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Product Review: Altus Athletic Weighted Flak Vest

Product Review: Altus Athletic Weighted Flak Vest

About a month or so ago I decided to quit “Back-Pack-O-Rama” (IE- using a backpack loaded with weights to increase my pull-up and push-up resistance) and put some money into a weighted vest. While you definitely don’t need a weighted vest in your first or even second round of P90X, I found I needed more weight to really amplify my workouts in later phases.

So how’d the P90X weight vest experiment work out? Read on:

Altus 40 lb. Weighted Flak Vest

While the added weight of a vest definitely helped push my workouts and add more resistance for strength and muscle building in lega and chest/back workouts, the vest itself left a lot to be desired.

The “Hoo-rah” and beefy sounding product name “Weighted Flak Vest” is apt: the vest feels like a flak jacket: unfitted, over-sized and uncomfortable. By design, flak jackets obscure and cover the chest and abdomen to protect as much of it from high projectile debris as possible– unfortunately, large, bulky and cumbersome isn’t a great choice to incorporate into high-mobility fitness training. The Altus 40 lb. weighted flak vest limits mobility in push-ups and pull-ups and wears poorly.

I’d also read in a review it came with metal 1 lb. weights, but this vest uses dusty, potentially messy 1 lb. sand packets common to vests and ankle weights.

PROS:

Heavy Weight: The Altus vest allows up to 40 lbs., which gives a lot of flexibility in “working your way up to” its 40 lb. max. Still, there’s got to be better designed vests out there.

CONS:

Large/Bulky: As a 6’1″, 176 lb. guy– even when cinched tightly, the vest flops around my mid-section and hips. My body feels like it’s the clapper in a bell– the design is far more interested in being “One size fits most” than actually functional for various body types. Jumping causes the vest to “hop” on my shoulders– not a secure fit even with all buckles and straps in use. Shoulders take a pounding and the shift in weight can cause problems. Definitely not for running and at best a chunky tool for static movements.

Bad Design: The top row of weights slots in the front of the jacket protrude out from the jacket and into the arm’s range of movement (you can see this in the image above as well). My arms bump the outer pockets and limit my range of motion which interferes with push-ups and pull-ups and would definitely rub my arms if I ever thought about running in it. The buckles used to tighten the vest across the core and chest are ridiculously frustrating to undo as they sit behind the top two rows of weight pockets. Getting the jacket on isn’t too bad, but taking it off is frustrating as the buckle gets stuck behind the two rows of weights.

Uncomfortable: The nylon material is abrasive when it comes in contact with the skin of shoulders (if wearing a sleeveless shirt), arms (when taking it on and off and doing push-ups/pull-ups/any arm movement closer to the body).

CONCLUSION:

Weight vests aren’t necessarily 100% (you’re hanging up to 40 lbs. additional weight off the body– shoulders taking most of it– after all) but a weighted vest should be designed to allow for movement, running, calisthenic drills, plyometrics and with some comfort/ease in taking it on and off– not just a nylon hanger for 40 lbs. The price point here was enticing but overall I’ve been disappointed in Altus’ impractical design.

I’m looking at this for a replacement.

If you’re wondering how to amp up your P90X workouts or have any questions, feel free to email me at coachdan74@gmail.com or make me your coach.

If you’d like to learn more about P90X, check out my P90X Review! 

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