When I say heavy I mean upwards of 50 lbs. Prior to my shoulder injury I was training with 80lbs for an hour at a time minimum.
So there are two ways a weight vest will injure you:
1. Excessive Occlusion
This is when the circulation cuts off in your arms because of the pressure on your shoulders. You will have totally numb arms. Even a 40 lb vest will do this after 3-5 hours.
2. Putting it on & off
This is how I tore my rotator cuff. 50, 60 80 lbs is not very heavy for a dumbell or kettlebell. This is a floppy uncontrollable odd shaped object.
There are a couple of videos online for technique to put a vest on – yeah sure if its 20 lbs & of the design shown.
The fact is once you are up to 50 lbs even with a good vest & proper form these techniques will kill your shoulder joints.
1. Shoulder pads
MIR now has shoulder pads
OK awesome a must have
2. A Weight Vest Rack
Yet to be built – heres what you need to do. See those shoulder pads above. Imagine if they were a little more robust at the top where the velcro attaches them. Imagine if they were robust enough to support the full weight of the vest held on two protruding bars.
These two bars could be sticking out of a wall or on a rack.
You would simply walk forward duck under the vest & slip your head inside. Then step back moving the vest off the bars. Your vest would be on with zero dangerous shoulder movement.
Taking it off would be just as easy.
Once my rotator cuff heals up I will build this setup. Using a heavy vest any other way is like trying to squat but always lifting the bar from the ground & onto your back. That is madness.
Here are the two methods of putting your vest on that WILL NOT WORK with a heavy vest EG: 50lbs+
Same with the super hanger – useless with a real heavy vest
Whats needed is a Weight Vest Rack
A search online reveals the complete wrong design weight vest rack
This is retarded. Totally the wrong design & pointless. You need the vest to be suspended from two bars at a right angle to the shoulders. Then you just slip up and under & the vest is on. Taking it off would be even easier as you would simply walk forward & slide the vest shoulder pads onto the two bars.
OK I had an evenings sleep & came up with a quick simple solution. First up you need a squat rack. These are cheap. You also need a dipping attachment for the rack. Cheapest I can find are pictured below:
I can pick those up for under $200 brand new locally
OK so you will need a cross bar to attach the dip bars to. Thats just square steel tube which will need to be secured to the rack.
The rack incedentaly extends to shoulder height – its for squating.
OK so next you want to get a pair of the mir shoulder pads. I did look into backpack shoulder strap pads but these seem less heavy duty & are the wrong shape. Go with the MIR ones.
Looking at the MIR pads they may not actually be long enough. If so use a Tactical Waist Padded Belt.
Now you want some gorilla glue or liquid nails. See how the MIR pads connect with velcro? You are gunna glue them together glued on forever.
DO NOT glue them to the vest straps. Just glue them shut. before you do make sure the two dip bar prongs will slide in with the vest on your shouders.
OK finally get some duct tape & tape around the whole shoulder pad until you are confident its strong enough to hold 100+ lbs on the rack for months at a time.
Thats it man !!! You now have the safest possible setup for weight vest training.
One caveat is that the duct tape may detract from the padding. You can carefully duct tape just the top part of the padding looping it around. Good luck.
The padding is OK if its loose at the top & you will of course still want it to be comfortable. Better get some real good glue.
Had I done this two years ago I would not now have a torn rotator cuff.