Fitness Music: Top 10 Exercise Music and Ultimate Workout Playlist

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

At home, at the gym or on the move: Music moves you. Music increases motivation. Music increases performance.
On that note: Spotify, a digital music service, has investigated the top workout sounds globally and for Denmark, Scandinavia, and presents the Spotify Top 10 DK list, check it out for inspiration, and their Ultimate Workout Playlist with tips for better workout music to ensure maximal training

iPhone løbMusic and workouts go hand in hand. “Jogging with our iPhones” by Ed Yourdon.

In this article Spotify, a global music service with over 20 million songs, about music, tempo and workout music, provides a Top 10 and a Ultimate Workout playlist.
I have added time, duration, my comment and links, so you can see the video, hear the music and make your own selection.

According to my own b r o a d taste in music: Almost all of these Top 10 list songs are fairly easy listening, popular music, for a wide audience (apart from some of the lyrics!) and several kinds of workouts … aka mainstream music (rock is missing).
The Ultimate Workout list is more special and diverse with both hot and not songs.

Top 10 Workout Tracks DK

1. Pitbull: “Timber”   3:35   130 BPM   Dance pop music, nice drive   ♥♥♥♥♥

2. Eminem: “The Monster”   5:19   110 BPM   Pop melodic hiphop   ♥♥♥♥♥

3. Contiez, Djuro Remix: “Trumpsta”   4:20   128 BPM   Monotonous electro  ♥♥♥♥♥

4. Jason Derulo (ft 2 Chainz): “Talk Dirty”  3:08  100 BPM  Ethnic poprap  ♥♥♥♥♥

5. Avicii: “Wake me up”   4:33   124 BPM   Dynamic dance pop country   ♥♥♥♥♥

6. Avicii: “Hey Brother”   4:19   125 BPM   Popular music pop country   ♥♥♥♥♥

7. Eminem: “Till I Collapse”   5:09   86 BPM    Insistent mm hiphop     ♥♥♥♥♥

8. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft RD: “Can’t hold us”  6:14  146 BPM  Pop/rap ♥♥♥♥

9. Martin Garrix: “Animals” (original)   3:12   128 BPM   Heavy/light electronica   ♥♥♥♥

10. Fort Minor: “Remember the Name”   3:49  85 BPM  Melodic hiphoppop   ♥♥♥♥♥

Training and music tempo

To optimize your workouts, it is preferable to choose music, that matches the kind of training you do. Check out (listen to) the number of beats per minute, BPM.
Check this by Googling the song followed by bpm (look for dj sites) or by clapping the base rhythm and counting every clap for a full minute.

BPM recommendations according to Spotify [my comments]:

Yoga : 60-80 BPM [or below, new age music without a beat]
Running, warm-up : 100 BPM [for a walk, above that for jogging warm-ups] Running : 120 og 180, mange løber bedst ca. 125 BPM [faster tempos are better] Spinning, warm-up : 120-130 BPM
Spinning, sprint : 180-190 BPM [music tempo (maybe), not cadence!]
Aerobics and other fast cardio workouts : 130-150 BPM [above 140 is better]

Find your own rhythm

You can find your own rhythm, movement speed, and the appropriote music (tempo) by counting how many movements or steps you do for a full minute. For running check this link: Run 2 Rhythm.

Globally Macklemore and Ryan Lewis top the list

Spotify has analyzed 6.7 million play lists and identified our favourite workout songs at the gym. Globally Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is number 1 with “Can’t Hold Us” followed by “Wake Me Up” by Avicii, “Till I Collapse” by Eminem and “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin.

Music and motivation

To get you going, get started working out, Spotify has worked together with Music in Exercise and Sport Group at Brunel University, London, to present the ultimate workout playlist. The list is based on songs with global popularity and songs, which are proven [yes, music with a certain speed and style improves performance] to make you berform better, due to their number of BPM, style and lyrics [mmmhhh, some of them…].

Professor Costas Karageorghis of the School of Sport & Education at Brunel University, tells: ”When you synkronize your movements to the music BPM, you also increase the intensity of your workout by increasing the effort by one or two BPM above normal capacity. This means, that you increase your work and as a result your fitness level over time, but the difference is so small, you will hardly notice.” 

The Spotify playlist is developed to match a workout with popular songs, first warm-up, then high intensity- [cardio] and strength training and finally cooldown music. It is meant to boost your motivation to last past the first weeks of january!

The playlist includes both motivating and less motivating songs, according to personal preference, so to get your own ultimate playlist, you may need to adjust it (I will).
The chosen songs are primarily for general fitness exercise and not for high-intensity interval training og heavy resistance training.
The cool-cown song must be missing, if it were meant to be last, because cool-down music should be slower than the rest … and < 100 BPM (or no beat) is best.

Spotify: Ultimate Workout Playlist

1. Katy Perry: “Roar”   4:30   90 BPM   [… not for my warm-up/list]

2. Jason Derulo (feat 2 Chainz): “Talk Dirty”   3:08   100 BPM   [o.k., nice ‘trumpets’]

3. Rizzle Kicks: “Skip To The Good Bit”   4:05   105 BPM   [Fun, interesting]

4. Daft Punk ft. Pharrel Williams: “Get Lucky”  4:08 116 BPM  [… for workouts?]

5. Little Mix: “Move”   3:44   112 BPM   [o.k. interesting, but for workouts?]

6. Duke Dumont ft. AME: “Need U 100%”   3:11   124 BPM   [Still great!]

7. Avicii: “You Make Me”   4:00   124 BPM   [yes! earlier hits better for workouts]

8. Viralites: “Feel My Rhythm”    3:35   125 BPM   [nope; (and hardsell video)]

9. Pitbull: “Timber”   3:35   130 BPM   [slow start, but nice partypop/rhythm]

9. Martin Garrix: “Animals” (original)   3:12   128 BPM   [super start, o.k./good]

10. Lady Gaga: “Applause”   140 BPM   [(nice style/look), music o.k.]

Do you have input or tips for workout music or even a top 10? Your comments are always welcome.

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