Hitting the gym is great for your body, no doubt. But tossing your locks up in a ponytail before working out? It’s absolutely awful for your hair.
In fact, your trusted pony can cause everything from mid-strand breakage to bald patches–especially around your hairline. So, what’s a health-conscious gal to do?
Don’t fret–we’ve rounded up our favorite workout-specific gym hairstyles that prevent breakage without slowing you down.
If You Sweat It Out in Spin Class or High-Intensity Cardio?
If you’re used to wearing a ponytail to any gym activity that involves pedaling away the pounds or pushing your body to its limits with another style of a super-active training session, your hair is likely taking a beating.
Of course, since your workouts are super fierce, you’re going to need a hairstyle that can keep up while keeping strands from sticking to your face.
Our pick is the quick and easy tiered ponytail–the same one you probably rocked in elementary school. This gym hairstyle not only prevents breakage, but it’s super-easy to sweep your strands into place.
To create a tiered ponytail, just grab three or four hair ties. Next, secure your hair in a half-up-half-down style in between your forehead and your crown. Gather another segment from each side to create the second tier. Repeat until all your locks are secure down to the nape of your neck, with any extra length hanging in a low pony. (Pro-tip: This style is also superb if you have unwieldy layers!)
But wait, what’s the diff between a tiered pony and your go-to ponytail that we’ve just suggested you avoid?
It comes down to weight distribution–which is especially important if you have thick tresses.
Even something as low-impact as spin class involves frequent up and down movements. And, since a traditional ponytail is supported by the hair that’s pulled back from your forehead, those jarring bursts of bouncing as you push through can cause the elastic holding a traditional ponytail to tear your hair out at the roots.
That tiered ponytail, on the other hand, distributes the weight of your hair throughout several points–giving the baby strands at your hairline a break.
If Your Gym Time Consists of Lifting, CrossFit, or Other Low-Impact Activities
When you’re gym goals are focused on lifting, compound exercises, or CrossFit, you’re likely pulling your traditional ponytail high and tight to keep it out of the way. Unfortunately, that kind of stress isn’t great for your strands and can lead to mid-length breakage–as well as inflammation of the hair’s follicle, if your pony is pulled too tight.
Our pick for a gym hairstyle that will prevent breakage (instead of cause it)? If you lift (brah), we suggest parting your locks into low pigtails, then winding the lengths into buns.
This style is especially convenient when it’s time to bench–no more top-sitting ponytail to distract you from beating last week’s personal best.
If Your Workout is More Stretch Than Sweat?
Even if you’re not forcing your hair to endure sprinting sessions or being squashed under your back while lifting weights, traditional ponytails are still pretty darn stressful–and can create unwanted stretch in sweat-soaked strands.
In short, even if your workout routine is a few sun salutations in between cups of coffee, try to keep your style loose and easy–for your hair’s sake.
Bottom line: Ditching the traditional ponytail during workouts won’t make a difference in your overall health. But it can cut down on flyaways caused by breakage and, in turn, your morning styling time.