Weighted Cals

So i've been doing a lot of weighted calisthenics lately and on my pushups i maxed out my available loading implements. As i struggled to put on my weight vest, and two backpacks simultaneously i realized there had to be a better way. Looking around for weight vests heavier than the one i had, i could only find 80lb+ vests for over 300 bucks (and who knows what the shipping is).

I had a 40 lbs worth of chain lying around and i challenged myself with the task of finding a way to load it all on me in conjunction with my 40 lb vest and a backpack. I lay awake one night trying to work it out. How could i do this.

Then it hit me.


I went to the dollar store and bought some natural fiber heavyweight twine and got to work. After about 1.5 hours i had fashioned myself a 40 lb tunic of chainmail. I then added straps to the side to adjust the tightness for wearing it alone or with my vest. It works beautifully, and cost me less than half of what my 40 lb weight vest cost. It's just as comfortable, and i still have more than half of the spool of twine for the chainmail for repairs. This beats the vest which is starting to fall apart and may eventually be irreparable.

Additionally, i know that i can add to it. Shoulders, sides, and i can increase the thickness, and probably make the thing 80 lbs. I also started writing up plans for a 20-30 lb chain coif.

The vest, chainmail and backpack together now put the weight on my hands at 242 lbs, my new max for the pushup.

I thought this was funny enough to be interesting to some folks here.


LARPer, imo


chainmail is a ***** to make. At least the real stuff is...someone I knew made a vest and a small square of it took forever to make. He was anal about it and tried to make it authentic so I guess that would be an issue. What the hell did you do?

You had talked about doing this a few years ago.

How much did it cost?

That is an excellent idea for a cheap weighted vest....

thank you for sharing, I may make this a weekend project.

Another very cheap idea for a weight vest is an old military flak jacket. I don't know the total weight, but they're pretty hefty, and can be had at the surplus store down the road from my house for about $30.00 . On top of that if it's not heavy enough for an individual, it's covered in very heavy duty nylon web loops from which you can suspend grenade holder pouches, canteen pouches, or old magazine pouches. All of these you'll never tear or damage and you can fit different size ziplock baggies full of sand in them wrapped in duct tape.No mess, easy assembly, infinite weight adjustment, and all for around fifty bucks. Hope this helps everyone. Shane.

The Romans also used to train with overweight swords and shields when they first began training. So that when they later advanced to real steel weapons, they would have developed the strength to make them feel like feathers.


I should be able to take some pics of it.

And that's 242 lbs of weight on my hand (the force of the pushup.

Here's how it stacks up:

Bodyweight: 195 lbs

Pushup weight, just body: 145 lbs (73% of my BW)

External Loading: 110 lbs (bodyweight + external loading = 305 lbs)

Pushup weight with external loading: 242 lbs

As you can see the external loading actually contributes 88% of it's weight to my hands which is pretty good. I'm going to do the coif next, because it will contribute about 100% of its weight. I should be able to up my total pushup weight to 265-275.


I couldn't have done it without D&D, but i got the idea from dragon ball. Noone trains with external weight more than Goku.


I didn't put the links together like in real chain. I lined them up how i wanted and tied them together with twine. Also, the links are round and much, much larger than real mail. This tunic wouldn't protect me from much because of all the holes, but it's damn heavy.


Yeah i looked into a company that makes the real thing, but they were only making them for commercial use at the time. Although i look pretty stupid, it's cheaper this way. I don't need it to actually protect me from swords.

The twine was about $.50 and i forget the cost of the chain. It was new chain, and i didnt shop around, so i bet i someone could find a better deal. It was maybe... $30.


Have fun. I did.


They just closed my local army/navy. I'm pissed.


My purpose, however, was to make it impractically heavy. :) Thanks for writing up the old weights. I'd love to go jogging around with it on, but i'd look pretty silly.


Great ingenuity, and some great strength as well.

ttt for pics.

Another idea that I've seen used is to fix two weight plates to your front and back with padded chains for straps. They had them padded in a kind of pouch made from yoga mats and duct tape. It was cool because you simple pulled the weight out of the pouch/vest and unhooked the weights with a carabiner to change the weight that you wanted to use. You can make a vest of massive weight this way if you're creative enough.

Steve Justa, in the book ROCK, IRON, AND STEEL, shows a chain "vest" he
constructed. It weighs 200 lbs. and he walks for distance, etc. with it.

The book offers many cool, inexpensive ways to fabricate strength
equipment. Recommended.


I've been wanting to try just that sort of thing for a little while; set up some sort of relatively basic bodyweight exercise thing and then start adding weight to myself in small increments.

A while back, I rode my bike about a mile to a park near my house with my 45 lb. clubbell in tow (I'm only about 160, and it was all downhill on the way there- all uphill back, unfortunately) in a backpack.

It was amazingly challenging, on the way back I actually fell over from exhaustion, nearly wrecking my bike in the process (fortunately I was reduced to moving at a crawl in the lowest gear, so i didn't really do any damage to myself).

Anyways, it was so rough I've been toying with the idea off and on ever since, thought there's a lot of things I'd love to try that i haven't gotten around to working out yet.

 ttt for pics.

Don't forget to make the matching helmet!

I'd love to see pics. I've been researching weighted vests and you are right...very expensive. I'd like to see what you managed to make because I have looked at chainmail itself and seems to me for a comfortable shirt/vest/tunic, even if made from steel, you are looking at maybe 20 pounds. I suppose you can change the guage of the steel to incrase weight but then will effect flexibility. Or you can layer but damn, that's a lot of work to make a vest let alone 2.

TTT for pics or it never happened.

Also, the commercial 80 lb vests look like you are a transformer with big blocks coming out of your chest. Need to use denser materials but I guess that would be insanely expensive...anyone have spare bricks of gold lying around or maybe some depleted uranium?


I'd like to see pics of the vest if you can please. I've been looking into them more and I am excited to add weight to my normal running as well. I would like something adjustable but I may settle for a home built. I'd just hate to be known as the Lord of the Rings wannabe running around the neighbourhood,