Pushups need no introduction - they are a foundation of every (bodyweight) workout, a staple exercise for increasing the upper body strength.
However, after a while, doing just regular pushups becomes stale, and you will need to do more and more per each set to feel anything. For that reason, you need to introduce weights, to make the pushup challenging yet again. And there is no better way to do that than with a vest, by doing weighted vest pushups. In this article, we will explain to you why.
A weighted vest is probably the only way you can enhance your pushups with adding weight without losing convenience, which is one of the major strengths of pushups. Balancing plates on your back is all but comfortable, and adding more dictionaries and encyclopedias to your backpack to make pushups harder is not exactly convenient, nor manageable.
A weighted vest is comfortable to wear, and it allows you to micromanage the weight. This is much more important than you might think. When it comes to mass building, progressive overload is key. One of the ways you can achieve it is by introducing more weight to your muscles. Increasing the weight is quite hard to do accurately if you are just adding more books to your backup, and you can only balance so many plates on your back.
Also, weighted vest allows you to perform advanced pushup variations, such as inclined, bomber, explosive, T-pushup or other. All of these modifications challenge your pecs in a new way, and improving all of them will definitely benefit your chest size. And the fact that we are talking about a VEST means that weight is ideally positioned to stress the chest muscles, as all of the added weight lies on the upper body.
Make sure to master a bodyweight pushup before adding weight, as doing so increases injury risks. Pushups are only safe if done with proper form. You should probably aim for 50 good form pushups before adding any weight. Anyway, if you can't do more than 20 - you don't need a vest yet, there is a lot more strength you can build just with your own bodyweight.
Start by adding 5% of your bodyweight to the vest. Remember, you are not only straining your muscles but your bones, joints, and ligaments too. They also get stronger as you progress, but usually at a slower pace than muscles. Plus, injuring your joints is never a good idea, as you will have to temporarily quit training, which will hinder your progress. 5% is a good number, and once you get used to it, and build strength, add 5% more.
Consider introducing pushup bars
Like we said in the previous point - trying to build muscle is good, as long as it doesn't cost you injuries. One of the most common pushup-related problems is wrist pain.
Some people are simply lacking the mobility, or have bad wrists caused by previous injuries, which stops them from performing a regular pushup, with palms on the floor. That makes performing pushups with a weighted vest impossible. If this is the case, you should purchase pushup bars.
But even if your wrists are fine, it is always good to reduce stress on your joints, and pushup bars do just that, as they put your wrists in a neutral position. They have one more benefit - increasing the range of motion, which allows you to hit those pecs even better. They are an inexpensive way of improving your workouts and preventing injuries.
Try doing pushups on your fists
If you can't, or don't want to buy pushup bars, consider doing pushups on your fists. That will also relieve your wrists, and is absolutely badass! Just make sure you place your hands on a mat or a rug - having all that weight on your fists is not exactly comfortable.
Mix it up!
If your workouts are only based around increasing reps, they get boring eventually. You can mix your pushups with other bodyweight exercises such as burpees, jump squats, lunges, jumping rope - whatever crosses your mind. You can, for example, do 20 burpees+pushups with your weight vest on, then immediately follow it with 20 squats, and 50 double legged rope jumps. Rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat, as many times as you can. There's a quick finisher workout, that will blast every last bit of energy left in you. Just be creative.
The bottom line is - the weighted vest is a terrific piece of equipment; pushups are a fantastic exercise. Together, they are an excellent combination that will result in some serious gains, and massive, watermelon pecs, no doubt about that.