The right song can help you accomplish feats you never thought possible: push out one more rep, sprint up that hill, smoke your competition or bike an extra mile. But how? Research on the topic supports the claim that music can distract the exerciser from the pain and discomfort of the workout, reduce perceived exertion, elevate mood, increase arousal and aid in endurance through a desire to keep up with the tempo.
But what’s the best kind of music to exercise to? We’ve got an answer that might not surprise you: it depends. The right music for an individual is directly related to that individual’s music preference — and the memories and emotions the songs evoke.
READ MORE > TRAINERS FAVORITE … EXERCISES
As for me, it’s no secret I am obsessed with boy bands and the ‘90s, so the emotional response and drive I get from “Everybody,” by the Backstreet Boys is incomparable to any other!
To help you build your playlist, we polled other top trainers to see what songs get them in the zone.
The Song(s): “Numb,” by Usher; “Hurts,” by Emeli Sande; “Remember the Name,” by Ft. Minor; “Black Widow,” by Iggy Azalea/Rita Ora.
Why: When I run hill repeats, I have a few go-tos for tempo.
The Trainer: Kari Woodall, BLAZE Fitness and TRX Training
The Song: “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor
Why: It gives me goosebumps every time.
The Trainer: Tim DiFrancesco, former head strength and conditioning coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge.
The Song: Let me listen to any training sequence theme song from Rocky I, II, III or IV
Why: I grew up with that. I’m that old! Generally, most rock with a driving beat and good guitar will help me find another gear or rep.
The Trainer: Rich Hesketh, DECAMAN Athletics
The Song: “Tell Me,” by RL Grime & What So Not
Why: It’s got such a steady beat and it energizes me!
The Trainer: Marc Coronel, Open Mind Fitness, TRX and Trigger Point
The Song: “So am I,” by Ty Dolla $ign
Why: It has a great groove and creates a perfect training experience.
The Trainer: Alexandre Veret, master trainer for TRX Training and Les Mills
The Song: “Thunderstruck,” by AC/DC
Why: I would run thru walls after the guitar intro!
The Trainer: Steve Saunders, director of performance for the Baltimore Ravens and founder of Power Train Sports & Fitness
The Song: Another vote for “Thunderstruck,” by AC/DC
Why: There are not too many songs that get your heart racing before or during a set. For me it makes me push a little harder, dig a little deeper no matter what I am doing.
The Trainer: Mark Fitzgerald, strength and conditioning coach of the Anaheim Ducks
The Song: “Lose Yourself,” by Eminem
Why: It makes me take responsibility for my results.
The Trainer: Dan McDonogh, founder of ROOSTER RACING International
The Song: “Da Rockwilder,” by Method Man and Redman
Why: I can’t explain why a song that is almost 20 years old gives me goosebumps every time.
The Trainer: Trevor Anderson, owner of Better Every Day Performance Institute
The Song: “Don’t Sweat the Technique,” by Eric B and Rakim
Why: Takes me back to my days in the neighborhood walking with my headphones and tape player listening to hip hop on the way to sports practices trying to get focused for competition.
The Trainer: Michael Piercy, of THE LAB Performance and Sports Science and a master instructor for TRX Training
Did we miss your favorite? Please comment below with your go-to workout tune!