The 6 Best Weighted Vests For Strength Training and Conditioning

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Is your workout regimen in need of a little revamp? Are you fed up with the same old strength training and conditioning routine? If so, then it sounds like you need an adaptive training tool that can turn your workout into a real challenge. While purchasing a separate set of weights is one way to add resistance to your routine, weight vests are an effective and affordable alternative.

Given their versatility and convenience, they’ve become popular among athletes of all skill levels, from beginners to pros alike. But even among the potential options, there’s still a difference in terms of quality and design, which is why we’re here to help you find the best weighted vest for your particular situation.

A muscular man training using the best weighted vest on the market
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In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks

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Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Weighted Vest Men and Weight Vest Women, Performance Stretch Wicking Fabric, Thin Adjustable Weighted Vest, Pre-loaded with Smallest Steel Weights for Weighted Vests
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Aduro Sport Weighted Vest Workout Equipment, 4lbs/6lbs/12lbs/20lbs/25lbs/30lbs Body Weight Vest for Men, Women, Kids
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RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest 12lbs/ 20lbs/ 40lbs/ 50lbs/ 60lbs With Shoulder Pads Option
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Product's nameBest Overall
Rogue Fitness Plate Carrier
Great Alternative
Condor Sentry Plate Carrier
Best For Beginners
Titan Fitness Adjustable Weight Vest
Best for CrossFit-Style Workouts
Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Weighted Vest Men and Weight Vest...
Best For Running
Aduro Sport Weighted Vest Workout Equipment,...
Budget Option
RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest 12lbs/ 20lbs/ 40lbs/ 50lbs/ 60lbs...
Final ThoughtGiven its sturdy construction and unbeatable weight distribution, the Rogue Plate Carrier brings a military-style approach to your strength training regimen.If you're a fan of minimalist design and an essentials-only approach, the Condor Sentry could be the exact weighted vest you need.Those that want an affordable option for their maiden voyage into strength training should definitely consider the Titan Fitness 20lb Adjustable Weight Vest.This is by far the best weighted vest for CrossFit enthusiasts, thanks to its compact profile and excellent material quality.distances when training for a marathon. Not only does it make for an incredibly comfortable joggling experience, but its slim design also helps to improve your performance without feeling like a burden on your body.If you're in a financial pickle and want to get the most bang for your buck, then the RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest can bring your strength training and conditioning routine to the next level.
Fastening SystemVelcro straps with front and back loopsHook and LoopVelcro strapsLaceHookHook and Loop
Materials1000 and 500 Denier CorduraNylon and MeshHeavy-Duty NylonTyvek Lycra NylonNeopreneNeoprene
Weight Options5 - 40 lbs 5 - 20 lbs2.5 - 20 lbs10 lbs, with 5 lb increments4 - 25 lbs20 - 140 lbs
Weight TypePlate CarrierPlate CarrierPouch VestPouch VestPouch VestPouch Vest
WarrantyLifetime1 yearLifetime1 yearLifetimeLifetime
Price$$$$$$$$$
Learn moreSee at RogueSee at RogueSee at TitanSee at AmazonSee at AmazonSee at Amazon

Why You Should Trust Us

At BoxLife, we can proudly say that our workout experts have extensive knowledge and experience in the area of strength training and conditioning. We’ve had numerous run-ins with all of the major fitness brands and their flagship products, and we’ve tested them all in a variety of settings – both in commercial facilities and in our own home gyms.

These in-depth reviews are the basis for our evaluation process, with a massive emphasis on user experience and satisfaction, both of which have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of a weighted vest. Since we all have our own fitness goals and preferences, we strive to provide an objective overview of the features and specs of each product, as well as the value for money it offers.

Who Is This Guide For?

If you’re not satisfied with your current fitness level and the exercises you’re doing aren’t yielding the desired results, then you might want to keep reading. Weight vests bring that additional variety and resistance that you wouldn’t get with a regular set of weights, and this fully propels the user into a more challenging training routine. They’re as effective as they are convenient, and their ability to be added to almost any workout makes them a great investment.

