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The workout playlist backed by science

News — Posted 29/01/14

The best popular songs to get you fired up, each stage of your workout.

We all know the power music has to keep us feeling pumped and inspired throughout a workout – and now a scientist has created the ultimate playlist for your gym session.

The Ultimate Fitness Workout Playlist was designed by leading UK sports psychologist Dr Costos Karageorghis, drawing on his long-running research at London’s Brunel University into the psychological effects of music.

Teaming up with the popular digital music service Spotify, Dr Karageorghis analysed more than 6.7 million playlists containing the word ‘workout’ to select songs based not only on popularity and lyrical content, but also on rhythmic qualities, beats-per-minute (bpm) and other scientific principles geared towards optimal motivation and performance.

“Music helps to induce alpha brain wave activity which is responsible for our dreams and rest states,” Dr Karageorghis said. “This leads to a state known as 'flow,' which is an ultimate motivational state in which sportspeople are completely immersed in what they are doing and feel as if they are functioning on autopilot.

“Music lowers your perception of effort. It can trick your mind into feeling less tired during a workout and also encourage positive thoughts."

The playlist starts with warm-up and stretching tracks before moving in to cardio songs that gradually build in intensity. Then it transitions into songs for strength training and ends with mellower cool-down tracks. The music tempo is designed to match each phase of the workout – for example, Dr Karageorghis describes a “sweet spot” for cardio training and high intensity activity, located within a tempo range of 120-140 bpm.

Check out the full playlist below!

The Ultimate Fitness Workout Playlist

Mental Preparation
Roar by Katy Perry – 92 bpm 

Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo ft 2 Chainz – 100 bpm
Skip To The Good Bit by Rizzle Kicks – 105 bpm

Aerobic warm-up
Get Lucky by Daft Punk ft Pharrel Williams – 116 bpm
Move by Little Mix – 120 bpm

Cardio training
Need U 100% by Duke Dumont ft A*M*E – 124 bpm
You Make Me by Avicii – 125 bpm
Feel My Rhythm by Viralites – 128 bpm
Timber by Pitbull ft Ke$ha –130 bpm
Applause by Lady Gaga – 140 bpm
Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft Ray Dalton – 147 bpm
Happy by Pharrell Williams – 160 bpm

Strength training
The Monster by Eminem ft Rihanna – 110 bpm
Love Me Again by John Newman – 126 bpm
Get Down by Groove Armada ft Stush and Red Rat –127 bpm
#thatPOWER by ft Justin Bieber – 128 bpm
It’s My Party by Jesse J – 130 bpm
Play Hard by David Guetta ft. Ne-Yo and Akon – 130 bpm

Burn by Ellie Goulding – 116 bpm
Royals by Lorde – 85 bpm

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