[FITNESS BLOG] What are the best headphones for the gym?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

I work out about five or six times a week and I love listening to music while hitting the gym. Other people have told me they like listening to podcasts and others yet like to work out without any audio entertainment.

But if you fall into the first two categories, chances are that you’ll need headphones to enjoy the specific music or specific podcast that you want to listen to.

Some gyms now actually have apps that allow you to pick the music that’s playing on the loudspeakers but honestly I found that too much work and sometimes that music isn’t playing at a volume loud enough anyways. ? 

Back in the 1990s, when I was playing football at the University of Iowa we actually had a CD rotator attached to the speakers in the weight room and we would rotate CDs. So that was kind of a compromise. Headphones were not an option at that time because you did have to talk to each other while you were completing your workout.

Flashback photo:
Christoph Trappe former Iowa Hawkeye

Choosing, buying and keeping headphones for the gym has really been a tricky endeavor for me. I’ve used many different kinds over the years and the wear and tear can be quite cumbersome. They break, they get damaged or they’re just worn out much quicker than if they were only used in other situations.

So what are my favorite headphones for the gym?

I would love to say that Bluetooth headphones are my favorite ones to use at the gym. Here’s an example:

Bluetooth headphones
They have advantages over headphones that have cords. The biggest one probably is that you don’t have to mess with the cord. That makes lifting and also cardio exercises much easier.

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The biggest disadvantage is that they’re constantly running out of juice. Take this picture as an example. I had not charged them for around 24 hours and used the once for about 60 minutes and I already could not use them again. They actually ran out of juice seconds after I took that picture.

And while distributors for Bluetooth headphones tell me that the 24-hour time period on standby is pretty standard, as a consumer I think it’s just not long enough. I know their answer because I once left a review stating  my displeasure with this on Amazon. The distributor actually emailed me and explained that to me. So A+ for online reputation management for sure. Their response was super timely as well.

I have used a number of other Bluetooth headphones over the years as well. All of them ended up breaking or the battery life just wasn’t what it needed to be.

So I usually end up going back to iPhone headphones-the ones with the cord, not the new ones that Apple decided to roll out  for the iPhone 7. Those don’t have cables as you might be aware and are indeed Bluetooth headphones. In fact, when I needed a new iPhone I got an iPhone 6S again versus an iPhone 7 purely to not have to use Bluetooth headphones.

Apple iPhone headphones for the gymNon-Bluetooth Apple headphones are relatively cheap to replace when they break. The sound is great and they don’t run out of juice. And they allow me to take phone calls when somebody ends up calling me while working out – which is quite frankly rare but does happen. Some Bluetooth headphones allow the same feature, just for the record here.


I really want a Bluetooth set of headphones that works and that I can use for a longer period of time. I really want to make that work, but it just hasn’t happened. So mostly for that reason alone and given that iPhone headphones work relatively well, I will stick with them for the most part and would highly recommend iPhone headphones for gym use. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – iPhone headphones 

⭐️⭐️ – many Bluetooth headphones