side, so a lot of the products designed for men were not going to cut it.) Plus, here in Florida it gets VERY hot, and when you’re adapted to this climate and have a knack for staying hydrated, you WILL sweat. Fortunately the Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro is completely washable. Granted, you have to take all the little metal weights out, but it’s worth it, and that’s not too difficult.
The great thing about the fact that there ARE all these little weights inside is that they very evenly distribute the weight on the vest itself AND they are actually not uncomfortable at all. It kind of has this sort of samorai armor thing going on, tell you the truth.
I also like the fact that the sides are open and extremely adjustable. The lace-up cords are soft and a little stretchy, so you don’t have to worry about getting welts from them, but you are also able to make them very snug as well. Which when you’re running around really helps. When I first received the weight vest, I hadn’t fully figured out the mechanism to cinch up the sides, and was doing push ups. and was making a little clicking sound when I got near the floor. One quick adjustment later and the vest stayed snug.
When choosing a size, pay very close attention to the measurements on the website, not just the weight or the weight capacity of the vest. If you have questions, I found that the staff at Hyperwear was more than happy to help.
So, what have I done with this vest so far? It’s added a nice new challenge to some of my favorite calisthenics exercises – push up variations, crawling, pull ups of course, and pistols. Even though I can do a pistol with a 24kg kettlebell (and on a good day 28kg), the weight distribution challenge of this 10lb weight vest was very valuable. When I first tried it, I could feel how I needed to shift my center of gravity to balance. After practicing several with the vest, going back to just bodyweight, or even with a kettlebell out front felt a LOT easier. And this is a very good thing.
I like to see how much I can make a move look effortless, and by comparison practicing with a weight vest does a lot to help that out. Then again, being able to perform things like knuckle push ups on concrete for reps has its own strange appeal as well. The extra 10 pounds is enough challenge to make it interesting (for now–they do sell additional weights, which I will be purchasing in the near future) but not impossible. Again, the even weight distribution of the vest helps a lot.
The construction of the vest and the fact that the individual weights inside are small ensure that your mobility is in no way compromised. As I stated above though, larger chested women may find the vest to be a little difficult to wear, and that they may want to contact Hyperwear for a size recommendation. For reference (and warning, polite euphemism ahead) I have a petite frame and an athletic upper body and have found the size small just perfect (waist 26.5, chest 36). That also means, most men will want to measure themselves and make sure that they also order the appropriate size, there’s a full range but the small is definitely a true absolute small. One afternoon, while testing the Under Armour Armour39 heart rate monitor I decided to see how it would work with the vest and found that it was very easy to wear it under the vest and continue to collect heart rate data. The Armour39 is delightfully flat, but there was a reasonable amount of leeway with the vest, especially considering the vest has just the right amount of stretch to it.
After seeing some of Danny Kavadlo’s mind bending “weighted human flag” photos, I’ve been inspired to start working with weighted clutch flags, and am working up the nerve to try some of the human flag progressions I’ve been practicing… but with the weight vest. If it helps me get over a plateau then you will be the first to know. Danny’s pics, while very cool and inspiring involve a chain on his chest holding cinderblocks… not about to do that, but this weight vest will be a nice (and more skin-friendly) challenge. Will report… I want to nail that human flag soooooo badly, especially since it’s an incredibly rare move for women to be able to actually hold in place for longer than a few seconds. 🙂
Like most high quality fitness gear designed and built to last for years, the Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro is not cheap, starting at approx $169.99 and up (if you go for bigger and heavier options). However, I’d argue it’s still a very good investment for the serious bodyweight training enthusiast because of its comfort, ease of cleaning, and upgradeability. Besides…….
I am working on a video demonstration of my own around this vest (I being annoying about the editing, sorry…) but in the mean time, here’s a fun little video from Hyperwear about the Hyper Vest Pro: