Workout Gear - Music

Sennheiser PMX 70sThis is the fourth part [see parts 1,2 and 3] of this month's collaboration with Run to Win's Blaine Moore on workout audio; looking at just a few of the options available for listening to music whilst working out.

Whether you're lifting weights, dragging a sled or simply going for a run; working out in silence just doesn't seem right. Here's a look at some of the gear that will help you avoid those peaceful times.

Sport or in-ear headphones

When you're moving around the last thing you want to think about is constantly readjusting your headphones. There are a few varieties of earbuds on the market that are designed for sports or workout use; snug fitting, water resistant and tough enough to take a bit of abuse.

I tend to use the earbuds that came with the iPod, but I've been gazing longly at the Sennheiser PMX 70s. Very nice.

Rave headband

A little over a year ago I tested out the a Rave headband mp3 player (the Rave19, a 256mb model). Since then there have been many improvements in sporting headphone technology (including the storage capacity, which almost seems laughable now) which have nearly rendered this obsolete. In my case, the Rave headband sits quietly in the corner whilst an iPod Shuffle gets all of the attention during workouts. Larger capacity, better sound. Case closed.

I am, however, interested to hear from anyone who's tried the later models of these headbands. The idea itself is fine.


I can remember the first time I saw someone out running whilst carrying a Walkman in one hand. My first thought was 'Why don't you put that thing in your pocket?', and as mp3 players took over the role I found myself asking the same question.

An armband fulfils that role nicely. Not only does it give you somewhere to put your mp3 player / mobile phone whilst out running / working out, it provides basic controls (or gives you easy access to the player's own) allowing you to switch between songs and adjust the volume. Very nice.

Nike shoes

I'm yet to be convinced by this one. The underlying idea is good - moving the music source to a private, unobtrusive location - but it does have 'Nike marketing exercise' written all over it. Once the technology is used by a few other vendors I may be a little more enthusiastic.

Mp3 player

As I mentioned above, I use an iPod Shuffle for my workout music. This isn't due to any great benefits of this particular player; I just happen to have one.

Its role is simple. A playlist of appropriate, aggressive music is copied onto it prior to working out (I don't leave it on there as its a bit of a shock to hear Motörhead in between two TWiT podcasts) and the player put into random mode.

If I'm doing exercises which have the bar at or below waist height (most rowing, shrugs, pulls etc), then I wear the Shuffle. The player itself hangs from its lanyard at about chest height (it's a 1st gen, so there's no clip).

If the bar is going to be above waist height, I plug the player into a stereo and fill the house with noise. Good fun.

Incidentally, if you haven't tried hooking your mp3 player up to a hi-fi, there really isn't much to it. Although there are a few dedicated connectors on the market, these are incredibly expensive (the first one I looked at was £80). All you need, however, is a cable which has two RCA plugs on one end (for the line-out on your amp) and a 3.5mm / 1/8" plug on the other (for the headphone jack of the mp3 player). That's it - you're now looking at only a few dollars.

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Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 35) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

Find out what he's up to via Twitter, Google+, Facebook; and of course his online home. Enjoy.

Like this? Check out :

Looking At : Sep 20, 2015.

During the past week we've discussed a number of great links; on Google+, Twitter, the Daily 'Paper' and so on. Here are a few of my favourites.


The comforts of lifting at home.

Setting Up A Home Gym.

Ready to get started? Great.


See it first.

Personalised Settings in the Gym.

Just the way you like it.

A Commercial Gym in 2020.

Training in 5 years' time.

Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar, or if you'd like to join the team of Moderators here (I love hearing about everyone's training approaches) - get in touch. And if you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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