What’s Playing?

When you enter the gym what is one of the first things you do?

For myself and others it involves selecting the right playslist, the motivational plethora (it means many :P) of tracks that will hopefully help me reach my PR on the squat… Yes that’s right, you need to train legs, even if you compete in Men’s Phsyique (they are there somewhere, only kidding). But on a serious note, is there any scientific proof between the genre of music played and the body’s reactional response and by that an improved output on the gym floor?

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Lafaille, event competitor, performs a squat in the 2015 Yokota Powerlifting Invitational held in the Samurai Fitness Center at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 21, 2015. The invitational judged the abilities of Lafaille and his competitors in the bench press, deadlift and squat exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

There are many genres of music; R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock, Classical and even Opera amongst many others. But scientifically what gives the best results?

For many, hard rock or motivational Hip-Hop is what sets the mind in the all or nothing mind-set that helps you attain that mystical extra rep. There are times when you wont touch that squat rack until you find a decent song, I get you.

Now, let’s not stray away from the importance of completing this set. Many people go to the gym, but not everyone actually knows how muscle really develops. It is damage construed against the muscles in any given period (which can be reparied and built-upon) and this is how muscle develops. The repairing part or recovery of the muscle is important; if the msucle does not fully recover then you’re ‘spinning your wheels’. However, the more damage that can be done (and repaired) within the same period will lead to more growth, which at the end of the day is what all fitness enthusisasts want to attain. So half-a**ing in it in the gym is leaving possible muscular growth behind.

Back to the importance of music..

Scientifically music has been proven to decrease blood pressure (Sutoo.D and Akiyama.K), however the type of Music played was classical (Mozart) so not your typical hard-rock style. Other studies showed music can increase excercise output when compared to not having any music at all, but the genre (motivational to non-motivational) showed no differences (Elliott.D et al). So realistically those extra five minutes spent by the squat rack finding that song isn’t really worth it, so stop procrastinating! Next time when you enter the gym give classical music a try and see where it gets you. But hey personally I will probably stick to my 90s pop, only kidding…(well,maybe).

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1. Sutoo.D and Akiyama.K “Music improves dopaminergic neurotransmission: demonstration based on the effect of music on blood pressure regulation” Brain Research 2002
2. Elliott.D et al “The effect of motivational music on sub-maximal exercise“(2007)

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