Earbud Headphones

Are Earbud Headphones Dangerous to Use While at the Gym?

With my first day back into action at the gym ending prematurely due to my failure to bring a water bottle, my second gym workout would also end sooner than anticipated due to a pre-operational error involving my new earbud headphones.

Regular earbud headphones hurt my ears so I bought a pair of earbud headphones that fit in the ear canal. I got the earbuds the day of my second gym workout. I’ve never tried the in-ear earbuds before but liked the comfort of their fit, and the noise isolation of these earbuds is a great bonus added to my workout. Unfortunately, I was unaware that there is an adaptation period to using these in-ear earbuds, during which the user may experience vertigo. The combination of running on a gym treadmill and vertigo do not go well together.

When arriving at the gym, I was quick to start my workout on the treadmill because I was eager to try out my new earbud headphones, and the only reason I bring an MP3 player to the gym is for my boring nemesis, the treadmill. I got on and off the treadmill within 2 minutes, took a lap around the gym, and returned. I then increased the intensity of my workout by increasing the incline level to its maximum setting of 15 and walking at a pace of 3 miles per hour for a mile. Adapting to the earbud headphones while moving made me dizzy during my uphill workout but since I was holding onto the hand bar, I was in no danger of falling down.

The dizziness from the earbud headphones lead to nausea, and with my personal method of not forcing my workouts I felt no pressure to stay and fight through the illness. This freedom allowed me to feel comfortable knowing I could leave at any time. This way of thinking allows me to want to workout without feeling like a slave to a checklist. Instead of thinking of excuses to justify deviating from the plan I was thinking, “I’d really like to get more done while I’m here.” I decided to press on to the weights to see how I felt.


To start off, I removed the earbud headphones from my ears and preformed some tricep pull downs. My triceps are not as rusty as my other muscles so I just about took the entire stack of weights (300 lbs), which always makes me feel like Superman. In reality, I know I wasn’t lifting anywhere near 300 lbs as the leverage created from the weight machine’s mechanism was bearing some of the brunt of the load.

I easily preformed 12 reps. I did not push it any further because my body hasn’t performed this act in a while, and it’s important for your body to know how to properly work to perform a task. Your muscles, tendons, and ligaments are susceptible to injury when you do more than you are ready for.

I then moved over to the dumb bells, grabbed the 20 lb weights, and preformed bicep curls. I kept it easy and focused on performing a concentrated movement. From there I grabbed some 15 lb weights and performed one set of shoulder raises. I felt a slight twinge in my shoulder, so I immediately stopped and started to stretch. To help myself stretch, I jumped up on the pull up bar to hang stretched out.

This seemed to do the trick so I performed one more set of shoulder lifts and finished without a problem. This was important because I planned on performing bench presses next, an exercise that is primarily for the chest but incorporates the shoulders.

The bench press is a tough exercise that uses different muscles during unfamiliar parts of the movement, so I decided not to load any weight on the bar so I could simply focus on performing the movement. I focused on the “breaking point” of the bench press, which is how I refer to the middle portion of the lift where the lift is much more difficult. I call this the breaking point because if you can get through this middle passage while lifting heavy, you will be able to press the bar to the top without any help.

The reason this portion of the bench press is so much more difficult is because this is where you are transferring the load from your pectorals to your forearms and shoulders. Pectorals (chest muscle), is a very large muscle group compared to your forearms, triceps, and shoulders which are much smaller.

This workout seemed doomed from the start but I was able to hang in there and do everything I wanted to get done despite the dizziness from the earbud headphones. Overall, it was a pretty good workout that set me up with plenty to build on. As I adapt to these earbud headphones, I will continue to use them during my workouts and I will let you know if they are usable at the gym.

Some things I want you to take away from this workout:

1.) It’s a good idea to make sure your are fully adapted to your earbud headphones before using them during your gym workout.

2.) If you are incapable of running on the treadmill, you can increase the intensity of your walk by adding a steep incline.

3.) It’s important to lift light weights that allow you to focus on making slow controlled lifts when you are new or the gym or coming of a stint of inactivity from working out.

4.) The bench press is a complicated lift that involves many muscle groups, making the lift easier when using the pectorals and more difficult when using smaller muscles.

Click Here to read the second installment of my personal workouts, A Personal Trainer’s Secret to Not Getting Tired on the Treadmill or Any Other Aerobic Workout

Source: Personal Experience as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert

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