You’re jumping rope, connecting those double-unders like a boss. But with each swing of the rope and hop from the ground, you feel your ponytail falling lower and lower down your neck.
For women with long hair, this feeling is all too familiar. It’s the most recurring gym fail in the books.
“During a workout or competition, the most important thing about my hairdo is that it stays locked in place no matter what movement I’m doing,” says two-time Reebok CrossFit Games Champion Katrin Davidsdottir, who attests that even elite athletes relate to this struggle.
“You never want your hair to start falling in your face or become a distraction from the main goal. You’ve worked too hard for that to happen.”
Davidsdottir and her fellow Icelandic-native, elite powerlifter Anna Arnadottir, worked with Boston-based hairstylist Dianna Quagenti to put together hairstyles specifically designed and tested to hold up against the toughest gym movements.
1. Double-unders: bubble ponytail
There are few movements that cause women more headaches or messy buns than double unders. To combat this, opt for a lower ponytail – less room for the hair to fall – and ensure that every strand of hair is held in place individually. Creating bubbles of hair does just that.
Do it Yourself: Start with a small section at the front center of the head and secure into a pony with an elastic. Tug forward on the hair a bit to loosen it and create the first "bubble." Repeat this going down the head, tying each previous pony tail into the next. Focus the tugging on the outer edges to create the bubble while keeping the ponies intact. Continue this process until you reach the end of the hair.
2. Back squats: braided buns
When back squatting, the bar rests on the upper back against the back of the shoulders. For women with long hair, this means immediately resorting to a high bun hairstyle. For those looking to have a little more fun with their hair, try two buns instead!
Do it Yourself: Part the hair down the middle and secure into two ponytails high on the head. Split each ponytail into two separate sections. Braid each section and secure with elastics. Wrap the braids around the base of the ponytail in opposite directions and secure with bobby pins if needed.
3. Handstand pushups: French braid ponytail
Handstand pushups can quickly turn a fresh hairstyle into a total flop. With each rep of the movement, the crown of the head touches the ground, leaving hair tousled, frizzy and full of static. The best way to avoid that is to French braid your hair at the crown, as the braid will make it more difficult for the hair to move out of place.
Do it Yourself: Start a French braid in the center of the head, close to the forehead. When braiding, keep your hands elevated a bit from the head to create height in the braid. Stop the braid at the crown of the head and secure with an elastic. Expand the braid by pulling it apart. Pull the rest of the hair up into a high pony, joined with the braid.
4. Kettlebell swings: sleek fishtail ponytail
Kettlebell swings are all about moving a weighted kettlebell up and down, and just as that kettlebell moves, so does your hair. Watch a women perform a set of swings and it’s hard to ignore her ponytail flying back and forth with each rep. This is why it’s so crucial that the type of ponytail you opt for is sleek and slicked back. And that’s where the fishtail comes in.
Do it Yourself: Smooth and gather all the hair into a high pony and secure with a non-slip hair tie. Take a piece of hair from the underside of the pony, wrap it tightly around the hair tie and secure with a bobby pin. Fishtail braid the pony and secure with an elastic.