Choosing the Perfect Workout Playlist

By Bryce Faddis via eReplacementParts

All of us have our own unique workout routine. For many, this means spending your lunches at the gym, working specific muscle groups or listening to your favorite songs. Music has become a necessary workout companion for most fitness nuts. And believe it or not, there are good reasons behind this phenomenon. Scientists have discovered a direct correlation between fast-paced music and a successful workout. The science can be broken down to explain that a song’s BPM (beats per minute) is directly correlated with your heart rate and overall workout performance. Take some time to create the perfect workout playlist and improve your workouts.

Choose Your Workout

The key to putting together a perfect workout playlist lies in the type of exercise with which you intend to use it. You will want to do your best to match up your heart rate with the beat of the song. So, if you must use your favorite Janet Jackson song, make sure the BPM is appropriate for your specific workout.

I’ve listed the BPM range you’ll want to use for the most common workouts below:

Running:

  • 5k: 130-140 BPM
  • 10k: 120-130 BPM
  • Marathon: 100-130 BPM

Weight Training: 80-130 BPM

Yoga/Pilates: 60-90 BPM

Calculating BPM

There are several different ways to calculate the BPM of a song. The simplest being to just count manually. However, for less rhythm-savvy people such as myself, there are several programs available for download on your media player’s app store and on the Internet that will automate the process for you. No matter the route you choose to find BPM of songs for your playlist, the end result should be the same.

If you do find that a song seems to be out of place, it probably is. Keep track of these songs, so you can remove them from your playlist when your workout is complete.

Before you attempt to build your own specialized workout playlist, I recommend using a sample playlist that can be found for free on the Internet. Using a pre-made playlist will give you a greater understanding of how the BPM of music can affect your workout. You’ll know what to include and what to leave out based on your personal preferences.

Putting Together Your Playlist

Once you have made the decision to make your own specialized playlist, you will need to consider the order in which you place each song. Once again, this varies depending on the type of workout you would like to achieve. For the sake of simplicity, you can plan on putting the highest-tempo (BPM) songs in areas of your workout where you need a lift. This is especially important for those tough minutes near the end of your routine. These power songs will help raise your heart rate and give you the energy to push past fatigue to complete your workout.

There is no single playlist that will work for everyone. You are bound to use a lot of trial and error to find what songs work best for you in your playlist. Do not get frustrated! The hard work will pay off with a greater drive and heightened energy to complete your workouts and achieve your ultimate goals.

Reaping the Rewards

Exercising is not intended to be easy. If you’re finding that it is, you’re either doing it wrong or not pushing yourself. However, by creating a personalized workout playlist focused on BPM, you are opening the possibility of achieving a better overall workout experience. And who knows, you might actually start enjoying the hardest part of your exercise routine.

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