These Heavy-Duty Headphones Have Been Workout-Approved by The Rock

We tested the new Project Rock over-ear headphones to see just how tough they really are.We tested the new Project Rock over-ear headphones to see just how tough they really are.We tested the new Project Rock over-ear headphones to see just how tough they really are.

While Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Project Rock Under Armour apparel and gear collection is probably best-known for the actor’s signature line of training sneakers and workout clothes like stringer tanks and sleeveless hoodies with no-nonsense slogans, the collab has also resulted in a series of excellent Bluetooth headphones. The two iterations of earbuds and rugged pair of on-ear cups, all made in collaboration with audio company JBL, have brought The Rock’s trademark toughness to his fans’ ears.

The audio collection grows with the latest Project Rock drop available today, which includes a brand new set of Bluetooth over-ear training headphones designed for use (and abuse) in the gym and everywhere else. I got a chance to test out the headphones for a week before the launch, putting the set through its paces in just about every situation. The unit performs in every scenario, giving Rock fans and hardcore muscleheads alike a worthy pair of over-ear headphones for their workouts.

The sound from the over-ear headphones is more immersive than the previous buds and on-ear unit; the cups fit comfortably over my ears (which is key, since on-ear headphones have bothered me since I pierced my ear in a fit of pandemic-fueled boredom that year). The company says that the audio was tuned by Dwayne Johnson himself to amplify the bass. I can hear the rumble when the beat hits in hip-hop songs like Tyler, the Creator’s ‘CORSO’ and during the chorus of rock staples like Against Me!’s ‘I Was a Teenage Anarchist,’ which serves well to help motivate during the waning reps of a heavy set.

Like other UA Project Rock x JBL audio devices, there’s a novel “Ambient Aware” setting, controlled by pressing the Brahma Bull logo on the right cup, which makes it easier for the wearer to hear the world around them (ostensibly to talk to a lifting partner in the weight room). I found it most useful when I was walking my dog on a busy city parkway and listening to an audiobook. To pause the playback quickly, just lift the right cup off the ear. There’s also a noise-cancelling setting which works effectively, particularly when I took it on a train. For extra control, there’s a connected app to customize EQ settings and built in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa connectivity for hands-free direction.

The biggest hook for the headphones is the sweat resistance, a bigger concern with over-ear rigs than earbuds or even on-ear cans since the cup completely covers part of the wearer’s head. The headphones boast an an IPX4 rating and use some of Under Armour’s fabrics for better breathability than other typical audio device materials, and the ear cushions are removable and washable if they get too drenched. Thankfully, even when I started dripping during my third set of non-stop walking lunges during a workout, I didn’t have any issues with my sweat pooling or, even worse, degraded audio quality. They weren’t in the way for overhead presses or pullups, either. The headphones stayed in place and weren’t too uncomfortable during a quick jog, but I don’t think I’d exactly recommend them for longer runs.

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The unit really shows its strength when it comes to battery life. The rechargeable battery uses USB-C quick charging, and the company claims you reap two hours of playback time with just five minutes on the plug. Overall, the headphones are rated for 45 hours of playtime per full charge. I wasn’t able to fully estimate if that’s accurate—I’ve been using the headphones consistently every day for over a week and haven’t yet needed to charge back up. Another key feature: the unit comes with an old school headphone jack. I loved switching between my laptop and phone by plugging and unplugging the chord, depending on what I was doing and what I wanted to listen from moment to moment.

At $299, the Project Rock Over-Ear headphones aren’t cheap—but other Bluetooth over-ear sets from premium makers like Bose and Beats by Dre run just as much or more, and those aren’t designed to take a beating in the weight room. If you’re not interested in another pair of dainty buds you’ll misplace in your gym back, this is the personal audio option for you.

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