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The X-Vest Review


 

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The X-Vest Review

Home -> Fitness Equipment Reviews -> The X-Vest

I'll give you a hint with this review...the X-Vest is an excellent piece of training equipment.

So in this review, keeping in mind it is a very useful piece equipment, I'm going to go through the benefits and the potential drawbacks of X-Vest training.

First Off, What is the X-Vest?

Glad you asked! Basically, the X-Vest is a weighted vest, specially designed to fit snugly and comfortably on your body so you can perform a variety of activities with it...bodyweight training, cardio, plyometrics...you name it.

It's made from tough material with soft cloth on the inside as well as good padding to keep it comfortable. It has wide elastic velcro straps that go around your waist to cinch the bottom of the vest to your body.

The shoulders have adjustable nylon webbing straps with plastic buckles so you can adjust how the vest rests on your shoulders.

The weights in the vest are in the form of small 1 lb steel sticks that slide into the pouches in the vest - the number of pouches depends on the capacity of the weight vest you get - all the way up to 84 lbs!

They've got a nice design...comfortable, usuable, practical...don't try and wear one through airport security, though.

So that's the what...


What Are The Benefits of the X-Vest?

This is where the FUN begins...at it's simplest, the X-Vest is a way to to increase your bodyweight. The benefits of increasing your bodyweight include:

1. Increased caloric expenditure during ANY activity you do...anything from walking to weight training. This happens not only DURING the training sessions but AFTER the training sessions due to increased metabolic rate from carrying the extra load.

2. Increased resistance/workload on your muscles during training, be it bodyweight training or even conventional weight training. The X-Vest is a great way to increase the resistance used with bodyweight exercises like push-ups, chin-ups, lunges, etc. You can also wear the vest when doing standard weight training exercises.

3. Improvements in bone density with regular use. You carry more weight, you get stronger bones...simple as that.

4. Increased core strength from carrying the extra load on your upper body while performing exercises.

5. Improvements in speed and explosiveness in athletes by increasing the bodyweight load on athletic performance drills, e.g. shuttle runs with a weight vest on. When the vest is removed, your body will be used to training with the extra weight and you will feel light and fast. It's also very effective for vertical jump training.

6. You can use it to load yourself for exercises that put torque on your body because the resistance is out in front of you. For example, pushdowns for triceps and barbell curls for biceps. When you increase your bodyweight with the vest, the resistance out in front of you becomes less in comparison to your bodyweight. That means less torque on your lower back and it also means you'll be instantly STRONGER in those exercises.

7. It'll make you bulletproof...seriously, wearing 84 lbs of steel on your chest will at least make FEEL bulletproof, even you're not ACTUALLY bulletproof. I'm not volunteering to test that potential benefit.


What Are The Downsides of the X-Vest?

As good as the X-Vest is, it does have a few drawbacks that I need to mention. But to be honest, taken in perspective as to the benefits of the vest, they're pretty minimal. Nothing that should stop you from using one of these.

1. When doing exercises with your body in a horizontal position, the vest waist straps can slip off the lower weight pouch will flap freely. This is only an issue with the heavier vests (84 lbs) that have a weight pouch over the lower abs. With the lighter vests, the weight is higher up on the chest and you won't have that problem.

2. If you're training in a hot environment, it will increase your body temperature faster than training without it. It is an insulated vest and it keeps your core heat in. Something to be aware of, for sure.

3. Can be challenging to get in and out of, especially when using you're fatigued from training and you don't have somebody around to help. I've been using the X-Vests a lot and have come up with an easy way to get around this - you'll see a video of that method below, using an 84 lb vest).

4. Can be a pain in the butt to change weights, especially if you want to go from 84 lbs down to something like 20 lbs. That would involve removing 64 weight sticks.

5. The potential to try and use a heavier vest than you probably should...if you like to challenge yourself, believe me, the temptation will there to try use a LOT of weight on the vest. This is fine for bodyweight exercises...you'll learn fast enough how much you can and can't use with those. But when doing athletic movement like plyometric training, start light and progress slowly. Don't do rebounding box jumps from 3 feet up with an 84 lb vest on unless you like the taste of your kneecaps!

Those are the main drawbacks that we've identified. Like I said, nothing that should really stop you from using one of these vests. They're VERY effective for what they're designed to do.


What Can You Do With An X-Vest?

The sky's the limit! You can do pretty much ANY activity with the X-Vest that you can do WITHOUT the X-Vest. What the X-Vest does is just make your body a bit heavier while doing it. The only thing I REALLY would not recommend would be swimming, for obvious reasons.

And naturally, you do need to be aware of your limitations when adding weight to specific types of training (like the plyometrics that I mentioned above).

You can walk, jog (be sure to start with light weight if you're going to jog with the vest on), do interval training, wear it while cycling, doing athletic drills, etc. Pretty much any type of bodyweight exercises are fair game as well as many free weight exercises (in fact, you add some interesting twists on exercises like barbell squats and deadlifts when you add in the torso loading of the vest).

One of the interesting features of the vest is that it also comes with several hooks that you can clip things onto, e.g. cables, parachutes, that kind of thing. It gives you even more options for training with the vest.

I've put together some videos of exercises I've done while wearing the X-vest (the 84 lb version).


Getting In and Out of a Heavy X-Vest

The trick with this one is to lay the vest open on the floor (waist straps out to the sides), lay down on the back of it then reach over your head and pull the front of the vest over you like a clamshell closing. Then you velcro the straps together and get up!


 

X-Vest Dips

This is one isn't tough to figure out - it's a bodyweight dip wearing the X-Vest. Try to keep your body more vertical and elbows in if you're looking to hit the triceps more. To hit the chest more, lean forward and hunch over like a half-moon position and flare your elbows out to the sides.


Windows Movie File (WMV format)

 

X-Vest And Barbell Deadlifts

Adding the X-Vest to a regular free weight exercise like the barbell deadlift gives you excellent variety in your training. In the case of the deadlift, adding more weight higher up on your body increases the workload on your lower back during the exercise (great for spinal erector training) in addition to increasing the overall load of the exercise.


Windows Movie File (WMV format)

 

X-Vest Braced Leg Squats

Now this is an interesting variation of the squat that lends itself well to the X-Vest. You'll need a rack for this one. Set a barbell in the rack at just below knee level. Now set your feet on the other side of the bar from the uprights so that your legs are pushing the bar back against the uprights. Make sure your shoes have good grip on the floor for this one.

Now you're just going to sit back into a squat. Because your lower legs are braced, it takes the glutes almost completely out of the movement, focusing more on the quads. But here's the thing that makes it better than a leg extension (it'll save your knees). Because it's still a squatting movement, your hamstrings are able to contract in order to balance the force on the knees. This stabilizes the knee while still putting maximum focus on the quads. This one will feel GREAT.


 

CONCLUSION:

Bottom line, the X-Vest is the ONLY choice for serious athletes seeking to dramatically improve their event-specific strength through the use of what the Soviets call 'special exercises.' This is more than just a 'vest' - it's a valuable piece of training equipment. You have to use the X-Vest in order to fully appreciate how effective it is.

This is one product that gets top marks.

 

Click Here To Order Your X-Vest Now!


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