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Complete Guide to Running on a Treadmill With a Weight Vest

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Looking to take things up a notch? Add a bit more weight to your running exercises, especially when on the treadmill? Running on a treadmill with a weight vest can be a great way to add resistance, burn a few more calories, and get a bit more out of your work out. However, it doesn’t come without it’s drawbacks.

Weight vests are essential training tools used in different workouts for strength training and conditioning. They offer a bit more difficulty in either full body, lower body, or upper body workouts. Weight vests come in different sizes, weights and designs to offer the desired outcome in an athlete. A choice on the appropriate weight vest is made in reference to the activity needed as seen in this article.

There are more options for running on the treadmill than just running straight. They could include doing side shuffles that help in leg strength, lunges, or reverse mountain climbers. Focus on muscle contraction and is helpful in building core strength in individuals.

woman running on a treadmill

Can You Wear a Weight Vest on a Treadmill?

When used correctly, training with a weight vest can be super beneficial for power athletes in building strength and explosive power as well as increasing energy expenditure. Wearing a weight vest on a treadmill improves your back and helps to increase your workout intensity without having to increase the belt speed.

If your desired activity involves running on a treadmill with a weight vest, strict adherence to the level of comfortability by the athlete must be met. The athlete should not only be fully acclimated to the weight vest but must also be comfortable using the treadmill even without having a weight vest on. Without this then you run the risk of falling on the treadmill or hurting yourself.

Select weight vests exist based on the kind of activities or fit one is interested in without having to change the mechanics around your workout. Besides walking, one can also do a different set of exercises on a treadmill like side shuffling, walk planks and incline push ups. The specifics on each of the exercises basically answers the question to what muscles does running on a treadmill work.

Weight vests on a treadmill help in cardio work and body weight exercises. Adjustable weighted vests are used in burning calories and losing weight during intense workouts. On what muscles the treadmill works, weight vests worn during walking planks help to develop core and arm strength, improve resistance in incline push ups and build leg strength in lunges and side shuffle exercises. This is in addition to the normal muscles worked by running on a treadmill – mainly in the legs.

Is it Healthy to Run With a Weight Vest?

The greatest benefit of running with a weight vest is that it improves both aerobic and strength training. It also improves muscle endurance and intensity in athletes. As a tool for cardio exercises, weight vests help burn body fat as well as boosting self conditioning and performance, making exercises productive. 

As mentioned above, training and running with a weight vest is very beneficial for power athletes in building strength and explosive power. When used right, weight vests and running on a treadmill makes you faster and stronger. Added resistance improves the heart rate, oxygen consumption, caloric expenditure, speed and time to exhaustion. Running with a weight vest also helps to boost bone mass and reduce the risk of fractures.

Running with a weight vest on a treadmill makes you faster and in turn takes much cardiovascular conditioning than running without one. The body being forced to work harder, burns more fat and calories as seen in incorporating weight vests and HIIT exercises. The weight vest is beneficial in muscle development, being the best way in performing loaded moves, and turning body weight drills into grueling strength builders.

When adding extra weight to yourself and running, it’s even more important to wear the right gear. This is not only the best weight vest for running, but shoes appropriate for running on a treadmill. We have two great guides that can help you with those decisions as well.

Disadvantages to Wearing a Weight Vest on a Treadmill

Intense aerobic activities like wearing a weight vest on a treadmill poses an increased risk of injury in individuals and athletes. Weight vests also make running workouts so demanding and may increase stress on bones and joints, increasing the risk of falling due to unaltered balance.

Disadvantages of running on a treadmill may vary. They can be expensive, but the bigger effect comes from their cushioned surface inflicting a jarring impact on the back or causing stress on the knees, ankles and hips. Wearing a weight vest also increases the landing force that could lead to potential injury or accidents. Weight vests on treadmills might lead to overheating and dehydration based on their material. Poorly fitting weight vests make the athletes feel uncomfortable.

Not picking the right weight in non-adjustable weight vests can cause a massive disadvantage in running on a treadmill by causing muscular strain and unwanted injuries. Weight vests without shoulder pads and straps may cause excess friction on the athlete. Weight vests on a treadmill might insulate the body causing decreased muscular strength.


Weight vests are essential in improving the body composition and health, both associated with weight and cardio exercises. Running on a treadmill with a weight vest helps to vary the angle of incline, making the exercise more challenging. 

As opposed to walking, running on a treadmill with a weight vest helps to maintain momentum and keep a consistent running speed that on the extreme hurts the intensity of the workout. Setting the desired speed and keeping it to the end is the ultimate goal in running the treadmill with the weight vests on!

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.