Music has the power to facilitate my training and help me flow unlike anything else and it has been quite the journey finding a solution for how to listen to music without running into issues.
My training includes strength training, skills and flow arts such as slacklining, traveling rings, still rings, yoga, hooping, handstands and beyond… and with all this dynamic activity, I’ve always had an issue with:
- The headphones flying out of my ears,
- The wires of the headphone interfering with the apparatus, and
- The phone needing to be secured in my shorts/pants so it doesn’t fly out.
In this blog post we explore some of the different setups I’ve found to be useful and their pros and cons to each.
Cheapest Solution: Wired Headphones + Shirt + Hat
The cheapest solution is to keep the phone (or mp3 player) in your pocket, wear wired headphones and run the wire under a shirt and wear a hat/beanie/bandana that covers the ears to prevent them from flying out.
Even if you have some great headphones with over-the-ear-hooks or in-ear-hooks, they are going to fall out probably. The way they DEFINITELY won’t fall out is if you wear a hat that covers your ears such as a beanie or a lot of people wrap a bandana around their head and that works the same way. In the cooler months, I wear a beanie to cover my head and ears and it provides good sun protection for my balding head and ears as well, but it’s not practical to wear a beanie in the hottest months. The other problem is that wired headphones require me to wear a shirt which is annoying on a hot summer day. (Without a shirt, the wire will tend to get caught when I’m on top of a bar or the chain/straps of the rings, or interfere with the hoop, and so forth.)
Solution Rating: 6/10
Bluetooth Headphones as an upgrade to Wired Headphones
Bluetooth headphones provide the benefit of getting rid of the wire. The biggest drawback is that you need to charge them. There is also a massive range in quality for these headphones. Some have the controls within the wire that connects the headphones that hang sideways and I absolutely cannot stand those because the imbalance is really annoying and promotes the yanking of one headphone out of the ear. I much more enjoy the bluetooth headphones that don’t have any controls within the wire itself and both ears look the same and are practically the same weight.
If you go to an outlet-department store (like TJ-Maxx, Ross, Marshalls), you could get bluetooth headphones nowadays for $12-16 but they are absolutely garbage in quality in multiple ways. They look like they’ve copied other legit manufacturers but functionally, it’s almost like as if the headphones have never been tested on actual people because their quality and ergonomics suck so bad. Don’t waste your money on those.
I’ve been pleased with these Senso headphones on Amazon that turned my ears because it had 12,000 positive reviews and almost no bad reviews. So I ordered them and they are indeed very good. Great sound quality, no music cutting off, great battery life. They may fall out of my ears if I don’t wear a beanie or bandana but the over-the-ear-hooks are better than no hooks. (Jaybirds are over-priced an over-rated btw, I used to own a pair.)
Neckband-style Bluetooth Headphones vs Regular Bluetooth Headphones
The biggest benefit of these headphones that have a rigid plastic piece that wraps around behind your neck is that due to their rigid connection between the headphones, they won’t fly out of your ears, so you don’t need a hat/beanie/bandana to secure it. I don’t have any suggestions for which one is a good product because I haven’t tried them but here’s an Amazon listing of all of them. (I used to have a Nokia BH 505 model, but that’s been discontinued long ago.)
The biggest drawback to these headphones was that if I lay supine (on your back) and go into a yoga-style-shoulderstand, or perform a dragon flag, because my neck would be close to the ground, the neckband would be utterly crushed and I would have to remove them, killing my music and flow.
Another alternative would be the neck-band style headphones that have a built-in-mp3-player or incorporate an ipod shuffle/nano. That might be an even more minimal option, which is nice because then you don’t even need your phone with you taking up your pockets. But if you want to take a video with your phone, you could continue listening to music uninterrupted because the music isn’t coming from your phone. Unfortunately, this style still has the issue of your head/neck crushing the device if you ever lay supine.
Okay you have headphones, but where to secure the phone though?!
Shorts/Pants with a zippered pocket. Like I said before, a zippered pocket is nice so that the phone doesn’t accidentally slide out just because you wanted to just hang upside down from your knees from the parallel bars on a whim. (If you got important things like keys, the zippered pocket is crucial then too.)
Use an Arm-Band!!! This was my most recent discovery and the impetus for creating this blog post in the first place. Why? Because then I don’t need shorts/pants with good pockets and for me, the ultimate freedom is working out while wearing short-shorts (like square-cut swim shorts) OR wearing leggings. BUT THESE THINGS DONT HAVE POCKETS. So the only option I’ve found that works for me is to put the phone in an armband and this has proven to be the BEST solution! If I need to take the phone out of the armband to take a video of something, it’s very easy to do it. (Putting it back in takes a moment longer though.)
My personal favorite is an Arm-Band + Bluetooth headphones
As you saw coming from the above, an arm-band in combination with bluetooth headphones that have the hooks that go over the ears is what I’ve found so far to be the best. It costs less than $50 for this solution, so it’s not even very expensive! This allows me the freedom to wear as little as possible, including shorts or leggings that don’t have pockets, yet I still get to listen to my music. My biceps are not limited whatsoever and even when doing bicep curls with the armband on, I don’t feel it bothering me ever.
Anyway, hope that helps! What are some of the favorite ways YOU listen to music?
Update: The biggest benefit I’ve found is that to using an armband to carry my phone is that, when I’m at the beach, my backpack full of exercise equipment could be far away from me, but I’m not worried if someone steals that bag, because my phone is always on me. This is actually huge and provides a lot of peace of mind because the phone is arguably the most valuable and useful device that I own. So anyway, just wanted to let you know!