Is Your Music Sabotaging Your Workout?
Get Up by Ciara.
For those unfamiliar with the song, just take my word for it, it is a BANGER to do some abs to. The beat just syncs with the reps so perfectly.
But enough of my song recommendations. I just wanted to express that I can NOT stomach going through a workout without my headphones. Especially if the alternative is the gym’s 80s throwbacks.
Seriously, who up in corporate thinks anyone wants to squat to Love Shack?
But there are some people who swear that listening to music is more of a distraction, makes your breaks between reps longer and overall makes for a less effective workout. But how true is this?
Let’s look at some science.
Does Music Make Your Workouts Better?
A study published in 2019 was conducted by the University of British Columbia. They had 8 adults listen to an educational podcast, 8 adults listen to sick jams (one song they used was Linkin Park’s “Bleed It Out” which is on my own workout playlist) and 8 adults listen to no audio while working out.
These adults didn’t lift weights, keep in mind, but they did a version of HIIT (high intensity interval training) that used sprinting. Basically, they sprinted as fast as they possibly could for 20 seconds with 2-minute breaks in between and went for 3 rounds.
The researchers then measured the subjects’ enjoyment, power output, heart rate and perceived exertion (how hard the workout felt).
As could be assumed, the music had the highest levels of enjoyment compared to podcasts or no audio. And, interestingly, there was no change in how hard the workout felt no matter what the participants listened to.
However, those listening to music while working out had slightly higher heart rates and power output.
From these results, it can be safe to conclude that music may not make your workout feel easier, but can make you put out more power, raise your heart rate more and make the workout just more fun.
Should You Listen to Music While You Workout?
I could not find any research that measured whether or not music helps while lifting weights, but there’s no research that shows that it hurts performance either.
Also, given further studies that show that music also helps improve endurance workouts along with HIIT, it can be a safe bet to say this benefit also applies to weight training.
I mean, the boys at my college athletic program seemed to think so. Having a non-soundproof office right in the middle of the weight room of the football team was NOT easy.
The bottom line?
It looks like the next time someone tries to tell you you shouldn’t listen to your music at the gym, you can pull off those headphones and tell them science is on your side with this one.
Studies do indeed show that listening to music while working out does make your workouts better.
Just try to choose music that you enjoy that fits the vibe of the type of workout you’re doing to get the most out of it.
Wanna see my ever-changing workout playlist? Go ahead, judge me..
If you already have your playlist geared up, but need a training program to go along with it, you can download my 7-day routine here.
And remember…Get Up by Ciara ft. Chamillionaire. Core day. You won’t regret it.