Gym black hair

8 Workout Hairstyles for Black Hair That Are Perfect for the Gym

Style and substance all in one...  

Sometimes the occasion calls for a choice between hair or body. You can head out for a run, but ruin your expensive straightening treatment, or you can skip the workout, yet have awesome hair – it really is a perpetual struggle between looking and feeling good at the same time. And if you have natural afro hair, you’ll know this better than anyone, which is why we’ve put together a definitive list of workout hairstyles for black hair. 

So, stop deciding between a HIIT class and great strands, and start bringing your hair A-game with you to the gym!

Cornrow Bun

cornrow styles: the black view of a young woman with chunky cornrow braids
Chunky cornrows. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Whether it’s box braids, French plaits, or micro braids, a cornrow plait is guaranteed to hold your hair in place, no matter what you put it through!

Boxer Braids

Woman with natural boxer braids
Credit: Rupert Laycock

If you’re an avid gym-goer and want a hairstyle that’ll give you ultimate hold, we suggest opting for cornrows (AKA boxer braids) for a look that is as chic as it is strong. And what makes these plaits so great, is that they can be worn whether you have long or short hair, and can be jazzed up with almost any accessory, too! 

The Pineapple

gym black hair ideas: curly black hair pineapple
The versatile pineapple. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Want a style that’ll keep all the hair out of your face, yet won’t ruin the curl pattern of your mane? Then turn to the pineapple look, that really packs a style punch. Simply stack your strands high, tie it in place with a hairband and pin for extra security. Yes, that really is all it takes!

if you find your workout leaves your coils looking flat, throw some TIGI Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream into your gym bag, for the perfect pre-exercise curl bounce back.

Half Ponytail

Woman with natural hair styled into half-up ponytail
Credit: Rupert Laycock

A half-up ponytail is a perfect hairstyle for not-so-sweaty activities like yoga or pilates.

Bantu Knots

woman with bantu knot hairstyle workout hairstyles for black hair
Workout hairstyles for black hair: Bantu knots. Credit:

For a hairstyle that stays tight even during high-intensity workouts, you can’t go far wrong with a bun (or 4!). Now, depending on the texture of your hair, this can be achieved in several ways – some natural hair will lend itself to tight-twisted into Bantu knots, while other types might require hair straightening. Credit: @haut_standard

Head Wrap

How to wear a headscarf: Woman with pattern headwrap styled in regal style.
Look like royalty with this wrapped style. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

After a full week of tackling your hair to make it look presentable, you don’t really want to worry about what it looks like at the gym, right? Which is why relying on a head wrap is an excellent styling hack.

Twisted Ponytail

Woman with natural hair styled into a twist braided ponytail
Credit: Rupert Laycock

You can’t talk about workout hairstyles for black hair without mentioning ponytails. We love this twisted one because it does a great job of keeping hair in place, while also making sure you look stylish. Just imagine the curls you’ll get with this twist out!

Braided Bun

Woman with box braids styled into bun

A braided bun will keep your hair out of your face and off your neck, so you can give your full concentration to your workout. Credit: @freshlengths

Editor’s tip: Quickly freshen up your hair and nourish it, too, with the TRESemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist.

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