We have talked before on how music can be beneficial against stress and even how natural sounds can help your body. Today we are going to examine the connection between working out and the music you listen to then, and most importantly teach you how to make an awesome playlist.
As we all know, music can be an awesome aid during sport activities. Anyone who has performed a workout with and without music can see a notable difference. This phenomenon has greatly interested scientists, from all over the world. As a consequence, countless studies have been performed in the last decade to find out just how beneficial music is to sports activities. So other than just talking about it, let’s see scientifically proven benefits of music.
A study (1) done by Ph.D. Len Kravitz with the University of New Mexico found that exercising with music has a wide range of positive effects. The respiration and heart rate have automatically adjusted themselves to the beat of music in numerous cases, which means you could easily use music to moderate your heartbeat and keep it in the ideal range. The study also found out that stimulating music increased performance, in contrast to sedating music. Another highlight is the fact that music increased endurance in activities varying from simple pushups all the way to running.
A study done by one of them concluded that “Music provides the impetus for the movements of the body”(2) What this essentially means is that music gives the body additional energy and lets it achieve greater results. The same study has also examined the lyrics of songs and deducted that: “The music, the lyrics of the music, and shared knowledge of the artist, are used by the instructor to heighten participant anticipation and attention to the display”
So there you have it. According to science, music is very beneficial to working out. In order to get the best workout you need to have the best playlist. If you follow our 12 tips and read the article, you will have a beast workout playlist and surely get better results.
Music can very easily take you away from the everyday world and elevate you to the artistic enjoyment heights. As enjoyable as it might be there, you still need to pay attention to the surroundings, especially if you are doing a workout outside.
I have had a few close calls during my cardio trainings. My advice for you is to always pay attention to your surroundings and always try to take a route with less traffic. Parks and country roads are awesome and keep you safe from traffic.
Tip no. 1 – Structure songs wisely and efficiently
The workout play-list should be like formal wear for a special occasion, specifically tailored to you and your capabilities. Take a look at your workout routine for the day. Identify the parts of your workout, such as the warm ups, cardio, HIT (high interval training), stretching…. Once you have done that you should find songs accordingly.
Tip no. 2 – Do not skip warm ups – start with a moderate inspirational song
Starting your workout with an ‘all-in’ song would not be a very wise thing to do. You should reserve an easy, light song for the warm ups. Such songs will provide the perfect atmosphere to get ready for the upcoming workout without haste and tension.
The ideal song for the warm up would be one which has a moderate tempo (120BPM) and is highly motivational.
People often do not find warm ups interesting and tend to skip them at their own risk. As a consequence their workout performance might diminish or they might suffer injuries. The chosen song can make the warm up more interesting and make the time pass quickly so you can focus on the core of your workout.
Tip no. 3 – Adjust the main part of the workout the circumstances
Awesome. Now that you are warmed up, you need to start the training with a stronger song. Again, this is not the time to use that powerful, let’s give it our best song.
The best thing you could do at this point is to take a close look at your main routine. Are there some obstacles on your cardio trail which are harder to pass or require more effort? Are there some parts of your trail where you can just take it easy and keep it cool with your pace? I think you see where I am going with this.
Here comes a practical example. When I reach a hill on my running route, I need a song which is going to push me so I get over the obstacle as soon as possible. For this part I put a power song or a mid-power song. Awesome that’s fixed.
On the other hand, when I am going down the hill, I do not want to run extremely fast but keep a solid pace. In this case, I will put a calm, moderate song so I can focus on my pace.
The story is the same if you are doing reps in the gym. If you are doing an easy exercise, you don’t really need a song which will give you additional energy. Use powerful songs wisely and profit from your success.
Bottom line, examine the core workout, identify the toughest challenges and use your songs wisely.
Tip no. 4 – Keeping the spirits up
In every workout, you will reach a point where you will start asking yourself: “Why am I doing this?” It is completely natural. Your body is fighting your mind, in hope of achieving rest. If you prevail you, strengthen your will and move step closer to your goals.
It can be extremely difficult to prevail in such situations. For that reason, you need a song which will keep you focused on the workout, a song which will inspire you to go on.
