Long Hair? DO Care!
Written by Kaitlyn Kassis
There are a lot of factors that come into play when strategizing how to best attack a workout – pacing, rep schemes, transitions, etc. Is it a heavy workout with a lot of squats that you want to wearing lifting shoes and knee sleeves for? Are you going overhead and maybe want a pair of wrist wraps for extra support? Depending on the workout, you may even have a preference as to whether you wear shorts or tights (rope climbs in booty shorts are a big no-go).
The point is, you have a lot to consider when deciding what will best set you up for success in any particular workout. Even something as simple as how you style your hair can have a significant impact on your workout time and score.
For those of us with long locks, we have most likely experienced the frustration of messing up on double-unders because a bit too perky of a pony-tail hit the rope. Or maybe you’ve experienced catching a snatch, but missed the lift because your hair whipped you in the eyeball with such ferocity that you thought you might actually go blind. And don’t even get me started on having a top-knot bun get in the way when trying to lower yourself down for a handstand push-up…
Fear not, I am here to help you steer clear of workout hair faux-paus with a few of the most common gym hair-dos and some suggestions as to when it is best to style your luscious locks in these particular ways.
1. High Pony
There is something so powerful about tightening up a perky ponytail on top of your head as you get ready to smash a workout. The high ponytail is my favorite hairstyle to wear for longer conditioning workouts. It’s a great way to get your hair out of your face, and off of your neck to keep you distraction-free through longer metcons. I prefer the high pony to the high bun for longer conditioning workouts to avoid the bobbling bun that is notorious for falling out on runs, box jumps, and burpees.
2. Low Pony
More times than not, when handstand push-ups show up in a workout I will kick up for my first rep only to lower down and have my hair tie way too uncomfortably high on my head. Though this may play into some strategy to shorten that ROM, it is usually more uncomfortable than its worth to shave off that extra inch. I’d rather just be able to lower my head all the way down to the mat, and I find that the low pony is the easiest way to stay comfortable when going inverted. It is also far less high maintenance than a braid, so if the #hspuhair completely destroys your ‘do’, it can be fixed much more quickly.
As a CrossFit coach and athlete for the last 7 years, I have occasionally witnessed some pretty horrifying things. Hands-down the most terrifying was when I witnessed a teammate go for a 1RM back squat, fail the rep, and have her long pony get wrapped around the bar as she tried to bail. Lets just say the bar took her for a ride that I wish for no one else to ever experience. This is your PSA to wear your hair in a bun when doing heavy squats. Also, having your hair whip you in the face when Olympic lifting can be super distracting. It’s already hard enough to stand up a heavy clean without also simultaneously choking on a chunk of your own hair!
Arguably the movement that required the most thought behind how you choose to style your hair is the double-under. Nine times out of 10, a bun will flop out after a few jumps and a high pony will sabotage your sets. The most foolproof way to tame your locks for jumping rope is with a braid. One braid, two braid, french braid, dutch braid…any kind of tight and secured to your head plait will help out heaps especially when jumping up and down for hundreds of reps. Nothing is more of an unnecessary time-waster than having to re-do your hair in the middle of a workout because it keeps falling out. Don’t be that person! This is also a great style for bench press day or anything else where you are laying on your back and don’t want the ponytail nub to press into the back of your head.
5. Shave it Off
If having to think about how to style your hair for different movements is one thing you’d just rather not deal with, I have one final hairstyle that works universally flawless for every single workout…
Shave it off.