Using a weight vest during your training runs also does an outstanding job of boosting endurance and neuromuscular performance because its an excellent form of strength and resistant training.
Using a Weight Vest Running Boosts Running Performance
A great idea for resistance training for forefoot running is to wear a weighted vest, especially during warm-up runs, because it helps you build more leg strength and improves your endurance capacity.
A recent study by Barnes et al. found that well-trained distance runners who wore a weighted vest during warm-up runs showed improvements in running performance.
- In their study, the runners were asked to wear a weighted vest equivalent to 20% of their body mass and ran for 5 minutes at sub-maximal effort followed by an incremental speed increase by 1 km/h every minute until exhaustion.
- The runners then performed 6 – 10 x 1500 m slightly above race pace while a weighted vest was worn.
The results showed that weighted vest training improved running performance by 3%, which is enough to improve race time, and the effects of the weighted vest was substantially greater than traditional warm-ups such as high-intensity warm-ups and stretching.
And finally, the researchers found that the weighted vest induced positive changes in leg stiffness (or leg spring) –greater leg stiffness means the leg is better able to store more elastic strain energy during running. Therefore, wearing a weighted vest during your warm up runs is not only ideal metabolically, but kinematically as well.
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Barnes et al. Warm-up with weighted vest improves running performance via leg stiffness and running economy. J Sci Med Sport, 2015; 18,103-108.
Dalleau et al. The spring-mass model and the energy cost of treadmill running. Eur J Appl Physiol, 1998; 77,257-63.
Ferris DP, Liang K, Farley CT. Runners adjust for their leg stiffness on a new running surface. J Biomech, 1999; 32, 787-94.
Ingham, SA., Fudge, BW and Pringle, JS. Improvement of 800 m running performance with the prior high-intensity exercise. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 2013;8, 77-83.
Spurrs RW., Murphy AJ and Watsford ML. The effects of plyometric training on distance running performance. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2003, 89:1-7.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.