You’re at the gym.
You put on our favourite tune, full blast… and for some reason it feels like you’re able to lift the world.
Is there any science behind it?
Can listening to certain songs somehow crawl through certain neural pathways — muscles and bones in your body — and make you lift more weight?
Research says yes.
In fact, David-Lee Priest, Psychologist and researcher at University of East Anglia in the UK, describes music and workouts as ‘the cheese sauce on top of the broccoli’ – you can simply tolerate exercise more when listening to music.
Music Provides Focus
Music can help narrow an athlete’s mind, distracting them from sensations of fatigue. This plays on the technique of ‘disassociation’, where by stimulating your mind on things away from the primary task promotes a positive mood and helps you forget about pain and fatigue. The Guardian says this can improve a person’s physical performance by up to 15%.
Music = Motivation
The Huffington Post notes that channelling the memory — emotion of the chords, melody or even vocals — boosts the motivational power of the song and has been shown to improve physical performance. So the tennis players walking out on to centre court don’t just wear Beats for show; they’re pumped up based on science.
The Faster The Better
Studies have shown that music with moderately fast tempo (120-140bpm range) increase athlete’s efforts. This doesn’t mean too fast, as this can actually hinder performance. Simply deposit your house, trance, trap and hip hop bangers straight into your bank of workout music.
Matching The Beat
For exercises involving repetition, music can provide a platform to help you keep pace. In this sense it’s not really boosting your physical power or strength, but rather maintaining your focus and motivation through providing rhythm and a marker.
Picking Your Playlist
Looking at the above points, there is no real right or wrong when nailing down a good playlist. Mixing up your playlists is just as important as mixing up your exercise routine.
Whether it’s lifting more, running more… or just doing more, as long as the music strikes your chords and is of decent tempo, it is bound to add an extra dynamic to your workout and boost your physical performance.