How Music Can Help You Crush Your Workout
It’s hard to deny the power of music.
(We dare you to keep your head still when you hear the classic theme song from Rocky.)
Songs can evoke memories from a moment in time 10 years ago, make you feel happy, sad, angry, optimistic, peaceful, pumped up — almost any emotion can be sparked by music.
So if music can make you feel certain emotions, can you use it to help boost your performance when you work out?
Dr. Christopher Capuano, president of Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, has conducted research on the use of behavioral strategies for managing obesity.
“Exercise is hard work. You sweat, you have shortness of breath, and if you’re obese, it’s not an easy thing to do,” he says. “If you’re not distracted then those are the things you’re going to focus on. Most people associate pleasure with music. By listening to music when you exercise, you’re substituting pleasurable thoughts for the negative ones and what you’re doing becomes easier to do.”
That’s why music is such an important part of Morning Meltdown 100 with Super Trainer Jericho McMatthews.
Each workout in this fitness program is set to a heart-pumping BPM (beats per minute) playlist mixed by the live DJ on set, Jesse Blake.
“I sourced all kinds of music at tempos for different types of movements,” says Blake. “Jericho built the workouts to be tailor-made for each tempo range. In addition, at Jericho’s request, I often speed up or slow the music down on the fly during class, which helps us customize the experience even more.”
Pro tip: Music not loud enough for you? Pump up the volume by clicking the speech bubble icon in the lower right corner of the video, then click “Audio,” then select the “English Pumped Up Music.”
The speed, or tempo, of the music you’re listening to may actually help boost your performance.
A study of cyclists published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that the degree of effort they exerted correlated with the speed of the music. The faster the music was, the harder they pushed themselves, and the more they enjoyed it, according to the researchers.
That idea is put into practice in Morning Meltdown 100.
“It’s so important the music always reflects and follows the energy of class from beginning to end,” says Blake. “The music always rides the intensity of the work. You’ll hear big builds and heavy beats for big work sections, but the music signals recover sections, responds to changes in energy output, and builds back up to heavy activity sections as Jericho leads the workouts.”
Music for Cardio
Cardio calls for kickin’ upbeat music, whether you’re doing HIIT or a steady-state cardio activity like cycling or distance running. Think: positive pop anthems that help boost your energy level.
“I look for anthemic tracks you want to hear even after the workout is over, says Blake. “My number one priority is always to choose the best, most exciting, high-energy music from as many genres as I can possibly find.”
Listen to: Jericho McMatthews’ Pumped-Up Pop Workout Playlist
Music for Weight Lifting
When you’re pumping iron, music can boost your stamina and motivation, helping you power through even the toughest sets.
In a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, people who listened to motivational music were able to hold a weight at shoulder level “significantly longer” than participants who didn’t listen to music.
Listen to: Sagi Kalev’s Beast Up Weightlifting Playlist
Music for Stretching and Yoga
When it’s time for the cooldown, it’s time to slow the music down so your body will follow. Instrumental music is a great way to relax your mind and body after a tough workout.
Listen to: Relax & Sweat Playlist
Need Some Musical Inspiration?
We’ve created some mixes for you on Spotify. Click here to check them out and check out some of our other Super Trainer playlists:
Joel Freeman’s Hardcore Motivational Playlist
Megan Davies’ High-Energy Workout Playlist