Workout Music: Beast Mode

Let your playlist do its magic

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Workout Music: Beast Mode

Considering that we live in an era of office clerks, working out is essential to the majority of people. Admit it, sometimes it’s even fun to go for a jog or to hang out at the gym with the guys and hit some weights while listening to favorite music. Have you ever noticed that your results depend on what you’re listening to while working out? Well, that’s not just your imagination, it’s science, bro.

It all started in 2007 when the USA Track & Field banned the use of headphones and portable audio players at its official races. The rule was created “to ensure safety and to prevent runners from having a competitive edge.” This rule caused a wide resonance among athletes. They were not ready to part with their favorite headphones.

The world-leading researcher, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, stated that music distinctly enhances athletic performance. Also listening to music results in higher heart rate during the warm-ups as well as increases peak anaerobic power after the warm-up. Music can reduce your rate of perceived effort by 12% and improve endurance by 15%. One of the greatest distance runners in history, Haile Gebrselassie, synched his stride to the “Scatman” song when breaking the ten thousand meter world record. He selected this song because the tempo was a perfect match for his target stride rate.

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Some athletes use music to be “in the zone” during their training. The American swimmer Michael Phelps, who won 7 gold medals and set 5 world records at the 2007 FINA World Championships, likes to listen to Lil’ Wayne while training. He strives to focus on the inspiring lyrics such as: “Yes, I’m the best, and no I ain’t positive, I’m definite I know the game like I’m reffing it”.

Research has consistently shown that the synchronization of music with repetitive exercise is associated with increased levels of work output. This applies to such activities as rowing, cycling, cross-country skiing, and running. Musical tempo can regulate movement and thus prolong performance. According to a recent study, those who cycle in time to music require 7% less oxygen to do the same work as those who cycle with background (asynchronous) music.

In 2013 researchers at the Max Planck Institute have created gym equipment that double as musical instruments: you play them by exercising. The study shows that the action of producing music with workout is highly motivating and results in less noticeable exertion during exercise. Who knows, maybe with time this invention will evolve into a new form of jam (or gym?) sessions!

Tips on how to choose the right music

When creating your own playlist for work outs, it is important to evaluate the type of mindset you want to achieve for a particular workout. Evidently, you can move along at a faster pace while listening to a faster tempo, tor slow down to a more graceful pace to a slower tempo. If your movements are steady and rhythmic, the music should not change it’s temp. For example, British rowing Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell, uses the Red Hot Chili Peppers rhythms during training.

If you want to warm up on a gym bike at 65 rmp pace, commercial dance music, usually in the range of 120 to 130 bmp, will do the trick. Listening to it you will be able to take half a pedal revolution to each beat of the music. There are some on-line services that may help you to select the best songs for your playlist. Check out or

Please share your go to jams that help to achieve your goals during workout sessions in the comments below!

46 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Is this just a whole article for a sponsored link?
    I think if it was sponsored they'd have to advertise it as such, I don't see that anywhere though.
    Flying Afros
    High on Fire, Amon Amarth, Anciients, Baroness, Bolt Thrower and Abysmal Dawn are some of my go-to's.
    Number City by Coheed and Cambria. At the gym, I stumbled upon the fact that it had the perfect tempo for the pace I wanted to run. I had it playing in my head on repeat and it helped me pass the 1.5 mile run in the physical fitness exam to become a police officer.
    Keyworks Kid
    No World For Tomorrow, Domino the Destitute, and Gravemakers and Gunslingers are some of my favorites on my workout playlist. 
    Death in Fire by Amon Amarth is my go to when I feel I need that little extra boost near the end of a cardio session. Purest Strain of Hate by Thy Art is Murder (particularly the final breakdown 2:48) is my go to for the last set of any really hard lifting exercise.
    Tool Lost Keys- Rosetta Stoned Its perfect for cardio because you get a 3 min warmup track, followed by 11 min of awesome music that sort of distracts you while you endure the suck of cardio. I hate doing cardio
    When your doing your thing, in your own world, and the heavy drops and beast mode kicks in...It's like breaking the sound barrier!!! We Butter The Bread With Butter -  Ich mach was mit Medien 
    Music in the gym helped me lose a lot of weight. War is my shepherd synced very well with 3.5mph on the treadmill. I have  seperate metal playlists for cardio and weight training \m/
    Andrew W.K.'s first album "I Get Wet" is one of the best albums to listen to while working out. It's got an energy and beat to it that really pumps you up and gets the adrenaline pumping.
    Keyworks Kid
    Some favorites off my current workout playlist.  Coheed & Cambria- Here We Are Juggernaut and No World For Tomorrow Korn ft. Blue Stahli- Coming Undone/ Ultranumb remix (definitely gets the blood going)  Disciple- Outlaws Rise Against- Satellite Fall Out Boy- My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Yes cheesy as hell, but it works for me) All That Remains- Stand Up and Two Weeks Stone Sour- Gone Sovereing and Absolute Zero Lamb of God- Footprints BTBAM- White Walls (perfect to run to because of the length)
    Pretty much the entire Triple Brutal album by Austrian Death Machine. 
    Eminem - Survival Eminem - Phenomenal Rob Bailey - Beast (Southpaw Remix) Papa Roach - Born For Greatness Dead Prez - 50 in the Clip Pantera - By Demons Be Driven Pantera - Walk
    Anything by Amaranthe, I have their entire discography on a spotify playlist for when I go to the gym.
    "There are some on-line services that may help you to select the best songs for your playlist." I know what songs I want to listen to when I run or when I lift, thanks.
     Admit it, sometimes it’s even fun to go for a jog or to hang out at the gym with the guys and hit some weights 
    Hum, no
    Testament's The Gathering is my favourite album to workout too. Anything thrash pretty much. 
    Risin' up! Back on the street! Did my time, took my chances! I went the distance, now i'm back on my feet - just a man, and his will to survive!
    There must have been some other song at 136bpm other than "Scatman" that he could pace his 10k to!