Working with Weight Vests

Among the rabbit hole of content one finds when doing a deep-dive into OCR, you may have come across some video of Hobie Call racing in a weight vest. Who does that? Sure, Wounded Warriors and other mission-minded athletes like to take on extra challenges like weight vests and oxygen restriction masks as they focus on completion. Racing, however, is a different story. Hobie raced in it and still won.   

It’s important to remember that Hobie Call, in his prime, was an unstoppable beast. He won so much that Spartan CEO, Joe De Sena offered to pay a bounty to the first person to dethrone him. So, just because Hobie could race in a weight vest doesn’t mean everyone can or anyone should. That said, there are some benefits to eventually adding a weight vest to your workout. 


The concept is simple. Put your muscles through more stress during your workouts to ultimately develop more strength. A weighted workout can help you lose weight and develop your aerobic endurance. Specifically, training with a weighted vest can strengthen your core and help with balance and posture. 

As for race day performance, let’s liken it to auto racing. You’ve hit great speeds in trails only to find out your parking brake has been engaged. Just imagine what you can do once you release the brake. That’s what it’s like to train for weeks with a weight vest and then shed it at your weekend race. 


While sandbags and slam balls come with a list of recommended workouts, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to weighted vests. You’ll instantly feel the difference in your running and push ups. However, pull ups may be where you feel it most. While a weighted vest won’t be as strenuous as strapping weight to your waist or lower torso, a set of 10 or more reps will be considerably more challenging.


The best weight vest for an obstacle course racer is an affordable one that fits comfortably without restricting movement while easily handling wet and muddy conditions. Here are our favorite weight vests based on fit, comfort, durability, and price (click vests for info).

V-Max Weighted Vest
The V-Max Weighted Vest that Hobie wore in the video is considerably more expensive than these others. However, it is also much more durable and best equipped to handle the wear and tear of obstacle course racing. 


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