How Does Music Affect Your Workouts?
Imagine this... You get to the gym. Its Leg Day, you’re feeling good, and you’ve had your pre-workout. YOU ARE READY TO CRUSH IT.
You walk in.
You get your squat rack.
You reach for your headphones.
And you forgot them.
YOUR WORKOUT IS RUINED.
Why is it that some of us gauge the success of our workouts based off the music that we listen to? I’ll be honest guys; I don’t NEED to listen to my own music while I'm training BUT it helps.
Let’s get down to the science of it though. Why do we FEEL better when we are listening to that one kickass song? Studies on this topic date back to 1911, American investigator Leonard Ayres found that cyclists pedaled faster while a band was playing than when it was silent. Since then the research has only expanded. Let’s break it down into the two most important qualities of workout music:
- Rhythm response
Now most people you know, including yourself will notice when you hear that one awesome song that your body responds to it. Whether it’s a foot tap, head nod, or slight swaying. There’s even a certain BPM that causes this response from us, it’s 120 Beats Per Minute (BPM). That’s the sweet spot for us and according to an analysis of 74,000 songs, 120BPM is the most prevalent pulse.
120BPM may be the most prevalent but it seems that the higher intensity of the workout, the higher intensity BPM is required for your body to really FEEL it. For example, when running on a treadmill 160BPM is a sweet spot to get you through those miles (if you’re into that kind of thing...weirdo).
Music helps us find a rhythm in whatever movement we are in. Let’s break it down further though. Music evokes emotion and that’s the most powerful thing about it. Recent studies suggest that—even if someone is sitting perfectly still—listening to enjoyable music increases electrical activity in various regions of the brain important for coordinating movements, including the supplementary motor area, cerebellum, basal ganglia and ventral premotor cortex. Guys, think about it this way: when you hear a loud noise what's the first thing that happens? You jump. Our bodies are pretty much programmed to move with music.
There are some people who may not train with headphones and that’s maybe because they enjoy the gym music (yeah...right) or they're able to get their head in the game. As where some of us need that extra push to really dig deep and music helps!