Best Workout Songs: Feel the Burn… And the Rhythm

best workout songsGetting ready to hit the gym (or workout at home) but not sure what songs to put on your super sweet workout mix? Don’t worry, because we’re here to help. Whatever types of workouts you’re planning to do and whatever kinds of music you may be into are all covered in the following lists. From warmup to cool down and everything in between, we’ve got you covered with the inspirational jams that’ll have you dropping the pounds and help you when you hit the wall.

The songs listed are of all types of genres, new and old, as well as different tempos, or rhythms. Different exercises as well as how experienced you are at a certain exercise you are will demand faster or slower songs. In the case of cardio, you may want to start off with slower songs then gradually increase to faster ones to get a really good workout. Whatever you’re into music or exercise-wise, we’ll help you get started sound-tracking your workouts.

Why Listen to Music While Working Out

Almost everyone loves music, but certain types of music are appropriate for certain situations, and working out is not different. Here’s a few reasons why music goes so well with working out and a few guidelines for making that special playlist for your gym sessions.

  1. It’s distracting. Music can make you less aware of your intense physical exertion. Music has been shown to increase athletic performance by 15% and this boost in effort is great for your workout and overall health.
  2. It increases your effort. Music with 120-140 beats per minute (bpm) and other faster music has been proven to increase the exertion of both cyclists and moderate exercisers.
  3. It puts you “in the zone“. This may be referred to as “The Rocky Effect”. Listening to “Eye of the Tiger” just makes you wanna run around in sweats and punch hanging pieces of beef in a meat locker. If a certain song gets you pumped up, put it on before you hit the gym and you’ll be raring to go.
  4. The rhythm helps to keep pace. Rhythm is important in self-paced exercises such as running and weight lifting. Having an appropriate rhythm already in place will help you use energy more efficiently and help you keep in time. Also remember to stay away from music with shifting time signatures like some types of rock music, because the time changes may throw you off your pace.
  5. It puts you in a good mood. If you’re in a bad mood when you go to the gym or put on your running shoes, put on a song that will raise your spirits and you’ll find working out to be much less of a chore.
  6. It gets you moving. Ever heard of “getting into the groove”? Music just makes you want to move and this movement might get you into a workout-friendly state of mind (and body).

Warmup

The warmup is the first part of any good workout. In order to not overexert yourself, you want to start off by slowly stretching out and raising your pulse to prepare your body for the work it’s about to do. During the warmup, you want to play music that has an expectant energy to it and also with regular rhythmic patterns, like pop music.

  • Candy Everybody Wants – 10,000 Maniacs
  • Nothing to Worry About (Jocko for Teddybears Remix) – Peter Bjorn and John
  • Running – Jully Black
  • Today I Started Loving You Again – Bobby “Blue” Bland
  • I Like the Way  – Bodyrockers
  • Rasputin – Boney M.
  • Smalltown Boy (Club Trax version) – Bronski Beat
  • Ta Tienne – Carla Bruni
  • Saltwater (Original Radio Edit) – Chicane
  • Viva La Vida – Coldplay
  • Clocks (Dance Remix) – Coldplay
  • Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Soak Up the Sun – Sheryl Crow
  • She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult
  • Listen to the Music (DJ Malibu Mix) – The Doobie Brothers
  • Take it Easy – The Eagles
  • Calabria 2007 Club Mix – Enur
  • Stop! (Vince Clarke Sync 82 Remix) – Erasure
  • Ride Like the Wind (54 Remix Edit) – Fab
  • Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Naturally (Dave Aude Radio Remix) – Selena Gomez and the Scene
  • One Day – Delta Goodrem
  • Welcome to the Jungle – Guns ‘n Roses
  • Just a Ride – Jem
  • Let it Happen – Jimmy Eat World
  • Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  • Channel Kgbs (TNT Remix) – the KGB’s
  • Professional Killer – KMFDM
  • Telephone (DJ Dan Extended Vocal Remix) [feat. Beyonce] – Lady GaGa
  • No Love Lost – LCD Soundsystem
  • You Crack Me Up – Huey Lewis and the News
  • Jump – Madonna
  • Crash (Remix) – Dave Matthews Band with Incubus
  • Ride Like the Wind – Michael Mind
  • Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough – New Radicals
  • Hey Ya! – Outkast
  • Taxi (Original Mix Edit) – Simon Patterson
  • Get the Party Started – Pink
  • Good Vibrations (Workout Remix) – Power Music
  • When I Grow Up – Pussycat Dolls
  • Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
  • Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones
  • Chant – Xavier Rudd
  • I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ (Radio Edit) – Scissor Sisters
  • To the Club (Highpass Radio Cut) – Spankox
  • Black & Gold (Marcussen Album Version) – Sam Sparro
  • Let’s Dance – Chris Rea
  • Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
  • ChainLightning – Steely Dan
  • Bounce with Me – Kreesha Turner
  • 867-5309 – Tommy Tutone
  • Beautiful Day – U2
  • Going Wrong (DJ Shah feat. Chris Jones) – Armin van Buuren
  • In and Out of Love (feat. Sharon den Adel) – Armin van Buuren
  • Unforgivable (First State Remix feat. Jaren) – Armin van Buuren
  • 100% Pure Love – Crystal Waters