A strong man using the best weighted vest with a cable machine
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How We Picked the Best Products

While our team of experts has personally tested a number of products, our picks for the best weighted vest were based on a number of other factors to ensure proper coverage of the market. We turned to the all-knowing and ever-growing world of social media to dig for the dirt on customer experience, as well as to evaluate how these products stood up in comparison to each other.

Both Reddit and Quora were the focus of this investigation thanks to the amount of unbiased feedback on existing products that can be found there. We also checked out consumer reviews across known retailers like Amazon, Titan, and Rogue Fitness, which arguably had a more encompassing approach to giving products a fair evaluation. Combining all of these sources, we were able to narrow down our selection and identify the top contenders.

How We Graded Each Product

Once we had a general idea of which items earned the highest ratings, we began to grade each product based on our own selection of criteria to ensure an even playing field. Of course, some deviation from the standard features may occur depending on the manufacturer, but the general benchmarks for our review encompass the following:

  • Type of Weight Vest – Perhaps the most crucial factor in our evaluation process, the type of vest is what separates one product from another. This relies entirely on the product’s design and weight distribution, both of which determine how comfortable and effective a particular model is. You can opt for one of four varieties – plate carriers, pouch vests, backpacks and heavyweight vests.
  • Material Quality – It’s no secret that even lightweight vests are prone to tearing or wearing down over time, which can ultimately affect their performance. That’s why we graded each product based on the type of material it was made from and the durability it could offer in extended use, as well as the breathability of the fabric.
  • Weight Options – While the exact numbers one person needs can differ from another, having a few adjustable weight options can go a long way in terms of versatility. We took into account the range of weights that each product offered – including any additional features that could help make adjustments smoother, such as quick-release buckles or easily adjustable straps.
  • Price Range – Even at the top end of things, good weighted vests don’t necessarily have to be expensive. We looked at the price tags of each product and calculated whether the value for money was in line with their features and specs. Oftentimes, manufacturers end up charging a bit more for a given item, and we made sure to raise a flag on these instances.

The Products

When we had a good look at all the data we had gathered, a few options stood out as the true contenders for best weighted vest. To give you an objective overview of each product, we’ve compiled a list of their features and specs, as well as the main strengths and weaknesses of each one.

Rogue Fitness Plate Carrier – Best Overall

It wouldn’t be a gym-related article without at least one mention of Rogue Fitness, and their plate carrier vest is easily our top pick for the best overall. Its spacious yet comfortable design lets you take advantage of your full range of motion during bodyweight exercises, while the tactical-style straps fit securely and keep weights in place no matter the activity.

Pros

  • Resilient and durable materials with reinforced seams
  • Adjustable shoulder straps for greater comfort
  • Easy-to-use buckles for quick weight adjustments
  • Soft padding on the inner side of the vest

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with laser-cut plates
  • May jostle around if you don’t get the proper size

Key Specs

Materials1000 and 500 Denier Cordura
Fastening SystemVelcro straps with front and back loops
Weight TypePlate Carrier
Weight Options5 – 40 lbs 

Why It’s Great

The Rogue Plate Carrier is arguably a prime example of a heavy-duty weighted vest that offers premium performance for running, walking and strength training. Its padded interior covers your entire chest and upper abdominals, as well as your back and shoulders, and it’s designed to fit snugly without hampering movement. It looks and feels like a military-grade vest, though it’s by no means as uncomfortable as you might expect.

The Cordura base embodies a sleek and modern aesthetic, with double X-box reinforced stitching across the seams and soft padding on the inner side for additional protection. The whole ensemble delivers maximum precision and support as it keeps your body in the proper form during every exercise, all while offering a streamlined weight distribution. The strategically-placed weight plates have an immense contribution here, as they are designed to make the user feel like a well-oiled machine.

Moreover, the heavy-duty nylon coatings of both polyurethane and urethane varieties ensure maximum durability and breathability. The minimized usage of added bulk materials also helps to reduce friction and effectively avoid any unnecessary abrasion or damage to the fabric, as well as chafing or scuffs on your body.

