Prior to getting my hands on the Nike Zonal Strength Tights, I have learned that the tights are designed to compress the right muscle groups during workouts, as well as to reduce muscle vibration without reducing mobility. The compression zones of the tights are built directly into the base fabric.
Since different workouts engage different muscle groups, Nike designed two types of tights, namely Nike Zonal Strength Running Tights and Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights. The former aim to target key muscles for running, while the latter target muscles involved in high-intensity training along with low impact workout such as yoga.
Nike Singapore curated a special journey for media and influencers earlier this year. We had the chance to try on both Running Tights and Training Tights, and we had a lot of fun during the journey.
This journey consists of two workout sessions with Nike, followed by three challenges to be completed on our own.
Session 1: Running
For the first session, we gathered at Fort Canning Park for tempo runs. Coach Jason Lawrence led the session with warming up and continued with running four loops around the park. Each loop had to be faster than the previous loop.
The tempo runs were designed to work the muscles and thus to allow participants to feel the performance of Nike Zonal Strength Running Tights. The running tights are designed to reduce muscle vibration at quadriceps (the muscle on the front of thighs) and calves (the muscle on the back of lower legs).
At pace less than 7:00 min/km, the run was very hard for me. I was panting, trying to keep up with Jason and the front-line runners. Thankfully, the run was over in no time. And we were treated to bananas, isotonic drinks and coconut drinks.
The running tights supported me well during the run. I didn’t experience sore muscles that I’d normally experience after a rigorous run. My worry of restricted movement was unfounded; it turned out the tights were very flexible and not restrictive.
The wide and high waistband is a feature that I’ve grown to like. Aesthetically, it helped to streamline my shape and proved extremely useful for someone not skinny like me. In addition, it gives a great locked-in feel around my waist and stomach.
The fabric felt thick but breathable; it served as protection from cold during night runs, and it is comfortable to wear for day runs as well. Also, there is a waistband cord that allows you to adjust the width if required.
Session 2: Training
A week after the first session, we gathered again, but this time it was at Liv Studio, Passion Wave @ Marina Bay. Equipped with Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights, we were led by trainer Wany through a series of workouts, including but not limited to lunges, squats, push-ups, leg workouts, jump squats and more.
Even though I was wearing the same size as running tights, the training tights felt narrower at the waist. Upon further observation of the training tights, I learned that the width of the waistband is smaller at the top, and gradually increases towards the hips. At the hips, I felt that the width for running and training tights are pretty similar.
Wider than that of running tights, the waistband of training tights is designed to provide core support. The training tights are lighter than its running counterpart. To quickly distinguish the training tights from its cousin, look for the reflective fabric on the surface of training tights. Also, the training tights don’t have waistband cord.
Beside core support, Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights also support quad, hamstring, glute, which are the key muscle groups in high-intensity training.
Session 3, 4 and 5: Running and Training on Our Own
Through the first two sessions with Nike, I got to know about NRC and NTC apps, which were compulsory for the next three challenges. Basically, NRC (Nike+ Run Club) is an app that not only tracks running activities but also recommends training plans for beginners to get start with running, as well as for regular runners to be more fit or to prepare for race day. At the end of your run, you get to choose which workout to publish on your profile and assign hashtags to it.
Meanwhile, NTC (Nike+ Training Club) app has comprehensive training videos, from simple workouts without equipment, to advanced workouts that require gym equipment. The app has a filter function to let you search for workouts based on various inputs, such as duration, difficulty level, equipment, intensity, etc. Similar to NRC, NTC app can also create customised training plans to help you achieve your goals.
Back to the challenges, the first challenge was a 5km run and 30-minute NTC workout that we had to complete in a week. A week after that, the second challenge was announced, it was a 6km run and 30-minute NTC workout, also to be completed in a week. The final challenge required us to do a 7km run and 45-minute NTC workout. We used NRC and NTC apps to track our activities.
We had the choice to do the challenges on our own or together with our assigned partner. RunSociety was paired up with Carla Dunareanu. Carla and I did the challenges on our own but we cheered for each other along the way.
Life After the Journey
This journey has contributed positively to my fitness approach. As a casual runner and not a gym freak, I didn’t take gym training seriously even though I knew cross training are highly beneficial for runners. Having NTC app and Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights means that I have no more excuses to start regular indoor training.
I wore Nike Zonal Strength Running Tights for my half marathon race at OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017 and I like how well they supported me. I’d like to believe that the compression magic was the one responsible for pushing me through the long run and the gruelling uphill flyover. My quad muscles were well wrapped and compressed, that I always felt strong and ready to press on.
Overall, I am content with the performance of Nike Zonal Strength Tights. I’m motivated to run and train more in them.
- Running tights come with a small pocket at the waistband, which I use to store keys. I hardly felt the keys while running, they were nicely secured and didn’t jingle. The training tights don’t have a pocket but I don’t mind because I don’t want to feel any hard thing pressing against my body when I do a push-up or sit-up.
- Both tights have a useful reflective feature that provides visibility under low light condition. In running tights, the reflective feature is more prominent in the webbing, while the reflective element in training tights is easily noticeable throughout the surface.
- I couldn’t stop harping on how much I love the high-rise waistband, they made me look better and at the same time gave me much needed compression support.
- Both tights can be machine washed, giving me more time to do other things.
- The price could be on the high side for some, but it is worth the investment in the long run.
- It takes me longer to put on the tights than running shorts.
- In general, some people find most compressive tights too revealing, so they need to wear a long shirt or another pair of shorts on top of the tights.
- Once you’re used to wearing these tights, it’ll be unbelievably hard to switch to shorts.
Whenever you’re looking for gears to help your running, always invest in good quality gears. A good investment will pay off well in the long run.
Nike’s Zonal Strength Tights are available in retail and nike.com.