The Psychology of Workout Music

If you do any kind of exercise, you’ll know that music can make your workout go much better. But how much to we really understand how music helps with our excercise sessions?  From the BBC:

Perhaps you have a favourite playlist for going to the gym or the park. Even if you haven’t, you’re certain to have seen joggers running along with headphones in their ears. Lots of us love to exercise to music, feeling like it helps to reduce effort and increase endurance. As a psychologist, the interesting thing for me is not just whether music helps when exercising, but how it helps.

One thing is certain, the answer lies within our brains, not the muscles we are exercising. A clue comes from an ingenious study, which managed to separate the benefits of practicing a movement from the benefits of training the muscle that does the movement. If you think that sounds peculiar, several studies have shown that the act of imagining making a movement produces significant strength gains. The benefit isn’t a big as if you practiced making the movement for real, but still the benefit of thinking about the movement can account for over half of the benefit of practice. So asking people to carry out an imaginary practice task allows us to see the benefit of just thinking about a movement, and separates this from the benefit of making it.

Continue reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “The Psychology of Workout Music

  • June 20, 2013 at 11:54 pm
    Permalink

    I always wondered why gyms always played garbage. It`s almost like they want us to fail- which is good for the personal training business…

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.