Best Beats: Workout Music 2017
Best Beats: Workout Music 2017
Music makes EVERYTHING better! Whether you’re running, training on the elliptical machine, cycling, or pumping iron, music that pumps you up and gets your heart beating is going to make the workout easier.
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In the past, studies have proven that music can help you to work out more effectively. People can run longer, swim further, and cycle more efficiently thanks to music. Music has been called a “legal performance enhancing drug” because of its effects on your body.
If you want to push yourself harder in your training, music can make all the difference. Putting together a kick-ass playlist may be just the thing to help you kick things up a notch in your next workout!
Elements of a Good Workout Playlist
When thinking about your workout playlist, what should you consider? What are the elements of a good workout playlist?
Tempo – The tempo (speed) of the music can make a huge difference for your workouts. A fast-paced song is much more likely to get your heart pumping when you’re cycling or jogging. However, you may not want a fast-paced song if you’re focusing on slow, controlled movements while weightlifting.
Faster songs are great for more active exercise (such as HIIT, Sprint Training, Spinning, etc.). You never want to go too slow or you might slow your heart rate down. Alternatively, you may want to consider songs with a slower tempo if you’re not doing fast-paced workouts.
BPMs – The Beats Per Minute (BPMs) of the song should match the BPMs of your heart as you work out.
To burn over 1,000 calories per hour of weightlifting, you need to keep your heart rate about 125 BPMs. If you’re doing steady-state cardio for fat burning, your heart rate will be anywhere between 125 and 145 BPMs. When sprint training or engaging in HIIT training, your heart rate can skyrocket to upwards of 150 BPMs.
Finding music with BPMs to match your heart rate can help to keep you moving and working hard. With the music moving so quickly (faster BPM), this means you’ll hardly notice the effort of your heart beating fast to pump blood to your muscles.
Not sure how fast you’re going? Test your heart rate (take your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6) while engaging in high or low-intensity exercise. You can get an average BPM for each type of workout, and use your playlist to match that tempo.
There are a number of tools to help you find songs with the right BPMs. SongBPM, Jog.fm, and RockMyRun will all help you find songs of the right speed, pace, and BPMs. A little bit of time invested into the task will make working out easier.
Driving Rhythm – Have you ever noticed how you feel more energized to move when you listen to rock, dance music, EDM, or anything with a driving rhythm? The rhythm sort of sweeps you up into the song, carrying you along and getting your heart beating?
One of the main components of a workout playlist is songs with a driving rhythm. Those who enjoy dancing may find themselves loving a Reggaeton song, an EDM song, or something with a fast-paced Latin beat (salsa, merengue, etc.). For rock lovers, hard rock songs by bands like Disturbed and Five Finger Death Punch give you that driving, powerful rhythm that will take your mind off the workout.
Motivational Lyrics – Songs like “Rise” by Katy Perry will bring a sort of “emotional high” thanks to the message that goes with the music. The strong, uplifting lyrics can be just what you need to keep yourself working when you feel like giving up.
A few examples of songs with mood-boosting lyrics include “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift and “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. These songs make you feel better about yourself, releasing a rush of endorphins that dull the pain of your workout and push back fatigue.
Crescendo – The more epic the crescendo, the bigger the boost!
When you watch a fantasy movie, superhero movie, or any other action-packed film, you can often feel the climax. The music swells to such a powerful crescendo that you’re moved to feel whatever emotion the director wants you to feel.
The same is true for your workout playlist. When a song has that powerful crescendo, it gives you a chill or goosebumps that’s accompanied by the “emotional high”. This is something Katy Perry has mastered, with songs like “Firework” or “Unconditional”. They start off slower, rise throughout, and swell to a powerful climax near the end. This crescendo boosts your mood and floods your body with endorphins. Definitely a must-have for your workout playlist!
Structure – Last but certainly not least, your workout playlist needs to be structured correctly.
Think of the way you structure your own workout. You start with some stretching to warm up, do some light training to activate the muscles, and THEN hit the weights hard. You push yourself throughout, with each exercise getting harder and harder as your muscles approach fatigue. Finally, on that last set, you give it everything you have despite the pain, and you end with a cool-down.
Your workout playlist should reflect that. Start out with slower songs to get you in the mood for working out, then a song like “We Will Rock You” or “Eye of the Tiger” to pump you up for the hardcore training. The music should continue to slowly build in tempo and rhythm throughout the workout until that last song that gets you through the hardest exercises. When you’re stretching to cool down, your music should be celebratory and upbeat as a reward for all your hard work.
A good workout playlist can make all the difference in your training sessions! We’ve built one using the above principles—check out our Spotify music list to help pump you up for your workouts.
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