If you aren’t listening to music when you exercise, then you are doing yourself a disadvantage.
A recent study published by the International Journal of Sports Medicine, ‘Listening to music affects diurnal variation in muscle power output’ by Chtourou, H et al., found that peak power output, meaning the amount of force you can exert in an exercise, actually increased after listening to music, as opposed to no music.
Karageorghis et al. (2006) found that the tempo of the music should match the intensity of the exercise. Listening to ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Florence and the Machine may be great for your post-workout cool down but is awful for your max effort lifts. Ideally, the beats per minute (BPM) of music during high intensity exercise should range between 135-145 bpm, and 115-125 bpm for medium level intensity.
When selecting your workout playlist, Alessio & Hutchinson (1991) identified six key criteria:
- a strong rhythm,
- positive lyrics about moving,
- rhythmic pattern matched to the activity (as mentioned above),
- uplifting melodies and harmonies,
- an association with sports, winning, triumphs or overcoming adversity, and
- a musical style suited to the individuals cultural upbringing and preferences.
And to think, we all thought Abigail Whistler was crazy for plugging in her iPod and cranked up the tunes before staking waves of Vampires.
I am unable to exercise without music. Many times I have tried and, even though I can complete workouts, I find myself more easily distracted, less motivated and my power output seems to diminish on max effort lifts.
Keying up your workout music is just as important as getting your supplements right or performing a dynamic warmup. At the moment, here are fourteen songs that I use to power through squats and crush deadlifts:
- Lose yourself- Eminem
- The Fighter- Gym Class Heroes ft Ryan Tedder (warm-up song)
- Amnesia- The Ian Carey Project ft Rosetta and Timbaland
- Turn all the Light’s On- T-Pain ft Ne-yo
- Till I Collapse- D12 ft Eminem
- Show Me The Money- Petey Pablo
- Number One- Nelly
- Boom- Snoop Dogg ft T-Pain
- Little Bad Girl- David Guetta ft Taio Cruz
- Remember The Name- Fort Minor
- Throw Your Hands Up- Qwote ft Pitbull
- Hey Hey Hey- Laurent Wery ft Dev
- Troublemaker- Taio Cruz
- In The Dark- Dev feat Flo Rida
This list changes weekly; I am always adding and subtracting songs depending on what’s new and my mood at the time. It’s up to you what you want to listen to though; whatever gets your heart beating and you psyched up, listen to it. If that so happens to be ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepsen then so be it. After all, Eric Cressey, owner of Cressey Performance and all around fitness guru, listens to it (a little part of me died when I heard that).
What songs psyche you up? Are there any similarities between my list and yours? Do you have a set playlist or do you still rely on whatever your gym plays? Let’s create a playlist below; add what song psyches you up most, and why.
Alessio, H. M., & Hutchinson, K. M. (1991). Effects of submaximal exercise and noise exposure on hearing loss. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 62, 414–419.
Simpson, S. D., & Karageorghis, C. I. (2006). The effects of synchronous music on 400-m sprint performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 24, 1095–1102.