Workouts are easier with music. Whether your library swings toward pop, rock, indie or rap, countless studies show that you really can’t beat a good quality playlist to motivate you and maximise your performance in the gym.
In fact, a study by Olympic sports psychologist Professor, Peter Terry, found elite athletes who trained with music could run for 1.5 minutes longer than those who didn’t listen to music. That’s because music helps our brain relax a little, and in turn regulates heart rate and oxygen use, meaning we can go harder for longer. The type of music you listen to can also impact your results. It’s all about the tempo, or beats per minute (bpm). To keep your body moving, it’s important to select the right tempo for both your fitness level and the activity you’re doing. For example, rap music may provide the best bpm for warming up, while dance music may be more suited to cardio workouts. Here are some tips to help you build the best music playlist for your workout. Not sure where to start? Spotify and Apple Music are both powerful playlist makers.
Before you even get started, crank up the tunes and set the mood for your workout. Gearing up for a HIIT session? Boost your energy with a fast paced track. Busy day? Play something calming before heading into a yoga class.
Load up your playlist with bass-heavy tracks between 120-140 bpm (a metronome app can help you work this out). The higher the bpm, the faster the track and the more motivated you will be to move faster along with the rhythm.
For runners or cyclists with a musical ear, try matching your pace to the beat of the music. 150 bpm should do it, but your stride will be different to others, so it might take a bit of practice to discover the bpm that’s right for you. As your fitness improves, choose tracks with a slightly higher bpm to push you that little bit further. If walking is more your thing, you can keep yourself accountable to a brisk pace by choosing tracks in the vicinity of 120-130 bpm. A good tip is to build a long playlist that’s going to keep motivated all the way through your session.
The key to a solid strength workout? Tunes that make you feel fan-freaking-tastic! Tempo doesn’t really matter, it’s all about associating the lyrics with pushing harder. Think Stronger by Kanye West or the classic Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.
Silence is golden for these types of workouts, but often music can enhance the energy of your practice. Whether you’re flowing through a calming yoga sequence or working on your core strength with your best Pilates moves, slow paced music at around 100-110 bpm can help deepen the connection between mind and movement.