Pass on the Ponytail: The 5 Best Hairstyles For Your Next Workout

Victoria Moorhouse

A quick glance at the rows of treadmills in any gym confirms it: Ponytails are by far the most popular and practical hairstyle when sweating it out. Sure, it’s effective, but it doesn’t have to be your go-to for every single exercise. In fact, it might not even be the best option. From dance classes to yoga, we checked in with fitness pros across five popular disciplines to determine the hairstyle best suited to your workout of choice.

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Try a messy bun at your next Barre class.
According to barre3 founder Sadie Lincoln, a “a low-maintenance messy bun with a few bobby pins” is one of the most popular options in her company’s classes. “Most of our class is standing while we do smaller controlled movements, so the hair doesn’t need to be pulled back tight,” she explains. “An added benefit of the bun is being able to simply take the pins out and leave the studio with soft waves after class.” We won’t argue with that logic.


Opt for a braid during yoga.
Exhale Spa‘s Executive VP of Mind Body Programming, Elisabeth Halfpapp, prefers this style for yoga since you can convert the plait into a bun based on what position you’re holding. She suggests tucking your braid into a low bun during poses that require movement and then un-tucking it for Shavasana or similar poses where you’re lying down.

Ballerina buns really are ideal for ballet.
“This hairstyle will not only stay in place through pliés and jumping, but will also create an elongated appearance because it makes you look taller!” says Rachel Piskin, co-founder of ChaiseFitness and a former dancer with the New York City Ballet. She suggests using an elastic to make a ponytail and then bobby pins to secure the bun.

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Leave your hair down during dance-workouts.
When she’s not wearing a mic, AKT InMotion Founder and CEO Anna Kaiser prefers leaving her locks loose. “Your mane is your best prop,” she notes. “Use it! It makes dancing so much more fun and is an extension of your body movements and energy. Learning to work your hair is quite a skill in its own right. It’s fun to practice, even if it’s just the last song of the class!”

Pick that ponytail for Pilates.
But you can stand to make it a bit more interesting. Piskin suggests a high ponytail with a headband and says you can even braid the lengths of the hair, too. “This hairstyle is great because you can wear it for exercises that you have to do on your back, but it will also stay in place for any type of standing or jumping exercises,” she says.

Whether you go for a topknot or a French braid, you’ll want to choose a style that won’t get in the way of your motion and distract you from having an effective workout. Tightening a ponytail every 15 seconds will get really annoying, really fast.