The best music to workout to

19:28, Jan 23 2014
ALL ABOUT THE BEATS: Wow, I love this track so much, I just had to stop and play it again.

Want to maximise your workout potential? According to a recent study, you should listen to the right music.

The study by Brunel University, London, found certain genres of music work better for specific types of exercise, and that listening to the wrong type of music could harm your workout performance.

The research, by sports psychologist Dr Costas Karageorghis, the Music in Exercise and Sport Group at Brunel and Spotify, analysed almost more than 6.5 million Spotify playlists with the word "workout" in the title.

The research team compared the track beats per minute (bpm) to those of particular workouts, and then matched the average bpm of music genres to the average bpm of workout activities like jogging and running.

The researchers found urban and rap music is the best for running or jogging because the beat helps maintain momentum and the lyrics in rap music can be helpful for motivation.

They found that pop music is best for the slower pace of warm-ups and cool-downs, due to its regular pace.


Dance music was found to be the best motivator for weight training while rock music should be avoided because the tempo changes can affect the workout rhythm.

Personal trainer and founder of Urban Fitness Solutions Stanley Sithole says:

"When I go running, I run much better when I'm listening to music than when I don't have music. I've found with spin classes too, doing it to music is much better. Any music is better."

Previous research by Costas Karageorghis found that adding motivational music to your playlist can help increase motivation and make you feel positive about exercising even when working out at a high intensity.

"A suitably motivational playlist can help to 'colour' the symptoms of exercise-related fatigue," Dr Karageorghis says.

"This means that at the point when your body is shouting 'stop', the music has the power to lift your mood and beckon you on."

Sithole, who has been a personal trainer for 11 years, says although music choice will depend on individual taste there are some genres that work really well for maximising workouts.

"The reason why rap or hip hop is good is because of the lyrics, they can be really good motivators. With pop music it's not so much the lyrics but the music itself, the beat that tends to get people."

Sithole says Jay Z and Alicia Keys' 'New York' is one of his favourite running tracks, but people have to choose music that motivates them.

"It really depends what music they enjoy, but music with good lyrics really works. It's good for training and motivation."

Check out the Spotify Ultimate Workout Playlist below:

Sydney Morning Herald