This does not have to be a power song but merely a song which simply captivates you and grabs your attention. It can also be a song which is related to the goals you wish to achieve. Either way, you should identify the parts of your workout where you start losing moral, and add the songs in that timeframe.
Tip no. 5 – Endure HIT with a power song
High interval training is the part of your sport session when you need to give 120% and push yourself to the max. For such a valiant effort you need a song which absolutely takes you in.
The best thing about powerful songs is that they vary from person to person. You surely know one song which can make you run faster, do more reps or simply endure the strenuous activity. The next time you are doing HIT try to go the step further with this song and you will see some awesome results.
Tip no. 6 – Using give-it-all songs for the finish-line
Some people do not include HIT in their training, but also have a deciding moment where they need to use the remaining energy and focus it all into one final push. This is where you use the give-it-all song to race to the finish-line and complete your workout.
Be very careful about which song you choose for this role. It should be fast paced, very motivational and distracting, so you do not pay attention to the pain in the muscles as you complete your workout.
These songs can also be used for finishing the final set of a workout.
National anthems are very important to every country. They bring out excessive feelings in the ears of every listener. They make us feel proud and strong. So why shouldn’t you use put your national anthem, or at least a faction of it, as your give-it-all song?
Tip no. 7 – Make cool-down cooler with a great song
The story is pretty similar with warm ups and cool-downs, they simply are not as interesting as the core activity, despite having numerous advantages.
It would be the wisest to pick a song with a “Congratulations, you made it!” message to award yourself for finishing the core. The song should also have a moderate to slow pace, so you can have a chance to grab your breath, stretch your muscles or do some other post workout activity. With such a song, you’re all set to embrace the accolade of finishing the workout and gradually decreasing your heartbeat to normal.
Tip. No 8 – Trying out different genres
Each music genre has a lot to offer. People, who are very diverse with genres they listen to, know this the best. The case with most people is that they favor two genres and pretty much ignore the others. The issue with this is that they are missing out. Here is why:
I’ll take a personal example. I have pretty much forever favored two major genres, rock and metal. Most of my play-lists have been focused on songs from those genres. When I started working out, I had no idea how to make a good play-list. I tried working out to easy rock songs, like the Eagles and the Animals, but I soon realized something. I was running much faster than the beat in the songs and fought with myself to slow down.
I decided to try with some faster and stronger songs. That did the trick. Their tempo was awesome, within the proposed 120 to 140 range. Workouts were amazing and I was making progress.
With time, I improved my physical capabilities and I wanted to push even more, run faster and put more effort. Even the stronger rock songs could not help me anymore. I turned to metal and I found some awesome fast-paced songs, which I still use today.
Just when I thought I was settled, I started working out in the gym. I decided I would use my metal play-list for it too. Not long after, I realized it fell short when it came to all the sets and reps and series. There is no way I could lift the weights as fast as the drums played in the songs.
I gave up with the play-list and listened to the music in the gym. It was a mix of pop and electronic music. I had never been a fan of such music but I soon realized it was absolutely awesome for working out. The main beats were slow enough for me to lift weights and maintain a tempo.
I never would have tried to work out with that genre. Luckily I did and I can say it has greatly contributed to my workout routine.
Tip no. 9 – Pay attention to the BPM’s
The amount of beats per minute of a song is very important for a workout. Essentially the amount of beats per minute should start out slow, then increase more and more as the activity progresses. The reasons why I did not mention BPM’s and counting BPM’s is because I wanted to create a special article just for them.
This image sums the entire story about BPM’s perfectly.
Tip no. 10 – Do not be afraid to ask for help
Who know what you might find and how awesome it will be for your workout!
Music has some pretty awesome effects on the human body. Just by following these 10 tips, you will have a killer playlist and surely get some great results.
Feel free to share our “10 Tips for making the perfect workout play-list” with your friends or comment down below if you think we missed something.
- Kravitz, Len. “The Effects of Music on Exerise?.” (1994).
- Guerin, Pauline B., et al. “Physical activity programs for refugee Somali women: working out in a new country.” Women & Health1 (2003): 83-99.