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Use Music To Push Yourself Beyond!

Updated on February 11, 2013

What Are Others Listening Too?

What Is Your Favourite Genre Of Music To Workout To?

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Setting The Tone.

Excusing the cliché title, music is a great way to get yourself prepare for a task or workout mentally. Dr Costas Karageorghis, a UK researcher, of Brunel University published a study that claims using the right music previous to, and during a workout can increase your performance by a a staggering 20 percent! Wow, that is a lot. An iconic example of this, is an experiment conducted in 2009 with a group of basketball players, it is said that their performance during a high pressure game was poor, however after they all listened to Monty Python's, 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life,' there performance had increased drastically, coming back to not only win the game, but go on to win the tournament as well. Maybe a coincidence, maybe not. Either way. I believe that music helps. Dr Karageorghis states that, "Music is like is a legal drug for athletes. It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance." When worded in such a manner it seems almost obvious. This happens to be a favourable quote of mine. Reminding me I can put in more effort.

Regardless of whether it scientifically makes a difference to your performance, everyone has difference tastes in music and what makes someone push out a couple more triceps dips may not lead to the same result for another. However, there is a certain methodology behind what kinds of music to listen to during different sections of your workout.

For argument's sake, I am going to split a typical workout into several different categories, these are;

  1. Warm-Up
  2. Building The Sweat Up
  3. Tiring, struggling to get that extra repetition, or run that extra mile.
  4. Warm-Down

It goes without saying that, not all workouts will follow this precise guideline and that this is only a general guide to fit the majority of workouts.

The Warm-Up

Not to dive into the vast depths of why warming up is important too far, but if you are not warming up for exercising it will very negative impacts on the performance you output in the duration of the workout, not to mention the significantly increased chance of injury.

Anyway... I am a firm believer that the warm-up should be lighthearted music, which slowly building over time. Personally, I have two maybe three songs in my warm- up duration. Which will last me just a touch over ten minutes. I will try to be generic as well with my recommendations here. A personal favourite is to listen to motivational speeches during my warm-up, ones which build up in tempo are perfect. A prime and well-used example of this, is just to the upper right of this text block, forget the video... Just download the MP3 of it. When I am stretching, skipping, just generally warming up, I find that hearing someone talking about being the best you can be helps significantly to put my mind into the right attitude to really reap the maximum benefit from the workout. Another optimising example of this type of music is located just under the previous, this Bruce Lee speech has been re-mastered and edited. The wording is brilliant, the sentences are powerful. They really will set you up mentally to take yourself to the next level. Other examples of Warm-Up music are as follow;

  • Stairway To Heaven - Led Zepplin
  • Braveheart Theme Song - James Horner
  • The Bridge of Khazad Dum - Howard Shore
  • Memory of Trees - Enya
  • Burning Heart - Survivor

The most important thing at this point is to set yourself up mentally for the workout, so chose something which relates to you, choose something where you can feel a connection with the music.


Building Up The Sweat

During the first few miles, sets or whatever exercise you may be doing, it is important to keep up the tempo and keep going. Here is where I believe personal preference comes into play more so than the previous area of the workout.

If running, rowing, cycling, performing any sport with a series of repetitive movements, such as these examples, I would recommend listening to a play list with a good beat to it, something which will keep you pushing forward. You can also try to time your exercising to the beat of the music, this is very effective in pushing that little bit extra, because as long as the music is still playing you still want to push yourself. Here are some examples that will hopefully a wide style of genres, including some of my own personal choices;

  • Basshunter - Now You're Gone (Album, as all songs on there are upbeat and have amazing tempo)
  • Eminem - Space Bound
  • Safri Duo - Bongo Song
  • Inna - Hot
  • Selena Gomez - Naturally
  • John Farnham - You're The Voice
  • John Parr - St Elmo's Fire
  • Creed - Higher
  • 3 Doors Down - Kryptonite
  • Scooter - No Matches
  • Edward Maya - Stereo Love

Hopefully there will be a few within this list which you can also relate to and put to efficient use. This stage should consist of really making yourself motivated to carry on exercising as hard as you possibly can, to reap the best results.


Tiring and Struggling

As common knowledge serves us, this is the stage where you will see the results from. This is where the calories burnt rate improves and the muscles endurance improves. This is why you need to listen to the most inspiring and motivational songs, which you can relate to in order to push out that extra repetition or that extra mile, dependant on the exercise being performed.

Here are some examples and some personal choices;

  • Robert Tetterson - No Easy Way Out
  • Nelly - Heart of a Champion
  • Eminem - Till I Collapse
  • Linkin Park - In The End
  • Fort Minor - Remember The Name
  • Dr Dre - I Need A Doctor
  • Pendulum - The Vulture
  • Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
  • Prodigy - Warrior's Dance
  • Jay-Z / Linkin Park - Numb / Encore
  • DJ Khaled - Go Hard
  • Roy Jones Jr. - Can't Be Touched
  • Lil' Wayne - Drop The World
  • 30 Seconds To Mars - The Kill

The songs which you choose within this play list need to make you want to burn out every muscles in your body, they need to make you feel like you can take on the world, for it is only at this point of mental positioning that you will really see the improvements to your current workout.


Cool - Down

Without going into the, 'nitty gritty,' about how important it is for you to cool down after training, I will mention that if you are not cooling down, then you need to be, as much as 30 percent of your potential results could be taken away without a proper cool down in place.

Anyway onto the music...

During this stage, your muscles should be throbbing and you should have sweat dripping. Most people will turn the music off at this point and jump straight into a shower... Please do not do this. Stretch those muscles off, relieve the lactic acid build up, and gently bring your heart rate back to normal. The music choices at this point are again down to personal preference, however I would fully recommended something you find relaxing and mentally soothing. For this reason, I find instrumentals work brilliantly as well as songs which symbolised completion, like those used within the Rocky films. Here are some examples, including some personal preferences of mine;

  • The Last of the Mohican - Michael Mann
  • Gonna Fly Now - Rocky Soundtrack
  • Everything - Lifehouse
  • Without Me - Breaking Benjamin
  • Always - Bon Jovi
  • Another One Bites The Dust - Queen
  • 1973 - James Blunt

It is difficult to choose examples of these songs as everyone has their own internal play list when it comes to songs which calm and cool them down. Anyway, this music will allow to return your breathing to a steady pace, but most importantly it will give you time to stretch off the muscles and gradually cool down... Only then should you go and jump in the shower.


At this point, you have completed your workout, and you should be feeling fulfilled and content at the moment, triggering all them endorphins around the body to make you feel good. Remember this feeling, remember how good it feels. This is what you need to be aiming for with every workout.

You have achieved. Reap that self fulfillment out of each and every exercise, using that music to give you that extra motivation and determination needed to reach your goals.



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    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 

      5 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Hi there! Welcome to Hubpages! This was a good read, an interesting Hub. Voted up and interesting. Hubpages is a good writing site, so I hope you will be happy here! I hope to see you around, so have a good day!


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