Can Music Really Make Me Stronger?

You may have experienced this scenario at one time or another: you’re running down the street, finishing up your morning jog before you head off to work for the day, yet for some reason you feel like something is lacking — your performance is sub-par today.

‘Why does this workout feel extra difficult,’ you ask yourself as you huff and puff your way to the intersection and hit the last crosswalk button between you and your final destination. A bus pulls up to the stop light next to you, its brakes screeching to a halt, and you suddenly realize what’s missing. Music!

Do you ever feel like listening to music during exercise helps you increase your performance? Are there certain kinds of music that get you moving more so than others? Music has been shown in multiple cases to increase strength and stamina during exercise.

According to the National Strength & Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) July issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the importance of Self-Selected Music (SSM) is often overlooked by novice gym-goers.

Defined as an “ergogenic aid,” music is considered “an external influence with the ability to increase capacity for bodily or mental labor especially by eliminating fatigue symptoms” (NSCA, p. 1934). Other ergogenic aids might include your type/amount of clothing, caffeine, steroids and/or imagery.

While we don’t recommend improving your performance by guzzling down three cups of coffee sweetened with steroids as you buzz around naked watching trees float by, we do wholeheartedly believe that selecting your favorite music during a workout will noticeably improve your mood, your explosivity during exercise, and your overall efficiency in performance.

Positive outcomes associated with diverting your attention to your soundtrack include: decreased ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs), increased performance measures, improved mood, and increased arousal — all of which are most beneficial under the influence of self-selected music (SSM) versus any old other tune (NSCA, p 1934).

During a study examining the effects of SSM on “strength, explosiveness, and mood during an acute bout of exercise in resistance trained college men,” (NSCA p. 1935), the most significant change was recorded as an increase in acute explosive power, suggesting that SSM increases explosive exercise performance and acute power (NSCA, p. 1937).

All studies aside, let’s be honest. Listening to music during a workout just makes the whole situation much more FUN. We recommend choosing a tempo of 128+ bpm (beats per minute) for cardio exercise, and around 115-125 bpm for your strength routines.

So, what kind of music do you prefer to sweat to?

Share your favorite workout tracks or albums, including the Name of Song/Album, Artist and Genre! We want to know what’s been gracing your earbuds lately — help us compile one killer music archive to choose from by writing your favorites in the comments section below!

Healthy Habits,
The Super Sisters


Works Cited: Biagini, Matthew S., Lee E. Brown, Jared W. Coburn, Daniel A. Judelson, Traci A. Statler, Martim Bottaro, Tai T. Tran, and Nick A. Longo. “Effects of Self-Selected Music on Strength, Explosiveness, and Mood.” The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 7th ser. 26 (2012): 1934-937. Print.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *