If you’ve ever typed ‘best headphones for gym bodybuilding’ into Google, then you’ve probably faced a wall of search results relating to earphones and earbuds.
This post, however, is concerned with headphones that are either on-ear or over-ear: we mean working out with BIG headphones.
We're not affiliated with any of the manufacturers listed below nor will we receive any incentive by mentioning them in this list.
Bodybuilding with headphones isn’t often a popular choice on internet forum discussion boards. Earphones are usually more popular because of their portability and affordability. It’s assumed that in-earphones will last longer, too. Until relatively recently, sweatproof over ear headphones were usually quite ugly, expensive and uncomfortable, and so it’s clear why many bodybuilders aren’t used to wearing them.
Our biggest concern with earphones is that they’re rarely a comfortable fit. Adjusting them is a distraction that few of us can afford if we’re aiming to maintain our focus and form. Sound quality has been another issue, too, although, it’s been improved considerably in recent years.
But for us, there’s nothing quite like slipping a pair of cans over your ears and punching up the sound. And if you’ve spent a few hundred pounds or dollars on a premium brand of headphone, then you should be able to enjoy them in all areas of your life including in the gym.
Critics will say that sweat kills headphones.
It’s why we recommend adding a pair of sweat-proof covers to headphone cushions before you begin exercising. It’ll keep moisture off the leather and stop your sweat from seeping inside and damaging the internal electronics. It’ll keep the cushions smelling fresh, too.
The choices below are what we consider to be good wireless headphones for weightlifting. Although, of course, with sweat-resistant covers, you can make any headphone suitable for the gym.
If you were curating your own list, your top-5 might look very different. The best headphone for gym bodybuilding will be the best one for you. As always, do your research and - where possible - roadtest a few pairs to see which brands work for you and which don’t.
If you’re planning on spending some serious cash on a pair of cans for the gym, then don’t only focus on your workout. Some of these headphones offer superb additional features that will benefit you beyond the bench and on the beach, on planes, trains, in foreign countries, walking the streets and even (dare we say it!?) during cardio.
5 Headphones for Bodybuilding in the Gym
The UA Sports Wireless Train Headphones Project Rock Edition was designed specifically for the gym by semi-retired wrestler and action movie star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. These are the only pair of cans on the list that won’t require sweat-proof covers as they come with replaceable breathable air cushions.
These headphones are almost entirely pitched at the bodybuilding market.
The headband is anti-slip and features the Rock’s trademark Brahma Bull logo with the brand’s calling card phrase: Blood. Sweat. Respect. If you’re in the gym with a training partner, there’s a handy talk-thru function that allows you to lower the volume quickly and without taking the headphones off to have a conversation.
Running late to the gym? There’s a speed-charge function giving the battery enough juice for an hour of playback off a 5-minute charge.
Sound quality is reasonable and big on bass. With fold-down cups, they’re easy to transport between your home, your car and the gym.
The problem is that these are very gym-specific. They’re probably not the headphones you’d buy to use regularly outside your workout and with a $249 price tag, it makes them something of a niche purchase.
The sound quality is good but not superb.
There’s no noise-cancelling technology either, and there have been reviews suggesting the cups are too small and too tight to train properly in. The speed-charge is a nice bonus, sure, but if you compare it to Beats, for example, offering 3 hours of playback off a 5-minute charge, then you can see these are lagging some way behind.
That being said, if you want a rugged, solid pair of bodybuilding headphones that were designed and developed entirely with weightlifting in mind then you can do far worse than these.
Wearing Beats to the gym hasn’t always gone down well on Bodybuilding forums. There are still a few macho-types who think working out should be all spit, sawdust and Rocky Balboa. The truth is that we’re all free to wear whatever we like when we work out - Beats included.
One of the biggest draws has to be the battery life: 40-hours of playback thanks to Apple’s W1 chip with a fast-fuel function offering a 3-hour charge in just 5-minutes.
The rubber band will keep the cans steady against your head as you workout without feeling too tight.
The cups fold right down giving them excellent portability and these come in a carry case.
You can talk to Siri, answer calls and ‘control your music’ via the on-ear controls making it ideal for when you’ve got your hands full.
