Many of you that either follow me on social media or read my blog posts know that I am a huge fan of cross training integrated into my run training. Many people overlook the importance of a strong core and upper body when it comes to the overall well-being and performance of a running athlete. How often do we focus on engaging our core muscles and the placement of our arms when we run? Not enough would be a safe answer I’d imagine for most of us.
When I was asked to put a new product called Egg Weights to the test before being launched by a Kickstarter campaign this coming month, I did a little research into what it was before agreeing to take it on. Here is what I learned about Egg Weights before I had them in hand:
- They are egg-shaped weights designed to rest comfortably in the palm of your hand.
- According to their website http://www.eggweights.com, they are world’s first patent pending ergonomically designed hand held weights that move with your body’s natural motion while you run, walk or hike.
- According to their website, they help increase calorie burn by adding resistance to any core focused exercise.
- They are meant to be incorporated into a daily exercise routine.
Naturally I was intrigued to see whether these seemed like a reasonable product to incorporate into an athlete’s daily exercise routine and if so, where, how and what benefit could they potentially offer.
When I received the product, I found that they are exactly what I had pictured and expected – egg shaped weights made of some sort of solid metal material (iron perhaps). I received two different sizes – the smaller weighing approx .75 lbs and the larger size (just larger than a regular large egg) weighing just over 1 lb. Also included were some rubber grips (you can see in the pictures) that go around the weights in order to keep them grippy, protect the weights if they fall and keep your hands from getting sweaty when using them.
I took them out for a test run (literally) on the trails with my pups on Friday. I decided to use the larger weights as I am already accustomed to weight training and consider myself as having above average upper body and core strength. Over the course of a 3 mile easy run along the rolling terrain of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, I hardly noticed them being a nuisance while I ran, which is important to note because this was my first concern when reading about the product. I absolutely hate running with something in my hand and will avoid a handheld water bottle at all costs. These are small enough and shaped just right so that they don’t protrude, keeping the center of the weight directly in the middle of your hand and weigh just enough to get your heart rate up above your normal heart at a given effort but not so heavy that it would impede on whatever you originally planned on doing.
Being totally honest, the concept seemed so simple that I didn’t think I’d be very impressed. Once I had the product in hand and was able to use them for myself, I found them to be of exceptional quality and useful for the everyday person hoping to add some extra fitness to a run they were already planning on doing anyway. I wondered why someone would want to invest in this type of a product vs. a regular dumbbell and found that they had a video on their Instagram feed that addressed this same question. The answer in the video summed it up by explaining how with a dumbbell, the weight distribution is on either side of your hand while holding it, which feels very unnatural while running. This can change your natural running gate as the weight swings while you run. On the contrary, the weight is palm centered with Egg Weights and does not feel unnatural. Not to mention, let’s be real here – how many of us are going to run with little dumbbells protruding out either side of our hand while running. It’s also a good time to make note of the fact that I have not seen dumbbells any smaller than 3 lbs. Egg Weights are just over 1/3 that weight and much more than that would significantly change your ability to run more than a few minutes at a time without too much of a lactic burn and subsequent stop to rest your arms.
Coming from the background of both a running athlete and coach, I wondered what application these may have to my own training schedule versus someone who runs simply for the sake of staying healthy. Here is where I feel they could add benefit to both of these demographics:
Someone running for the purpose of training for a race (my application):
- While these may not *directly* impact how fast you can run a marathon or maximize your potential distance on an ultramarathon race, they can add some focus on building your core and arms utilizing the same time resources you are already committing to with a training schedule. We all know how hard it is to make time for training as it is, the last thing we need to add to our plate is more time needed to focus on cross training. While I don’t claim these as being the only thing needed to sufficiently keep a running athlete healthy, Egg Weights are a simple solution to maximizing some of these benefits without having to go to a gym. Bottom line – If you are short on time, get your added core and arm workout in while you are already running.
- I would not recommend using these during pace-specific training runs as they may impede on your ability to hit your thresholds just right BUT they could be an amazing addition a few times per week to your easy-paced runs and an even more amazing addition to your hill sprint workouts. Picture how much you use your arms while running uphill!
Someone running for the purpose of general fitness (losing weight, maintaining health):
- The same points as made above are still applicable, but in addition to those, you can add some simple exercises either before or after your run (that you will already have the Egg Weights in hand for anyway) to add toning and additional calorie burn.
- If you do go to a gym, add these to some dynamic exercises where you normally wouldn’t add weight. Some ideas are box jumps, V-ups, lunges, squats, high knees jumps and tic tocs to name a few.
- I filmed a few videos (actually filmed at the gym because it was dark outside) that I think could be done both in the gym or wherever you find yourself at the beginning or end of your run using Egg Weights and will post them here.
In conclusion, I feel like this simple yet brilliant idea is a realistic and smart way for the average, everyday weekend warrior to add some extra core and arm training into a time already set aside for running. If used during the proper run workouts, a running athlete could incorporate these into their training plan without risking injury or additional time commitments.
Thanks for giving me a read, and as always friends – enjoy your fitness and our beautiful outdoors!