Weighted clothing is a type of sportswear that is used during training to improve athletic performance, particularly endurance. Available in a wide variety of garments and styles, weighted clothing fit like everyday workout clothes, but are fitted with slim weights that add resistance to training exercises. Generally, weighted clothing is used by athletes in cross-training sessions, or during cardiovascular, plyometric, or bodyweight exercises.
The main idea behind weighted clothing is that by mimicking added body weight, exercisers will have to work harder to accomplish familiar tasks. For example, running one mile is much more difficult while carrying an additional 40 pounds. After adjusting to running with the extra weight, athletes presumably will be able to run the same distance faster once the weight is removed. Weighted clothing is useful because it adds resistance while leaving hands free, and usually is streamlined and well-fitted to avoid inhibiting the workout.
Heaviness can usually be adjusted by adding or removing weights from the pockets of a weighted article of clothing. This way, the weighted clothing is suitable for different levels of fitness, and can be altered to change as an athlete develops or to target different muscles. Clothing that is too light will most likely not produce the desired training effects, but weighted clothing that is two heavy can cause muscle or joint strain and injury.
There are many styles of weighted clothing that serve different purposes depending on specific fitness goals and the nature of the exercises being completed. One of the most popular styles is a weighted vest, which can be strapped on over the top of normal workout clothing. Like other versions of weighted clothing, vests are available in different weights to fit the needs of individual exercisers. A weighted vest can be worn during almost any cardiovascular activity, such as running, plyometric exercises such as squat-thrusts, or during bodyweight exercises such as push-ups.
Other styles of weighted clothing might be shorts, belts, arm bands, or ankle and wrist weights. These styles target more specific muscles groups than a weighted vest, which usually just seeks to add weight without a lot of focus. Clothing that adds weight at the limbs generally seeks to improve muscle strength in those body parts. For example, doing jumping jacks in ankle weights puts most of the additional stress on the leg muscles, whereas doing jumping jacks in wrist weights puts more stress on the arms and shoulders.