Anyone who’s seen the Rocky films knows that a soundtrack and training montage is all you need to succeed! Although this is all good for Sly Stallone, here in the real world we need a lot more than that. However, choosing the right music for your workout can influence your performance. For example, one study [1] concluded that having music playing while you workout increases your performance, regardless of whether the music is deemed motivational or not. A second study [2] suggested that the music had to be synchronous with the activity to be beneficial. That means a song with the steady tempo matching your workout speed would be best. As well as this, music elevates your mood pre and post exercise, keeping you motivated!

So how does this actually work?

  • Music distracts you. It makes you less aware of your exertion levels, allowing you to push harder and train for longer. It can also help to reduce pain.
  • It helps you keep pace. This in turn can help to regulate your heart rate. Great for steady activities!
  • Music can improve your mood and an upbeat tune just makes you want to move!
  • Inspirational lyrics can motivate you, in both cardio and resistance exercises.

Not only can music benefit you during exercise and performance, it can also help in the build-up prior to activity and the cool-down after activity. Many top athletes use music to get themselves psychologically pumped before an event. Usain Bolt has reportedly said he listens to Vybz Kartel, whereas Cristiano Ronaldo has said he listens to the classic from Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight. I guess it all depends on what kind of music you like, and what gets you psyched up. As for cool-down music, anything with a slow tempo is considered good to help you relax after a hard session.

Here are some of my favourite workout songs:
(with YouTube links!)

What is you favourite workout song? Answer in the comments below!