Youth Wrestling




SmartVest - Wrestlers Weighted Vest Contrast & Dynamic Resistance Training

I rarely recommend anything unless I own it, have used it or have spoken to knowledgeable people who have had experience with it.  With the SmartVest, I have done all three. In this review we’ll explore contrast and dynamic resistance training for wrestlers and why I recommend the SmartVest for any wrestler that wants to add this  protocol to their wrestling training.

What the Heck is a SmartVest?


Designed for resistance training with unlimited movement, the SmartVest is a one piece weighted vest with a nylon/spandex outer shell and a polyester/spandex inner layer and zipper front.  Security pockets are evenly distributed throughout the “core area” of the vest and hold the ¼” thick, PVC coated weight plates. The SmartVest is custom compression fitted to each individual athlete, machine washable and durable.  Available in weight loading capacities of 12, 16, 20 and 24lbs.  Check out the special Internet pricing discount for visitors at the bottom of the page.

Contrast Training


Contrast Training - (The loading and unloading process that gives the sensation of being lighter and faster or stronger and more explosive) has been around forever and used in many sports.  I’m sure you have either seen or used contrast training at some point during your athletic career.

The baseball bat’s weighted donut is one of the more popular gizmos.  Swing the bat with the weighted donut a few times, then take it off, take a few cuts without it and voila!  - Feels like you’re swinging a broomstick. 

For wrestlers, this type of training can make your takedown execution quicker, stronger more explosive.  It usually requires the use of a fabulous tool… the resistance band. But even resistance bands offer limited use for contrast training during live wrestling and partner drills. 

When using contrast training for wrestling, you need a comfortable tool that centers around the body core and has limited bulk so it doesn’t interfere with the execution of precise motor skills.  It also must be able to carry enough weight to cause resistance, without over stretching your body’s musculature.  That tool is the weighted vest and the only practical weighted vest for wrestlers is the SmartVest.

The SmartVest goes where none of the other bulky, weighted vests can.  For body weight exercises, solo drilling of wrestling moves like penetration steps, takedown executions and finishes, and situation wrestling, this vest rocks. 

The extra weight of the vest, is centered on the core area of the body and adds resistance without disrupting your natural balance system.  In other words, you don’t have to overcompensate during your drilling because of the vest. If you’ve ever tried using ankle weights, you know the awkward feeling you get when you’re legs are out of whack with the rest of your body while using them.  You want to enhance your balance and agility, not disrupt it.

The custom compression fit and thin ¼” weighted plates make it feel like a second skin. It gives you resistance and freedom of movement without all the bulk. Plus, unlike annoying headgear, knee and elbow pads, there is no need to constantly adjust it during practice. The results are stronger, quicker, more explosive movements and higher anaerobic thresholds which can help lengthen the time before muscle fatigue sets in.  All this without  the distractions of adjusting your gear.

Dynamic Resistance Training

Dynamic Resistance Training – (Sport specific motion under load) is the purest form of functional training. You can’t drill with a barbell pinned to your singlet, but you can get dynamic resistance training with the right weighted vest.

If this vest didn’t already have an advantage over any other weighted vest for wrestlers, the fact that you can actually do live partner drills, in all three wrestling positions, under load, make it a no brainer.

Weighted plates

Other vests boast about the poundage their vests can carry and look more suited for a member of the bomb squad.  Not only are they bulky, loose fitting and a poor choice for practical use during a wrestling practice, these heavily loaded vests can over-stress your body’s musculature.  You’re never gonna shoot a double leg with a refrigerator on your back.

Don’t be obsessed with how much weight your choice of weighted vest will hold (a mistake I almost made).  The NFL linemen that use the SmartVest start off with as little as one to four pounds and max out at 10 to 14 pounds.  Comfort, proper fit, freedom of movement and safely loading the individual athlete’s natural body weight is the proper protocol for dynamic resistance training.

You only have so much energy to burn during a workout.  For wrestlers, it’s more important that the resistance be enough to allow you to get through a full practice, raise your anaerobic threshold and leave just enough gas in your energy tanks for a proper cool-down. As your body adjusts to the added weight of the vest and rising intensity levels, you can add more weight in small increments to achieve the desired effect.

I’ve found that the best workout progression was to wear the SmartVest during warm-up, drilling (both solo and with a partner) and situation wrestling.  Then remove it for live wrestling in tiger shark or simulated matches.  You will feel the difference immediately as your executions become quicker, stronger and more explosive. 

Drilling and training “slow” is fine for learning situations or perfecting micro-motor skills, but training “slow” during workouts teaches your body to move slowly during competition.  I’ve also found that during the loaded phase of your workout using the vest, your movement should be 75% of max intensity. You can experiment with that number based on each individual athlete’s response to the training.

I highly recommend the SmartVest as a training tool for wrestlers.

By: Rick Contrata


 Comfortable custom compression fit

 No bulk/Feels natural because of proper weight distribution

Easy on/Easy off zipper

 Washable and durable



 Enhanced balance & agility

 More explosive movements

 Increased speed/strength/power

 Burning more calories

 Developing optimal stamina

SmartVest Weighted Vest Kit SmartVest 10% Discount from
This "Limited Time" offer is through a special arrangement I have made with Forest Benaway from SmartVest and only available to SmartVest purchases from Enter coupon code s1w10 in the comments box at checkout to receive your 10% discount. You will be contacted about custom sizing measurements before your order is processed.

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