Can music actually help your weight lifting routine and make you stronger? Studies suggest this is true.
We’ve all experienced the classic 80’s rock and popular tunes of yesteryear that pretty much act as ambien for your weight lifting workouts. How many of you have experienced the following? You slam your pre-workout, take your Kre-Alkalyn, and zip to the gym for what you are expecting to be a killer workout. As you walk in the door and sign in, you realize you left your earbuds at home. You are instantly overwhelmed with disgust for the terrible golden oldies piping through your gym or health clubs speakers. Basically, you just wanna turn around and walk out and forget about the workout.
Can music really have this profound of an effect on your workout?
“Music is like is a legal drug for athletes,” says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, one of the world’s leading authorities on music and exercise. “It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.”
Over the last 10 years there has been an immense amount of research that has gone into workout music and its physiological affects. It’s been proven that music will distract people from fatigue and even pain. It will elevate mood, reduce the perceived effort, and even increase endurance. Unfortunately though, it’s not as easy as simply throwing a playlist together that has high intensity tunes. Music can spark memories, whether good or bad, and certain songs may actually distract the listener rather than help them.
According to a recent survey of 184 undergrads from two different universities, the most popular music for working out or weight lifting were:
- hip-hop (27.7 percent)
- rock (24 percent)
- pop (20.3 percent)
If you’re still doubting the effectiveness of high intensity music on your weight lifting session, this next study should put that to rest. A study from Sheffield Hallam University showed that people participating in the experiment and cycled in time to the music being played required 7% less oxygen than those who did not synchronize their movements.
Personally, I’ve encountered the effects of music many times while lifting. Some of us have the ability to disconnect completely and focus on the task at hand without music. 4 time Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler, is one of those people. For myself though, I have to have a seriously upbeat and almost angry playlist. When I’m throwing around some serious weight, if Miley Cyrus is playing in the background I’ll tell you right now I’m gonna miss the lift. If I have Korn blaring in my earbuds and I’m legitimately pissed off at the weight in front of me, I’m gonna own the set.
What’s your playlist T-Reks?
Here’s one that gets me through a serious heavy lifting day without ever failing:
- In the middle of it now (Curt Hawkins’ theme song)
- Bleed it out, Linkin Park
- Given up, Linkin Park
- The beautiful people, Marilyn Manson
- Bangarang, Skrillex
- Derezzed, Daft Punk, Tron Legacy Soundtrack
- Twisted Transistor, Korn
- Coming Undone, Korn
- Dragula, Rob Zombie
- Ghosts N stuff, deadmau5
Notice that about 2/3 of the way through the songs switch from a higher tempo, lighter feeling to some seriously angry music with Korn and Rob Zombie? I’ve noticed it’s about that point in the weight lifting session that my mind starts to fatigue and I start getting tired. Pulling in some darker, upbeat tunes at that point completely redirects my focus and gets me through the workout.
So if you’re listening to Miley Cyrus or the Backstreet Boys while you lift (I’m talking to you, Zack Ryder), it’s time to switch that playlist around and get in tune with your inner beast.
Enter the #BeastMode.