What’s the Rock’s been cookin’ recently, you may ask. Sweat-resistant wireless gym headphones, apparently...
The semi-retired WWE wrestler and action movie star has spent two years working with fitness brand Under Armour and JBL audio to create The UA Sports Wireless Train Headphones Project Rock Edition: an on-ear wireless and sweat-resistant headphone designed with the gym in mind. Having announced the launch on Instagram, The Rock emphasised that they were ‘built for training’ by saying:
“I prefer training in “over the ear” headphones, but have been consistently disappointed (pissed is a better word) with every pair, from every brand that just couldn’t handle my workouts. I thought if no one is going to design headphones BUILT FOR TRAINING, then I would”
We ABSOLUTELY agree that over-the-ear headphones are great for the gym, but we’re just sorry that The Rock didn’t discover EarHugz in time; It could have saved him two years of effort and hundreds of dollars. BUT we’re always happy to see ingenuity and development within the fitness industry and could these be the first on-ear headphones designed with tough workouts in mind? Initial reviews have largely been positive, but is the UA Sports Wireless Train Headphones Project Rock Edition worth the hype?
Headphone manufacturers usually advise swapping on and over-ear headphones for earphones. It’s good to see a pair that’s gym-focused and designed to be worn during intense workouts. Aesthetically, the UA Sports Wireless Train Headphone is very much in keeping with what we’ve already seen from the “Project Rock” collaboration between Dwayne Johnson and Under Armor: rugged and masculine. With the Rock’s trademark Brahma Bull centred on each cup, these headphones are perfectly pitched at the bodybuilding and strength market. They’re anti-slip. The motto Blood. Sweat. Respect is a nice touch across the headband and as good a mantra as any when you’re working out. The breathable air cushions are easy-to-remove and clean and are spray and splash resistant for up to 5-minutes and they’re sweat-resistant, too, which is one of the biggest selling points.
If you have a training partner, you can use the TalkThru function to quickly lower the volume of music as you converse or trash talk. Noise-cancelling microphones amplify your voice inside your headphones, too, so that you don’t have to take your cans off to hear or be heard. There’s a sixteen-hour battery life with a speed charge function that gives an extra hour of playback from a 5-minute charge. We’re seeing this offered more and more now with headphones, and it’s a genuine lifesaver for those of us who leave recharging to the last minute. Turning up at the gym without headphones is the stuff of nightmares. Sound quality seems solid. Under Armour worked with JBL who used 40mm drivers with an emphasis firmly on big bass that handles well at high volumes. The Rock has even created an “Iron Paradise Airwaves” playlist on Spotify, to show the type of tunes you and your headphones can handle which includes:
1. We Ready – Archie Eversole
2. Rocky Mountain Way – Godsmack
3. One Life, Last Breath – Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.
4. Erbody But Me – Tech N9ne, Bizzy, Krizz Kaliko
5. Lemon – N.E.R.D., Rihanna
6. Plain Jane – A$AP Ferg
7. Sit Back – 8Ball
8. They Point – E-40, Juicy J, 2 Chainz
9. People’s Elbow – Migos
10. Chun-Li – Nicki Minaj
11. Tati – 6IX9INE, DJ SpinKing
12. Posted – Pac Div
13. Burn – Rick Ross
14. Can’t Truss It – Public Enemy
15. All Eyez On Me – 2pac
16. O Lord – Boosie Badazz
17. Move Bitch – Disturbing Tha Peace, Ludacris, Mystikal, I-20
18. Enter Sandman – Metallica
19. Down With the Sickness – Disturbed
20. Undead – Hollywood Undead
21. I Like It – Cardi B, Bad Bunny, J Balvin
22. Backseat Freestyle – Kendrick Lamar
23. Bubblin – Anderson. Paak
24. Motiv8 – J. Cole
25. Sucker for Pain – Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Logic, Ty Dollars $ign, X Ambassadors
26. Six Bad Brothas – Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.
27. Origin – Migos
28. Where You From – Trick Daddy
29. Straight Out The Gate – Tech N9ne, Serj Tankian
30. Riot Maker – Tech N9ne, Skatterman, Snug Brim
31. Only – Jelly Roll
When you’re done fold down the cups into the hard case to keep them protected until your next workout. All well and good then, but are there any downsides?
The Rock is a Goddamn mountain; he makes everything (and everyone) look small, but the cups on these headphones look as if they’re going to be small on everyone. And OK, so the point is that they’re anti-slip which will mean that they’re supposed to sit like that BUT there are a few poor reviews on the Under Armor website arguing that the cups are too small and too tight to train in. Mashable said the same thing in their review and cited poor design. This could be a major drawback because if you can’t get a good comfortable fit then you’ll be too focused on that rather than on your form.
There’s no noise-cancellation and that’s going to be a problem for anyone who likes their headphones to block out ambient sounds. Certainly, the gym is the kind of environment where noise-cancellation can be a Godsend. Once you’ve shut out old grunt-a-rep on the dumbbells, it can be tough to let him back into your ears.
And there’s been criticism of the much-touted TalkThru feature because why can’t you just slip them around your neck or press pause? Is it just technology for the sake of it? The Bowers-Wilkins PX wireless headphones, for example, pause the track when you lift the cup up. TalkThru is a nice touch, sure, but hardly groundbreaking. The speed charge is brilliant but it can’t beat Beats where 3 hours of battery comes from just a 5-minute charge.
The UA Sports Wireless Train Headphones are something of a double-edged sword. As headphones, they’re designed primarily for use in the gym which is great but they’re less ideal when you use them outside of that environment. Maybe that won’t bother you. Maybe you’re OK to have a gym pair and then a home pair of headphones in another brand but that just seems expensive. These headphones weren’t made with long-haul flights in mind or for listening to fitness podcasts on public transport, for example. If sound quality is important, then these headphones aren’t going to have you scrambling for Tidal’s HiFi streaming service, either. Sound quality is good but it’s nowhere near good enough for audiophiles.
The big selling points for these headphones are the sweat-resistant cushion covers, the non-slip headband, the foldable cups, the rugged design and the fact that all-around big man and nice guy, Dwayne Johnson has put his name to them. These really are a pretty cool piece of gym kit BUT you’ll have far more control if you choose headphones that are as good out of the gym as in it.
Under Armour isn’t your only choice. The simplest and most effective solution is to buy the headphones that are most suitable to your lifestyle and this might not be the UA Sports Wireless Train Headphones Project Rock Edition. Ask yourself: what do I want to get out of these? For some people, it’s active noise-cancelling technology. For others, it’s Apple’s W1 chip with Siri assist. Perhaps it’s design or price or reviews that puts one pair ahead of everything else. The simplest solution is to buy your headphones and then pair them up with EarHugz.
EarHugz are the perfect fit for brand new headphones and the perfect retrofit for ones you already own. EarHugz with their sweat-resistant and machine-washable superpowers fit almost all major brands and will instantly make your headphones gym-proof.
That’s what we’ve been cookin’.