Plate carriers can be a great alternative to weight vests when it comes to maxing out your workout potential, but you need to incorporate them into your workout safely and effectively. A plate carrier has to fit right, offer a balanced load, and stay out of your way – if not, you risk damaging your gear or hurting yourself due to improper movement and joint strain.
Learn how to use plate carriers for weighted workouts with our tips.
Here are the features to look for in a plate carrier weight vest:
Plate carriers tend to be more versatile than traditional weight vests. They're designed for ballistic protection and often offer MOLLE compatibility for a range of loadouts – but they may also inhibit mobility. Your choice should be based on your personal fit preferences and whether you plan to use your PC for purposes other than training.
A good plate carrier for workouts fits snugly – it shouldn't move around when you rotate, jump or bend. Follow these steps to properly adjust your plate carrier before each workout:
Learn more about how to fit a plate carrier from 5.11.
The military's adage, "Train as you fight" is 100-percent right – you'll get more mileage on your day job if you work out with the same kit you wear when you're on the beat, outside the wire or working undercover. That said, using a weighted PC can be a great way for anyone to enhance their PT, not just for professionals.
WARNING:Working out with a weighted vest is not for beginners. If you can't do an exercise properly without weights, doing it with weights is a recipe for disaster. There's always risk associated with trying new exercises, so talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness program. Don't learn the hard way.
When you're ready to start, watch our video on how to properly install plates so they're balanced and secure. Then, before ever working out or running with your weighted plate carrier, wear it around the house to get used to the way it feels and how it affects your mobility.
Once you get used to wearing the weighted PC, you can use it to enhance traditional body-weight exercises:
When you add a weighted plate carrier into your workout routine, you have the potential to build your strength even more quickly. The safest way to add weight is slowly and steadily, using a quality plate carrier that's built for high performance without compromising mobility.