Who It’s Best For

Given its sturdy construction and unbeatable weight distribution, the Rogue Plate Carrier brings a military-style approach to your strength training regimen. It’s suitable for all types of fitness enthusiasts and athletes, from casual gym goers to professional weightlifters, and will save you a considerable amount of time by cutting back on tedious adjustments.

Condor Sentry Plate Carrier – Great Alternative

Bearing an eerily similar design to Rogue’s plate carrier, the Sentry from Condor hits all the right spots for a great alternative. While it may not reach the same level of premium quality, it still offers a solid performance that can rival some of the more expensive models on the market. It’s a fantastic fusion of comfort and convenience, bringing an admirable balance between the two without compromising on either.

Pros

  • Customizable amounts of padding on the shoulders
  • Compact design and flexible straps
  • Secure hook and loop webbing closures
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • Doesn’t accommodate laser-cut plates
  • Narrower yoke could be uncomfortable for some

Key Specs

MaterialsNylon and Mesh
Fastening SystemHook and Loop
Weight TypePlate Carrier
Weight Options5 – 20 lbs

Why It’s Great

There’s really not much that could go wrong with an army-inspired weighted vest like the Condor Sentry. It provides an exceptional level of comfort with its minimal bulk design, which proves to be highly beneficial when doing pushups, sit-ups, or any other core exercises. It’s slightly longer and narrower than the Rogue Plate Carrier but it doesn’t suffer in terms of support or weight distribution.

Moreover, the high-performance nature of the Sentry is also complemented by its padded shoulder straps, which can easily be adjusted according to your preference. If you’re not exactly a fan of tightness around the neck area, you can opt-out for a more comfortable fit by adding or removing some of the cushioning and the convenient hook-and-loop webbing closures.

This option also comes with a number of unique and innovative features, such as additional webbing for modular attachments and quick-adjust cinches on both sides. The former lets you attach more plates or pouches to the vest, while the latter allows for a more personalized fit in a fraction of the time. Add that to its super breathable mesh exterior, and you’ve got yourself an excellent alternative to the Rogue model.

Who It’s Best For

If you’re a fan of minimalist design and an essentials-only approach, the Condor Sentry could be the exact weighted vest you need. It doesn’t offer the same level of padding as the Rogue, but it certainly makes up for it in terms of flexibility and comfort. The sturdy and secure fit makes it ideal for casual and intermediate gym goers, as well as athletes who want a no-frills approach to their workout routine.

Titan Fitness Adjustable Weight Vest – Best For Beginners

When you’re new to bodyweight workouts, you don’t want to invest in something too elaborate or difficult to use. To that end, the Titan Fitness 20lb Adjustable Weight Vest brings a remarkable blend of simplicity and functionality to beginner users. Offering a more casual approach than the aforementioned models, it brings a pouch-like design with 2.5-pound increments that can be added or removed at your convenience.

Pros

  • Solid steel weights with small increments
  • Resilient Velcro straps on the front and back
  • Easy to adjust with a simple slider
  • Lightweight and comfy for long-term use

Cons

  • Weight plates may move around during workouts
  • Underwhelming amount of padding on the shoulders

Key Specs

MaterialsHeavy-Duty Nylon
Fastening SystemVelcro Straps
Weight TypePouch Vest
Weight Options2.5 – 20 lbs

Why It’s Great

Not everyone needs a full-on plate carrier or tactical vest for their workouts and Titan Fitness seems to understand this notion better than most. The pocket-style vest offers a cozy and snug fit that’s almost like a second skin, with its light and breathable fabric making it the perfect companion for prolonged physical activities. You could even argue this is the best weighted vest for walking, thanks to its exceptional comfort and flexible weight options.

The one thing that sets this model apart from the competition is its 2.5-pound removable weights which are made of solid, ingot-style steel plates. This gives you the opportunity to slowly yet surely increase the intensity of your workout as you progress, without overcommitting to a certain weight right off the bat. Plus, the plates’ rounded edges minimize the risk of any accidental scratches or poking, allowing you to maintain a safe and secure exercise regimen.

