Table of Contents

A reader recently told me that she was unable to wear a weighted vest and asked if I could I recommend a waist weight belt for walking and aerobic exercise. She wondered in the waist weight belt could increase weight bearing load on bones while exercising and increase bone density.

Weighted Vest or Waist Weight Belt for Exercise?

Not everyone is able to wear a weighted vest. Three common limitations that prevent people from using a weighted vest are

  1. Compression fractures.
  2. Disc issues.
  3. Poor posture.

If either of these applies to you, perhaps a waist weight belt for walking and exercise can address your needs. You can use a waist weight belt instead of holding weights in your hands. This comes in handy when doing squatslungesheel drops, and other weight bearing and strength exercises.

Waist Weight Belt: Fit and Comfort

Small build individuals often find it difficult to get a weighted waist belt that provide a snug fit.  My first piece of advice to my clients is to make sure that the belt fits properly and comfortably! The last thing you want to deal with while you are exercising is a piece of equipment that is a distraction.

Does a Waist Weight Belt Increase Bone Density?

Several studies verify that weight bearing activities that incorporate belts with waist weights improve bone density and health.

One study (1) involved great cancer survivors (often subject to bone loss because of cancer therapy). the program participants were put on a structured exercise program.

The report stated that “by the fifth week of the program and through the end of the intervention, a waist weight belt was loaded with 5 pounds and participants spent 45 minutes on the treadmill three times per week.”

The women in the study “reported feeling empowered and positive about doing something for themselves to stay healthy”.

The research team indicated that “bone remodelling was stable, as demonstrated by the absence of significant changes in serum osteocalcin levels. The bone mineral density (BMD) outcome variable was exploratory, as bone density is not a sensitive marker when repeated at a 6-month interval.”

The research team went on to say: “The absence of a significant change in BMD suggests that a weight-loaded aerobic exercise intervention has the potential to maintain bone mass in women at risk for bone loss.”

In other words, the women in the study were able to maintain bone density through “weight loaded aerobic exercise” (in this case involving the waist weights).

What Waist Weight Belt Do I Recommend?

The waist weight belt by All Pro on Amazon looks like a well designed weighted belt for individuals with osteoporosis. The product is called the All Pro Weight Adjustable Power Stride Exercise Belt.

It is an adjustable one size fits all waist weight belt. The belt has pockets that support one quarter pound iron weights and can scale up to 10 pounds in total. The 10 pound maximum is likely adequate for many women given that the studies (including the one mentioned above) had the women carry five pounds and experience positive results. It has support cushions for the lumbar and waist region (to reduce the pressure on those areas) and it a fluorescent strip for walking in low light conditions.

The All Pro waist weight belt has quite a few positive reviews and a number of endorsements from individuals who are of small stature and concerned about their bone health.

Consider a Diving Belt for a Waist Weight Belt

If the All Pro waist weight belt does not work for you I often suggest that my clients use a diving belt. Many of the diving belts have padded weights and this helps offset the pressure on your waist and lumbar regions.

I think that the Scuba Diving Pocket Weight Belt on Amazon will work for most people:

I would recommend soft mesh weights under five pounds. The Sea Pearls Soft Mesh Weights on Amazon (US) come in a variety of sizes:

Readers in Canada might try these soft mesh weights:

Readers in the United Kingdom might try these soft mesh weights:

[Please note that I receive a small commission from Amazon if you purchase the belt after clicking either of the above links.]

In the next section I describe how to configure the weights for the waist weight belt so that you can use it for walking and maximize the effect for your bones.

weighted waist belt for walking

Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis

Exercise is an essential ingredient to bone health. If you have osteoporosis, therapeutic exercise needs to be part of your osteoporosis treatment program.

But what exercises should you do and which ones should you avoid? What exercises build bone and which ones reduce your chance of a fracture? Is Yoga good for your bones? Who should you trust when it comes to exercises for osteoporosis?

A great resource on exercise and osteoporosis is my free, seven day email course called Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis. After you provide your email address, you will receive seven consecutive online educational videos on bone health — one lesson each day. You can look at the videos at anytime and as often as you like.

I cover important topics related to osteoporosis exercise including:

  • Can exercise reverse osteoporosis?
  • Stop the stoop — how to avoid kyphosis and rounded shoulders.
  • Key components of an osteoporosis exercise program.
  • Key principles of bone building.
  • Exercises you should avoid if you have osteoporosis.
  • Yoga and osteoporosis — should you practice yoga if you have osteoporosis?
  • Core strength and osteoporosis — why is core strength important if you have osteoporosis?

