Training With Music: How To Improve Your Workout

Training and Music – All You Need to Know

There’s a multitude of ways to optimise your bodybuilding training. Choosing your athletic nutrition is as much a part of this as is perfecting your workout routine. However, your favourite music can also have a positive impact on your performance. You’re probably already aware of the fact that music makes plenty of things feel easier. That’s more than just a subjective feeling – there is, in fact, a lot of truth to that. Continue reading to learn how you can use music to make the most out of each and every training session – before, during and after.

Warm-Up and Motivation

Music makes for the perfect choice when it comes to preparing yourself for a workout or a competition during the warm-up phase. Why is that? Music helps raise your respiratory and cardiac frequency to levels best suited for such activities. And that’s not all. Your mind benefits as much as your body does: listening to your favourite tracks puts you in a state in which your natural need for rest takes a back seat, effectively increasing your sporting prowess. Plus, music can positively affect your motivation. Songs you associate with attributes like speed or power promote endorphin distribution, giving you that extra bit of incentive to give it your all in the gym.

Music can also benefit you if you feel anxious, unsettled or nervous prior to a contest – it helps you focus and regain your positivity. This is the reason you see quite a few high profile athletes wearing headphones before an important match or competition – music is an integral part of their warm-up routine, both physically and mentally.

Music-Induced Power Boost

And what about listening to music during your workout sessions? There’s no simple answer to that as it depends on what your goals are. If you don’t enjoy stamina training (running etc.), music can somewhat alleviate your misery. Research conducted by scientists at Brunel University (London, 2008) shows that listening to motivating music while running, increases people’s willingness to keep running for longer – this applies to other endurance exercises as well. For this to work, rhythm and music tempo are crucial: insufficient beats per minute (BPM) slow you down, while too many BPM make you run yourself into the ground, quite literally. The sweet spot for endurance and cardio training lies between 150 and 180 BPM.

What if you’re doing strength training or focusing on bodybuilding? Music can give you a nice performance boost here as well. If you’re looking at exercises that aim for maximal strength and explosiveness, the right tracks will push you towards new heights. This is because of the fact that music interferes with your perception of the stress you put yourself under during such exercises – you don’t notice body signs like a racing heart or heavy breathing as distinctly as without music.

Does this mean that you should always work out listening to music? No! While the interference effect proves beneficial in the above cases, it can be a hindrance under different circumstances. After all, bodybuilding isn’t always about maximum power output and explosiveness, as you’re very well aware. If you’re focusing on doing your exercises cleanly and put the emphasis of your workout on the technical aspects of bodybuilding, music can divert your attention from what’s essential, and you don’t want that. That said, there certainly are songs that can improve concentration. Those would not be fast-paced heavy metal or techno songs as you can imagine – your songs of choice should be of a slower nature.

Strength Lies In Calmness

This popular saying also bears a lot of truth when it comes to the effect of music on your training routine. How does this fit together, you might ask. Very simple: during your cool-down session, used to bring your body back to normal after an intense workout, a throbbing 180 BPM isn’t the best choice for this period. That doesn’t mean that you have to cool down in silence though. Similarly to the effect that music has during warm up, the right tracks can also support your relaxation process and help you lower your respiratory system and heart frequency. Slow tracks with around 120 BPM are well-suited for this task.

Depending on your taste in music you can, for example, listen to ambient, low-tempo electro or slow pieces of classical music. Tracks with vocals aren’t the best choice as any spoken language is likely to distract you and thus interfere with your relaxation process. When it comes to the music’s volume, less is more for cool-down music as opposed to music you listen to when warming up – loud music gets you pumped, which is not what you aim for when you’re trying to relax.

So go ahead and compile a playlist, grab your headphones and get started – you’ll be surprised how much the right songs help you get both amped up and cooled down! 

Image source: iStock


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