As far as adjustable shoulder padding goes, this model doesn’t quite hit the mark. It does provide adequate support but may be insufficient for users who want more cushioning and comfort. That said, the Velcro straps on both the front and back are quite tough, with double stitching to reinforce their durability.

Who It’s Best For

Those that want an affordable option for their maiden voyage into strength training should definitely consider the Titan Fitness 20lb Adjustable Weight Vest. It has enough features to get you through basic exercises, yet it’s simple enough to use that anyone can start using it right away. And while the padding may not be on par with its pricier competitors, it should still offer adequate levels of comfort during your workouts.

Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO – Best for CrossFit-Style Workouts

Nothing provides an intense workout quite like CrossFit-style exercises, and if you’re on the market for a weighted vest to accompany you through these grueling routines, then look no further than the Hyper Vest PRO from Hyperwear. It may not be the most affordable option on this list, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most versatile and durable models you can find.

Pros

  • High-performance fabric for improved airflow
  • Unique Hyperflex technology to adapt to your movements
  • Minimal bounce and body heat retention
  • Reinforced edges and resilient Nylon straps

Cons

  • Quite an expensive option
  • Lacing fastening system can be a bit of a hassle

Key Specs

MaterialsTyvek Lycra Nylon
Fastening SystemLace
Weight TypePouch Vest
Weight Options10 lbs, with 5 lb increments

Why It’s Great

The unique Nylon and Spandex blend of this vest isn’t only breathable but it also feels incredibly lightweight on the body. This is mostly thanks to Hyperwear’s proprietary Hyperflex technology, which delivers an exceptional level of flexibility and mobility during physical activities. There’s also the patented Hyperkinetic system, which helps to minimize bounce and eliminate excess body heat during high-intensity workouts.

Additionally, the fabric itself is odor-resistant and quick-drying, so you don’t have to worry about any unpleasant smells even after prolonged use. The open sides and bottom, as well as the reinforced edges, also provide adequate ventilation to keep you cool throughout your workout. The thin profile inherently caters to a wide range of exercises, from weighted punching and pull-ups to portable jogging and circuit training.

While some may argue that this is the best weighted vest for running, it’s particularly handy for those who practice CrossFit. The lacing system at the back helps to ensure a snug fit without feeling too constricting, while its YKK zipper on the front makes for easy adjustments on the fly. Even if it doesn’t come with any weight options under 10 lbs, it doesn’t feel too heavy on your shoulders, even after long sessions.

Who It’s Best For

This is by far the best weighted vest for CrossFit enthusiasts, thanks to its compact profile and excellent material quality. It doesn’t boast the same level of padding as other models, but its Hyperflex technology more than makes up for it in terms of comfort and flexibility. Plus, its thin design allows you to add a considerable amount of weight without impeding your movements or reducing your agility.

Aduro Sport Weighted Vest – Best For Running

This is where things start to get interesting because we come across a new, distinct shape. Aduro Sport’s Weighted Vest is one of the few options that doesn’t cover your entire chest but rather focuses on your shoulders and arms. As such, it opens the door for all sorts of dynamic exercises that wouldn’t be possible with traditional models, especially since jogging at high speeds requires a steady breathing pattern.

Pros

  • Adjustable shoulder padding with optimal weight distribution
  • Slim and sleek design that facilitates a wide variety of running styles
  • Moisture-resistant neoprene base for improved air circulation
  • Quite appropriate for cardio and other aerobic exercises

Cons

  • Quite an expensive option
  • Lacing fastening system can be a bit of a hassle

Key Specs

MaterialsNeoprene
Fastening SystemHook
Weight TypePouch Vest
Weight Options4 – 25 lbs

Why It’s Great

If your running routine requires a vest that won’t impede your performance, then Aduro Sport’s Weighted Vest may be the one to fill in the blanks. Its neoprene base offers an impressive level of breathability, which is further enhanced by its slim and lightweight design. The open-chest layout doesn’t constrict your chest muscles or weigh down your breathing, which allows you to maintain a steady rhythm during your runs.