Enter your email address and I will start you on this free course. I do not SPAM or share your email address (or any information) with third parties. You can unsubscribe from my mail list at any time.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How to Use the Waist Weight Belt for Walking

You should use a waist weight belt with at least five pockets. Number the pockets one through five. Here is how you should load the weights over time:

  1. Start with a single weight in the centre pocket — in this case, position (or pocket) three.
  2. Belts should allow even weight bearing through both sides of the belt.
  3. Over time as the belt starts to feel light, switch to two weights in pockets two and four.
  4. Add weights according to the following pattern:
    • First, pockets two, three and four.
    • Then, pockets one, two, four and five.
  5. Finally, load the belt fully by populating all of the pockets with weights.

Pay Attention to Your Feet and Knees

Be patient and build your strength gradually.

Remember you are not just loading your hips but also your knees and feet. I have had clients who decided “more was better” and who started to wear their weighted vest (and waist weight belt) not only with exercise or walking but while doing chores around the house.

Unfortunately, their feet were not accustomed to the load and they developed plantar fasciitis.  We soon got to the root of the problem but plantar fasciitis can be difficult to treat and is a real pain in the feet!

Osteoporosis Guidelines

For more information, check out my Osteoporosis Guidelines.

Photo Attribution

By David Haberthür (image description page) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. M. Tish Knobf, PhD, RN, FAAN, Karl Insogna, MD, Loretta DiPietro, PhD, Kristopher Fennie, PhD, and A. Siobhan Thompson, MPH. An Aerobic Weight-Loaded Pilot Exercise Intervention for Breast Cancer Survivors: Bone Remodeling and Body Composition Outcomes. Biol Res Nurs. 2008 Jul; 10(1): 34–43. doi: 10.1177/1099800408320579


December 20, 2018 at 9:30am

mercy ochu ibeje

Thanks allot I love your teaching I am an osteoporosis patient I live in Lagos Nigeria and u want to buy those books titled exercises for osteoporosis 1 -3Dr edition and price m

December 20, 2018 at 1:35pm

Richard Martin replies

Hi Mercy

Margaret's book is available on

January 26, 2019 at 6:45am


Can I wear a weight vest if you have facet joint degeneration of lower back?
I will be buying you book. Love your website. Thank

January 26, 2019 at 4:49pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Amelina, If you keep a tall posture with a neutral arch in your low back the weighted vest should be fine. Most facet joint irritation occurs with extension. You will want to be more careful with the exercise called the Floor M (Active Level in Exercise for Better Bones). Be sure to use two pillow under your pelvis and just lift to neutral.
Glad you like our website. It is our third child!
Keep well,

July 23, 2021 at 8:31pm


HI! I have T scores of -3.1 and -3.3 in lumbar 3 and 4 respectively. At this level of osteoporosis, is it OK to use a weighted belt to help rebuild bone or prevent further loss? I am 57 years old. I just want to be sure that I don't cause a compression fracture. I am not sure if I have ever had one previously, but my low back ached after even a short time of 1-2 lbs of weight in a weight belt. (This was one week after wearing an 8 lb. weighted vest for a 30 min walk 4 days in a row. It felt great at first, but then my low back hurt significantly so that it was hard to even sit for long for 4 days+. It had just started to feel better when I just tried on the weighted belt for a short time and got sore again). I just need to know if I should return the weight belt while I still can or keep for later :) Thanks so much for your help!

July 24, 2021 at 9:25am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Kristine. Margaret cannot provide advice in the absence of an assessment. You should consult with a physiotherapist. Thank you.

October 20, 2022 at 2:35am


I have been using a weighted vest for walking for years. I wanted to try the weighted belt b/c my dr told me to start doing more for my hips b/c of my osteoporosis.
I have your book and check your website . you recommended the All Pro waist weighted belt. It is not available on Amazon. The problem I have with buying one size fits all is that I am petite and nothing in an all size fits all is tight enough unless There is room to adjust and tighten it. What other belt would you recommend? I had over 10 years reversed my osteoporosis and 2 years ago was osteopenia. Part of the problem is I did not walk as much b/c of weather being too cold or too hot. I did use an elliptical but the dr. told me today to get back out walking so I am looking for indoor walking and a weighted belt. I do have a weighted vest I like and cannot find another even closed to it. I thought I will try a belt if you can please recommend one. The dr said I cannot go forever without medication so I'll see where I am in 2 years with my nxt test. You have good advice online and in your book.Thank You.

February 23, 2023 at 1:24pm


I am looking to benefit both the spine and hip areas. Will a weighted vest help both areas? Will a weighted belt help both areas?