plate carriers being worn by military members


If you’re running toward the sound of gunfire then you’ll undoubtedly want to be wearing some type of protective armor. However, it’s also entirely possible that you’re just looking for a way to add a little extra resistance to your workout….

Either way, the plate carrier is a great option for both scenarios.


Like a suit of armor used to protect knights of old, plate carriers protect modern-day warriors. A plate carrier is a piece of protective tactical gear commonly used in the military and law enforcement.

The carrier holds ballistic plates, which are rated to stop high-speed projectiles like shrapnel and a number of different sizes of bullets. However, plate carriers have also grown in popularity in the fitness world as alternatives to weight vests.

Below, we’ll take a look at two workout plate carriers then two tactical plate carriers.


These two options are plate carriers that are only recommended to be used for work out purposes. The following plate carriers should NOT be used as actual body armor.

WORKOUT CARRIER #1 - Rogue 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier

This is the official plate carrier of the Crossfit Games. It can take Rogue laser cut steel plates (ranging in weight from 3.75 - 8.75lbs per piece), or it can use the Rogue USA cast weight plates (ranging in weight from 5.75 - 13.75lbs per plate).

The TacTec carrier fits almost every body type comfortably, and is ideal to use during bodyweight workouts, running, or even hiking.

MSRP for the TacTec carrier + plates is: $250-350 (USD).

Here’s what other people say about the TacTec
“Great vest for any kind of workout - running, lifting, circuits you name it. Stays snug in place without cutting off your breath. Highly recommend it.”
WORKOUT CARRIER #2- Rogue Fitness Condor Sentry Carrier
This carrier is the budget option that Rogue Fitness offers. But don’t let the price deceive you. This is still a great lightweight and highly durable carrier that’s perfect for waist sizes 30-46. However, unlike the TacTec, the only plate options for the Condor are the Rogue USA cast weight plates.

MSRP for the Condor Carrier + plates is: $125-170 (USD)

Here’s what other people say about the Condor:
“Very happy with this vest. Fits snug and doesn't move around when I'm moving. The contour of the weight plates make it comfortable to exercise in.”


The two recommended plate carriers below are designed for use in military and law enforcement environments.


The DFNDR Armor plate carrier is ultralight, slim in design, and offers a high degree of mobility to the operator. It can fit up to 4 rifle-rated ceramic plates (front, back, and both sides) to provide maximum armor protection around the torso, chest, and back. This plate carrier is popular in law enforcement circles.

MSRP for the carrier + ceramic plates is: $700-1,250 (USD).

Here’s what other people say about the DFNDR Armor plate carrier:
“Initially, I was skeptical that a piece of armor could be so light yet protect me from large projectiles.  The team at DFNDR Armor was gracious enough to sacrifice Level III and Level III plus plates for me to destroy.  After shooting 40 cal hollow points, 5.56 , 308  and  rifled 12 gauge slugs at these plates and seeing their amazing performance, I was unequivocally sold on their ability to stop multiple high caliber rounds.”

TACTICAL PLATE CARRIER #2- Crye Precision Jumpable Plate Carrier (JPC)

The Crye Precision Jumpable Plate Carrier is another popular lightweight, highly mobile, and minimalist style carrier that is quite popular with military personnel.

This carrier features molle webbing on the front and back, as well as an adjustable AirLite Skeletal Cummerbund around the sides (also includes molle webbing). With all that webbing, it’s easy to see that this carrier offers many different options for configuration. Like the DFNDR carrier, this one takes ceramic plates as well.

You can also buy soft armor inserts to slide between the plates and your body to further prevent any of the ceramic fragmenting into you.

MSRP for the Jumpable Carrier + plates is: $800-1,450 (USD)

Here’s what other people say about the jumpable plate carrier:

“The CRYE Precision Jumpable Plate Carrier (JPC) is a minimalist, lightweight plate carrier. I used the first generation for about a year before it was destroyed by a combat medic and a pair of scissors during an operation. I wore it through a brutal training regimen and a combat deployment. It is the best kit I have personally used — lightweight flexible, adaptive, and incredibly user-friendly”


As you can see, the plate carrier is a versatile option that can be used as body armor, or simply to add extra resistance during a workout. Just remember, if you need a plate carrier to act as body armor, make sure that you buy one which is rated for that exact purpose!

Looking to use your plate carrier for your workouts? Try one of our bodyweight workout programs and throw it on to see how well you do throughout.