THE ultimate exercise playlist. According to science.

So, what do you listen to when you exercise?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that exercise is infinitely made better by music.

After all, the right exercise playlist can…

– Motivate you

– Distract you from any workout-related pain you might be experiencing (running, anyone?!?)

– Make you fitter

– Potentially even cure heart disease. I KNOW.

But there’s a lot involved in developing the perfect exercise playlist. You have to trawl through all your songs and cancel out everything ballad-y or slightly depressing. No Whitney Houston or Air Supply up in here. Then, you have to find songs with a particular tempo and uplifting lyrics, and arrange them in the perfect order: pump-up songs, songs to pick you up during a lull, going-over-the-imaginary-finish-line songs…

Lots of effort. And a serious problem if, like me, your iPod contains almost nothing but a couple of Pink Floyd albums and several random songs from Disney movie soundtracks.

But now, all our exercise-music-related-problems have been sorted by sports psychologists from London. They’ve gone and discovered the perfect music for every workout.

This from the UK press:

They found that rap music provides the best beats per minute for stretching and running, while dance music is more suited to strength training.

Pop music is best used during warm up and cool down, but rock music should be avoided during exercise due to frequent changes in tempo that can affect your rhythm.

You see, it’s all to do with BPM – a beat range used in music that needs to match up with whatever strides you’re taking during your workout. For running, the ideal BMP is 75 to 95, which is generally a beat range typically used in rap music

The clever sports psychologists took this BPM measurement and proceeded to analyse a ridiculous 6.7 million Spotify “workout” playlists… all to come up with the perfect playlist for a good workout. I KNOW.

It includes songs for mental prep, stretching, cardio training, strength training and a warm down.


Here’s the playlist:

– Roar by Katy Perry

– Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo

– Skip To The Good Bit by Rizzle Kicks

– Get Lucky by Daft Punk ft. Pharrel Williams

– Move by Little Mix

– Need U 100% by Duke Dumont

– You Make Me by Avicii

– Timber by  Pitbull ft Ke$ha

– Applause by Lady Gaga

– Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton

– Happy by Pharrell Williams

– The Monster by Eminem ft Rihanna

– Burn by Lorde

– Love Me Again by John Newman

– It’s My Party by Jessie J

– Burn by Ellie Goulding

So – add all of the above to your exercise playlists. I’m happy to see that “Timber” is there (ashamed as I am to admit it, it’s my current favourite. So is “Happy” but I’m not embarrassed about that one.)

And if you’d like some further inspiration for other songs to add to your playlist, check out my ultimate exercise playlist here (there are some seriously good comments containing plenty of suggestions).

Finally, if you’re really stuck, there are some genius apps out there for workout music. Podrunner is a good one, and TempoRun is another that syncs the beat of your workout with the tempo of the music in your music library or on Soundcloud.

What songs are on your exercise playlist?