There’s no active noise-cancellation offered here but there’ll be a certain amount of noise-isolation which you may prefer. This allows the ambient sounds in the gym to bleed through and is considered - by some people - to be a safer way to workout. Having said that with a price point of £249.95 and $299.99 respectively, it’s a shame that it doesn’t feature active noise-cancellation.
Beats has never had the best reputation for sound quality, either, but unless you’re an audiophile or you pay attention to sound closely, then you’re probably not going to notice. That being said, there are headphones that are cheaper and that do have superb sound quality: Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT retails at £179.99 or $199 and is a very solid gym headphone.
Bose headphones might not be your first thought when considering the best headphones for weightlifting. Bose has been an industry leader for noise-cancellation for decades and it’s easier to imagine wearing them on long-haul flights or for an easy-listening Sunday afternoon than during a deadlift but these are superb headphones for the gym so long as you make your Bose QC 35’s sweatproof with headphone covers.
One of the big draws of these headphones is how comfortable they are. They’re designed to be worn for extended periods of time. Bose explains on the website that the QC 35 headband is “wrapped in Alcantara®—the soft covering material used in yachts and high-end automobiles”. So even when you’re going hard on your body, the headphones are a soft touch against your ears and head.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless headphones are compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa and can be accessed by touching the earcup.
Battery life is good with 20-hours of playback wireless of 40-hours wired.
Obviously, the biggest reason to buy these headphones is the active noise-cancelling technology. By constantly monitoring ambient noise levels, the microphones inside the headphone counteract incoming soundwaves by intercepting it with their own.
At £329.99 and $349.95, these aren’t cheap BUT they come with a boatload of tech and will complement your life outside the gym as much as in it.
Traditionally, Skullcandy has always been very heavy on the bass. It’s fair to say that the brand has never really impressed audiophiles with its sound quality, but the Hesh 3, released in October 2017, has impressed many reviewers with not only a solid improvement on sound quality but on design, too.
One of the reasons that we included the Skullcandy Hesh 3 in this list is its retail price of £89.99 and $89.79, making them an affordable pair of wireless headphones for anyone who isn’t an audiophile but who is after a pair of robust wireless cans.
It’s good to see that they offer 90-minutes of playback off a 5-minute charge.
There’s 22-hours of battery if you’re prepared to charge it fully.
There have been reports that the headband can be a little tight but this could be a blessing for bodybuilders who need a close fit.
These are definitely Skullcandy’s most reserved design to date: black matte plastic as opposed to the more vibrant colours in the past.
Skullcandy hasn’t exactly shied away from the bass with these and if a real thumping helps you lift during a workout then these are surely ideal.
'These are the ‘best noise-cancelling headphones we’ve seen’, according to the TrustedReviews website, and it’s hard to disagree.
There’s been a raft of 5* reviews heralding Sony as the new king of noise-cancelling technology. These make superb gym headphones although, obviously, you still need to add sweat-proof headphone covers.
Sony has improved its previous model to provide a better fit around the head and there’s more padding, too. These are suitable for long workouts.
Sony’s Sense Engine technology will block up to 90% of ambient sound making it ideal if you’re working out in a busy commercial gym. What’s great, too, is that you can utilise the noise-cancellation even when you’re not listening to anything. We think this is a superb idea for when you need to focus without listening to music.
Quick attention mode will quickly reduce the volume level if you lift up or remove the headphone, making it easier to talk to people.
These also benefit from Google Assistant including the real-time translation function - what’s do you lift bro? In Mandarin?
Battery life is around 30 hours and thankfully there’s a quick-charge function: a very impressive 5 hours or playback from a 10-minute charge via the USB-C port.
The best headphones for gym bodybuilding are the ones you feel comfortable in. Our personal favourite from this last absolutely has to be the Sony WH1000XM3 for its excellent noise-cancellation, combined with superb audio quality, sleek design and battery life which make it ideal for ALL walks of life and not just what we do in the gym.
Make your headphones gym-ready with EARHUGZ. EarHugz are sweat-proof headphone covers designed to stop moisture killing your cans. They come in a range of awesome designs and can be fully reversed to black.
What Do You Think?
When you’re working out with big headphones what do you choose? In your opinion what’s the best headphone for lifting? Or do you prefer earphones - we’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below.