Is there a scientifically proven “best” type of music to work out to? Is rock better than rap? Or maybe fast-bumping house music? – Dan S, Topeka, KS
There is an ideal workout music, says Costas I. Karageorghis Ph.D., a sport psychologist at Brunel University London and author of Inside Sport Psychology—but it’s not really a question of genre.
Rather, if you want to motivate yourself, the best workout music touches you personally—such as, say, the theme from your all-time favorite action movie. “When I hear Bill Conti’s ‘Gonna Fly Now,’ the theme from the Rocky film series,” Karageorghis says, “I feel as though just about anything’s possible in the gym.”
Of course, you can’t go wrong cranking up a playlist of “fast, loud, rhythmical, percussive, bass-driven music,” Karageorghis adds. “It’s particularly good for psyching yourself up before a weight-training session.” Also good: music of 130 to 140 beats per minute, such as Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment”. And go for upbeat lyrics, too.
To recap: Use what moves you and steer clear of any broody Radiohead. Got it?