The shoulder pads provide ample cushioning across the top and bottom, ensuring a secure and snug fit that won’t shift with your movements. The crossed design on the back also helps to evenly distribute the weight, therefore reducing any potential strain or discomfort on your shoulders. The material itself is moisture-resistant and lightweight, which ultimately makes for a pleasant exercise experience.

Another nifty addition is the mesh pocket on the back where you can store all of your essentials, from keys and phones to wallets and earbuds. It’s easily accessible while running, with a velcro seal that ensures all your belongings stay in place. Plus, its external loops also make for convenient ways to add extra weight if need be.

Who It’s Best For

distances when training for a marathon. Not only does it make for an incredibly comfortable joggling experience, but its slim design also helps to improve your performance without feeling like a burden on your body. It’s also an excellent choice for those who want to switch up their cardio routine with dynamic exercises such as high-intensity interval training.

RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest – Budget Option

As far as adjustable vests on a budget go, the RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest definitely takes the cake in both affordability and versatility. Since it’s not limited to any specific type of exercise, you can get creative with everything from yoga and HIIT to strength training and CrossFit. It has a minimalist yet highly practical design that not only covers your chest but also your upper back for increased support.

Pros

  • Thick padding on the front and back for boosted comfort
  • Fully adjustable weight system with multiple pouches
  • Specialized pockets for your phone and other small items
  • Machine-washable fabric for added convenience

Cons

  • May feel a bit tight for some
  • Could use more shoulder padding

Key Specs

MaterialsNeoprene
Fastening SystemHook and Loop
Weight TypePouch Vest
Weight Options20 – 140 lbs

Why It’s Great

One particularly interesting detail about this model is that the weighted vests can be added to both the front and back in meticulously-placed pockets, allowing for a more stable weight distribution. This comes in handy when you want to practice exercises that require especially precise movements since the vest will stay put no matter the intensity.

In addition, the tough nylon fabric is surprisingly breathable despite its thickness, with adequate air circulation through the mesh sides. It has recessed pockets to store your phone, keys, and even a water bottle, all secured by a velcro seal. Despite not having a generous amount of shoulder padding, the product feels surprisingly comfortable and doesn’t wear you down.

Keep in mind though that this is quite a tight-fitting vest, which can make it a bit uncomfortable for those with broader chest shapes. That said, its adjustable straps and expandable pockets make up for it in terms of versatility, although you may have to experiment a bit to get the fit just right. Either way, the slimmer sides, and upper back padding will certainly make this a viable option for many.

Who It’s Best For

If you’re in a financial pickle and want to get the most bang for your buck, then the RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest can bring your strength training and conditioning routine to the next level. It’s a fantastic choice for HIIT exercises, as its shape makes it easier to move around and change positions quickly. Plus, its extra pockets are perfect for those who like to take their phones on runs or take the occasional sip of water on the go.

Tips on Buying a Great Quality Weighted Vest

While the specific details of each product vary, there are a few universal factors that primarily influence the quality of a weighted vest. Some brands put a greater emphasis on comfort and breathability, while others focus more on adjustability and weight management, but it all depends on your particular needs as well. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when looking for the best weighted vest for women or men.

Body Type

Not all vests have the same design layout or coverage, so it’s important to take into account your body type before purchasing one. If you have a broader chest and shoulders than average, then you might need something that can accommodate a bigger frame. An adjustable vest is a great way to find the right fit for your body and provide you with adequate support.

On the other hand, if you’re slim or have a slender build, you may be better off with a slimmer design that won’t feel bulky during use. Think about how much coverage you need and where the vest should sit in order to get the best results out of your training.

You should also consider the exact type of exercise you plan on doing with it. If you’re going to be jogging or running a lot, look for one with an open-chest design and a snug fit so it won’t shift as much when you move. If strength training is more your thing, then you’ll want something that’s more robust and made with dense material to help manage the weight better. While thicker materials are generally more comfortable, they also tend to be slightly bulkier so make sure it won’t impede your range of motion.

