Running to the Music: How to Find the Best Workout Headphones - WBCB: The Valley's CW |

Running to the Music: How to Find the Best Workout Headphones


Do you want to start making the most of your time in the gym? Do it by working more music into the mix during your workouts.

Studies have shown that listening to music while you work out can enhance exercise by making you enjoy it more. They’ve also suggested that, by listening to music at the gym, you can use up less oxygen as you exercise, which will often result in you working out harder and pushing your muscles to the max.

But before you start incorporating more music into your workouts, you need to invest in high-quality workout headphones. They’ll deliver clear, crisp sound to your ears and ensure that you don’t miss a single second of the amazing workout playlist you just put together.

Choosing the best workout headphones can be tricky, though. Here is a guide that will help you find the right headphones for your workouts.

Begin by Thinking About How You’ll Use Headphones

Before you start shopping around for new workout headphones, take a few minutes to think about how you’re going to use your headphones once you buy them. More specifically, consider what kinds of workouts you’re going to be doing with your headphones on.

Do your normal workouts include:

  • Running on the treadmill?
  • Lifting weights?
  • Using an elliptical machine?
  • Taking part in fitness classes?
  • Riding a bike?
  • Swimming?

There might be some people out there who enjoy doing a combination of all these things. But generally speaking, most people prefer to do one or two specific types of workouts when they’re at the gym.

Your job will be to find headphones that pair up with your preferred type of workout. By thinking about how you’re going to use your headphones, you can avoid finding yourself on the treadmill with headphones that are too bulky or on the bench press with corded headphones that keep getting in your way.

Choose the Right Style

Once you know how you’re going to use your headphones, you can start looking at some of the different headphone styles that are available. There are two main styles that people can choose from when searching for workout headphones.

These two styles are:

It’s pretty easy to see what sets the two styles apart based on their names alone.

Over-ear headphones sit on top of a person’s ears and include a band that wraps around their head to keep the headphones in place. In-ear headphones, on the other hand, sit inside a person’s ears without a band of any kind.

Over-ear headphones are ideal for those who want to make sure their headphones stay put while they’re wearing them. You won’t ever have to worry about your headphones falling off your ears when they’re secured to your head with a band.

But one big downside when it comes to over-ear headphones is that they can be too bulky for some people. While most headphone manufacturers use the lightest materials possible when creating over-ear headphones, they’ll still add some weight to your head when you’re wearing them.

This won’t be an issue with in-ear headphones at all. They’re a lot lighter than over-ear headphones are, and it won’t even feel like you’re wearing headphones in most cases when you have them on.

The only criticism of them is that, if you don’t track down in-ear headphones that fit your ears (more on that in a minute!), you might find that they fall out all the time during your workouts. You’ll spend more time putting your headphones back into your ears than you will running or lifting weights.

The over-ear vs. in-ear headphone debate is one that’s been going on for a long time now. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which side of the fence you fall on based on your own personal preferences.

Find the Correct Fit

Regardless of whether you decide to go with over-ear headphones or in-ear headphones, you’ll want to spend time looking around for headphones that fit your ears.

If you’re choosing to go with over-ear headphones, you’ll find headphones that only cover a portion of your ears as well as headphones that seem to swallow your ears up when they’re on your head. It’s a good idea to try several different sizes on to see which over-ear headphones fit best.

It’s also a good idea to purchase over-ear headphones that have an adjustable band on top. This will allow you to customize the size to fit your head. You can also adjust the band as needed if you happen to wear a hat or something else on your head to the gym.

While finding the right fit is a pretty straightforward process with over-ear headphones, it can be tricker with in-ear ones. And the last thing you want to do is buy in-ear headphones that continue to slip out while you’re at the gym.

Most in-ear headphones come packaged with a series of earbuds that you can swap in and out based on the size of your ears. Some in-ear headphones also have tiny hooks and other contraptions designed to stop them from falling out of your ears.

These things should stop in-ear headphones from popping out of your ears. But you should pay close attention to how you’ll be able to adjust the headphones if you find that they don’t fit when you first put them in.

Look at How Durable Headphones Are

When people purchase headphones to listen to music at home or during their commute to work, they don’t need to worry too much about durability. They aren’t going to put their headphones through the wringer very often.

But when you use headphones at the gym, there is always a chance that they might get put to the test in a physical sense. You might drop your headphones or rub them up against weights when you’re in the middle of a grueling set.

Therefore, it’s good to keep durability in mind while shopping around for the right workout headphones. Try to find headphones that are made using heavy-duty materials like titanium, carbon fiber, and aluminum.

If you go with basic plastic headphones, they could very well crack on you the first time they accidentally fall to the floor. This could force you to replace your headphones way sooner than you may have expected to.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Going Wireless

Are you OK with using workout headphones that have a cord that needs to be plugged into your smartphone or MP3 player? Or would you prefer a pair of wireless headphones that can be connected to your smartphone or MP3 player using Bluetooth?

There are lots of pros and cons that go along with going wireless when choosing headphones.

Some pros include:

  • You won’t have to worry about the cord from your headphones getting tangled up while you’re working out
  • You won’t ever pull your headphones out of your ears in the middle of a workout
  • You won’t miss out on the chance to listen to music at the gym because of a faulty headphone jack

Some cons include:

  • You won’t always get the same sound quality from wireless headphones that you will from corded ones
  • You won’t be able to listen to music at the gym using wireless headphones if you forget to charge them ahead of time
  • You won’t get the chance to access your workout playlist if you can’t connect your wireless headphones to your smartphone or MP3 player for some reason

There are people who swear by wireless headphones and can’t work out at the gym without them. There are others who prefer plugging their headphones in and knowing they’ll work every time.

Weigh the pros and cons of wireless headphones for yourself to see if they would be a good fit for you or not.

See How Headphones Handle Sweat

Did you know that the average person can produce almost 1.5 liters of sweat while working out for just 1 hour? To put that into perspective, that’s enough sweat to fill not one but two large Slurpee cups!

While you’re trying to find the best workout headphones, keep all that sweat in mind. Your headphones are going to be subjected to at least a little bit of sweat when you wear them to work out, and they need to be able to handle it.

Fortunately, many manufacturers have gone out of their way to waterproof their headphones. This will prevent your sweat from taking a toll on your headphones when you’re pushing yourself through a tough workout.

This will also prevent your headphones from dying on you if you ever find yourself working out in the rain. Most headphones can survive a rainstorm with no problem.

But even if you find headphones that are waterproof, there are certain parts on them that could still start to wear down if they’re covered in sweat or rain on a regular basis. The band or the padding on over-ear headphones, for example, could show signs of wear even if your headphones continue to work just fine.

Consider the Importance of Noise Canceling

Do you like to try and get yourself “in the zone” from the moment you set foot in the gym?

Many people will go out of their way to eliminate any distractions that might be around them. They feel as though it makes their workouts better and prevents them from giving anything less than their maximum effort.

If you fall into this category, you may want to consider finding headphones with noise canceling included. Noise canceling is a feature that will give you an opportunity to reduce and even eliminate any noise in your general area. It’ll also help you avoid having to turn your volume way up to hear your music.

You can find noise-canceling features in both over-ear and in-ear headphones. But in general, noise canceling tends to work better with in-ear headphones than over-ear ones. Most in-ear headphones form a tight seal in your ear that stops outside noises from ruining your listening experience.

Check Out Frequency Range

There are some people who don’t care a whole lot about sound quality, especially when it comes to listening to music at the gym. They don’t need to hear every individual note in a song to appreciate it and gain motivation from it.

But there are others who want their headphones to deliver a superior listening experience to them at the gym. These people need to be mindful of the frequency range of their headphones.

When headphones provide you with a wider frequency range, it means you’ll be capable of hearing so much more when you have your music on. Frequency ranges vary from one pair of headphones to the next. But a large range like 10 Hz to 25,000 Hz is often recommended for music lovers.

Your ears might not be as critical as they usually are when you’re listening to music at the gym. But that doesn’t mean you should discount frequency range and not include it in your decision-making process when shopping for workout headphones.

Try visiting a store that allows you to test out headphones so that you can see what a difference a large frequency range can make. It’ll give you a better idea of just how important it can be in the grand scheme of things.

Contemplate If You’ll Be Taking Phone Calls

When you’re putting in work in the gym, you’re not going to be fielding too many phone calls.

But in the event that you do plan on using your headphones to take calls every now and then, you should make sure the ones you buy are capable of doing it. Most headphones today can help you make and receive calls, but not all of them excel at it.

Keep Cost in Mind

How much are you willing to spend on a pair of headphones?

A word to wise: Ask yourself that question—and come up with a good answer for it—beforeyou start your search for new headphones. Otherwise, you’re liable to overspend on headphones once you see what’s out there.

There are some so-called workout headphones that you can buy for just $10 or $20. But you should be wary of buying headphones that are that cheap because they won’t deliver the sound quality you want. There’s also a decent chance they’ll start falling apart on you almost as soon as you plug them in.

At the same time, there are also headphones that can cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. And many of them are way more advanced than what you need to listen to music at the gym. You’ll end up breaking the bank for headphones with features that you won’t ever use.

The best headphones for working out sit somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. They sound great, hold up well over time, and don’t cost a fortune to buy. You can find incredible headphones for somewhere between $50 and $200 and be more than happy with them.

Ask Your Fellow Workout Warriors for Help

If you’re a regular at your gym, you come across people wearing workout headphones all the time. Use that to your advantage by asking your fellow workout warriors what they think about the headphones they use.

Ask questions like:

  • “How do your headphones feel when you put them on?”
  • “Do your headphones sound good?”
  • “Have you ever experienced any issues with your headphones?”
  • “Are there any features you wish your headphones had?”
  • “How long have your headphones lasted?”
  • “Would you buy the same headphones you use now again?”

If you have a decent relationship with the person you’re talking to, you might even want to consider asking them if they would mind you trying their headphones on. This will provide you with a chance to see if you like a pair of headphones before buying them.

Which Workout Headphones Are Right for You?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you first start looking around for the best workout headphones. There are so many options that it can be hard to narrow down your search to just one pair of headphones.

But you shouldn’t let that stop you from trying to track down the right headphones. Whether you’re chasing after the best headphones for running or the best cheap headphones for lifting, you can find something you love.

By investing in new headphones, you can see the benefits of working out with music first-hand. You can also provide yourself with a little pick-me-up when you’re lacking motivation at the gym and keep your energy levels high.

Check out our blog to get advice about which in-ear headphones might be best for your workouts moving forward. You can see some of the different types of in-ear headphones and learn what makes each of them so special.

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