Heavy Metal: How The Music You Listen to Can Impact Your Performance

Posted by Ryderwear HQ on


We know that listening to a baseline heavier than your back squats is great for getting you in the zone, but it turns out that the right music can also pump up your performance, as well as the jam. Soundtracking your sweat has been proven to enhance your training and recovery for a number of years now, and it’s far more scientific than just having a favourite gym playlist. Whether you like to deadlift to some deep house or take in some ambient rhythms on rest day, music is more than just pleasing to the ear, it’s also performance-enhancing! Here’s how it works.

When you listen to your favourite music at the gym, it stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine, as well as lighting up the limbic system - the part of your brain that affects things like your heart rate and emotional state. This in turn can have a strong influence on your training and recovery efforts, showing that good music is more than just a vibe, it’s a performance enhancer. Here’s what happens when you add some rhythm to your reps & rest.

145BPM: Grammy’s | Drake


During your workout, it’s been shown that the right music can divert your mind from those sensations of fatigue you feel at the end of a set - so instead of focusing on the burn, you’ll end up focusing on the beats. This distracting effect can lower your perception of effort, promote a positive mood and cause you to feel less fatigued, helping you push for that extra rep for progressive overload. One study showed that listening to headphone music led to a 10% reduction in perceived exertion as well as significant reductions in heart rate, blood pressure and lactate. You read correctly - simply by listening to music, you can change the way your body reacts to exercise. It makes sense now why one of the world’s leading experts called music ‘a type of legal performance-enhancing drug’.

120 BPM: Blow | Beyonce


Whether it’s tapping your foot at your desk or striding in sync during your cardio, most people have an instinctive response to line up their movements with music. Turns out this is more than just your inner musician escaping, research also supports the theory that synchronising music with exercise can lead to increased levels of performance. The idea is that by aligning your movements with tempo and speed of music, the body essentially becomes more coordinated which allows athletes to perform more efficiently, which can result in greater endurance. If you’re wanting to match the tempo of your workout to your music, try something between 120-145 beats per minute - research shows there’s a ceiling effect on anything higher. In one study, participants who exercised in time with music required 7% less oxygen to do the same work, compared to training with background music or no music at all. There’s a reason why Olympic gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie set was able set world records when he synced his running time to Scatman

130BPM: Work (Remix) | A$AP Ferg

Music doesn’t just have benefits in the weight room. Low tones and slower tempos can have specific neurological effects which offer a deeper level of muscular relaxation, and over time this can boost your recovery efforts so you bounce back stronger. Music at 60 to 80 beats per minute is best for recovery & wellness, with minimal lyrics, percussive swings or fluctuations in sound. For maximum effect, get a pair of over the ear headphones - you’ll actually be able to feel the sub-bass frequencies!


Ryderwear HQ is your lifters library of the latest training, nutrition & mindfulness insights (as well as inside looks at our latest collections).

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