A strong man using the best weighted vest doing press-ups with circles
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Wearability

This is directly related to the fit and the materials used in the design, as these all play important roles in determining how comfortable you feel when wearing a certain product. The way it laces up can imminently pull or push against your chest, so make sure to take this into account.

For instance, Velcro fastenings work better for those who want to adjust their weight in small increments, while zippers can be more effective at providing a snugger fit and can be used to add extra weight. Hooks and loops may also be used to further secure the vest against your body for greater stability, although they do require a bit more effort to put on.

In terms of materials, breathable fabrics like mesh and nylon can make for an incredibly pleasant experience in hot or humid climates. Some models have open-sided designs for increased airflow, while others even include special pockets to hold water bottles. Avoid polyester fabrics if possible, as these can be quite restrictive when it comes to sweat management.

Moreover, think about the way the material feels along your skin, especially if you’re going to be using it with no shirt underneath. While some models can be quite abrasive, others are designed to rest more comfortably while providing adequate support. Both Neoprene and Cordura are known for their soft and supple textures that don’t chafe easily.

Weight Management

The weight options and increments offered by each product have an inextricable impact on the quality of your training. You think about how much weight you want to add and if the vest can accommodate that amount without feeling bulky. Most of them already have an ergonomic pouch placement, with specifically designed pockets to evenly distribute the weight throughout your body.

While you may be tempted to start off with the maximum weight possible, this isn’t always necessary and can even be counterintuitive for some exercises. Look for a diverse range of weights or adjustable pouches to help you find the right balance for your body without overexerting yourself early on.

Color Options

Even if this isn’t a direct indicator of quality, it’s always nice to have a few different color options when picking out training equipment. Believe it or not, this can have powerful psychological effects on some people’s performance. For instance, bright hues can help boost energy levels and mood, while darker hues do the opposite.

Of course, there are people that enjoy the classic black or white varieties, but the general color scheme doesn’t have to be limited to that. If you’re not particularly picky about it, this might not be a deal-breaker for you. However, if it is, then make sure to take a look at each model’s available colors before committing.

Budget

As much as we’d all like to get the best product within our means, financial constraints do play an important role in any purchase decision. That said, it’s perfectly possible to find a great weighted vest for a reasonable price without compromising on quality.

Take some time to research the market and compare prices between different models in order to find the best value for your money. Don’t be afraid to go for a slightly more expensive product if it offers extra features or better materials, as long as it doesn’t put too big of a dent on your pocket.

Features like reflective strips, straps for carrying water bottles and adjustable weights can come in handy and might even be worth the extra cost. While certainly not necessary, they can bring your strength training and conditioning routine to a whole new level.

A strong man using the best weighted vest with a specific cable machine
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Warranty

Even though products like weighted vests are quite prone to wear and tear after extended use, you still want to get a good product that’s backed by a solid warranty. This will work in your favor in case something goes wrong and you need to get it repaired or replaced.

A solid one-year policy is a good starting point, given the nature of these products, although some models come with a lifetime warranty. If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, you should definitely consider this option, as it could save you a lot of trouble down the line if anything unexpected happens.

FAQ

What does a weighted vest do for you?

Wearing a workout weight vest can increase the intensity of your exercise routine and help you reach your fitness goals faster. It adds an additional layer of weight to your body, which in turn builds muscular strength and stamina. It can also increase your overall power output when performing exercises such as push-ups, squats, burpees, and more, effectively burning more calories in a shorter period of time.

How long should I wear a weighted vest?

In general, aiming for about 15 to 20 minutes per day is recommended. It’s not necessarily a big commitment in terms of time, but it can make a huge difference in your overall fitness level. The more you get used to wearing the vest, the longer you can wear it. Just don’t forget to take regular breaks in between sets to allow your body time to recover.

Will a weight vest make me faster?

Absolutely. In fact, studies show that wearing a weighted vest can actually improve your speed and agility as long as you maintain proper form. This is because the extra weight forces your body to work harder, which helps strengthen your muscles and make them more resilient. This eventually enhances your performance, which makes you move faster and with greater agility.

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About

Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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