Every time I’m at the gym, I am reminded of the powerful effects of music on the mind and body.
I dread the days that I don’t have headphones. First off, I’m afraid that somebody is going to come up and talk to me because I don’t look preoccupied. (I’m sure that sounds rude, but when I’m on the floor at the gym, I don’t really feel like socializing. It’s my time. Not group time. And classes are another story.) Secondly, I know how I feel after a workout sans headphones: just OK. Like I clocked in, clocked out, logged the hours, but didn’t feel much in-between. With headphones, I leave feeling on top of the world, like I gave everything I had and walk out in a noticeably elevated mood.
Is this the placebo effect at work here? No. Absolutely not. There are far too many studies out there proving that music affects our brain. It alters our sense of time, dulls pain and actually makes us stronger. It is a powerful force that we should hone whenever possible, especially when working out.
What makes a good workout song, though? Well, it depends on the type of exercise you’re doing, as well as your personal preference. Being upbeat alone doesn’t cut it. I sometimes find that if a song is too upbeat, I find it to be a little obnoxious. As a general rule, songs between 150-160 BPM (beats per minute) are great for jogging and running, while songs between 130-140 BPM are good for weight training. Listening to a song that is in the 150-160 BPM range while you’re lifting weights could actually be dangerous, because you are unconsciously trying to keep your movements in time with the tempo.
I took the liberty of throwing together a playlist for a weight lifting workout, with a solid mix of old and new tracks, that always seem to get the job done for me. Working out is a personal endeavor, though, and the music we listen to is a reflection of our personality, so this may not be your style at all! If you decide to create your own playlist, consider using this BPM tool to ensure you’re in your preferred range.
Here are your songs for a killer weight lifting session. Enjoy! 💪
Genghis Kahn – Miike Snow (100 BPM)
Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia (129 BPM)
Tick Tick Boom – The Hives (135 BPM)
Buffalo Feet – Fences (138 BPM)
HandClap – Fitz and the Tantrums (140 BPM)
What You Know – Two Door Cinema Club (139 BPM)
American Money – Borns (135 BPM)
American Music – Violent Femmes (134 BPM)
London Calling – The Clash (134 BPM)
Work This Body – Walk the Moon (134 BPM)
Boss – Bear Hands (103 BPM)
Live While I Breathe – The Moth & The Flame (81 BPM)