Cardio

Starting off with songs that have a lower bpm (slower tempo) then programming increasingly faster songs may be helpful with a cardio playlist. If you start off slow and build in speed and intensity, you’re gonna have a great workout. The songs in this list have their bpm listed next to them so you can program the most effective playlist possible.

  • Florida Georgia Line – Cruise – 74 BPM
  • 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa – We Own It (Fast & Furious) – 86 BPM
  • Maroon 5 – Love Somebody – 121 BPM
  • Need U 100% – Duke Dumont ft A*M*E – 124 BPM
  • You Make Me – Avicii – 125 BPM
  • Feel My Rhythm – Viralites – 128 BPM
  • Remember When – Chris Wallace – 128 BPM
  • You and I – Lady GaGa – 128 BPM
  • Timber – Pitbull ft Ke$ha – 130 BPM
  • Cups – Anna Kendrick (Pop Version) – 131 BPM
  • Closer – Tegan and Sara – 138 BPM
  • Applause – Lady Gaga – 140 BPM
  • Happy – Pharrell williams – 160 BPM

Weights/Strength Training

When you wanna blast your quads and truly feel the burn, you don’t want any wimpy Dido or Rihanna song to make you lose your focus – you want the heavy stuff in your ears as well as in your hands. These songs will get you to the place where you need to be to get ripped.

  • All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers
  • Blow Me Away – Breaking Benjamin
  • Break Stuff – Limp Bizkit
  • Down With The Sickness – Disturbed
  • Enter Sandman – Metallica
  • Ich Will – Rammstein
  • Links 2-3-4 – Rammstein
  • Lose Yourself – Eminem
  • No Pain No Gain – Scorpions
  • Points of Authority / 99 Problems – Linkin Park and Jay-Z
  • Sleep Now in the Fire – Rage Against the Machine
  • Thunderstruck – AC/DC
  • Till I Collapse – Eminem
  • We are the Champions – Queen

Running/Jogging

A person’s typical stride while running is 150-190 strides per minute. The songs with a bpm of half of this (75-95) would be perfect for running, and rap and hip-hop tend to have these tempos, and they don’t normally change up their rhythm, making those genres, and any others with those criteria, great for a jog.

  • We Are Young – Fun feat. Janelle Monáe
  • Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding
  • Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
  • I Could Be The One – Avicii vs Nicky Romero
  • Scream & Shout – will.i.am, Britney Spears
  • I Love It – Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX
  • Dancing On My Own – Robyn
  • Counting Stars – OneRepublic
  • Little Talks – Of Monsters And Men
  • Take a Walk – Passion Pit
  • Royals – Lorde
  • Doin’ it Right – Daft Punk
  • Shoes for Runnin’ – Big Boi
  • Real Love – Mary J. Blige
  • Cupid – Amy Winehouse
  • Remember the Time – Michael Jackson
  • Feel Me Flow – Naughty By Nature
  • Bounce That – Girl Talk
  • Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
  • Stop Stop – The Black Keys
  • Still Not a Player – Big Pun
  • Team – Lorde
  • All of the Lights – Kanye West
  • Ready for the Floor – Hot Chip
  • Runaways – The Killers

Cool Down

The cool down, along with the warm up, bookends the workout. Cooling down helps reduce soreness after a workout and consists of a gradual slowing down of the physical exertion rather than coming to an abrupt stop. The music for this part of your workout should be on the mellower side and encourage you to slow down both mentally and physically.

  • Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – 411
  • New York New York – Ryan Adams
  • Beautiful – Akon, Colby O’Donis, and Kardinal Offishall
  • The Fear – Lily Allen
  • Could I Be Your Girl – Jann Arden
  • Halo – Beyonce 
  • One – Mary J. Blige & U2
  • For One Night Only – Bodyrockers
  • This Woman’s Work – Kate Bush
  • Keep On Rising – Ian Carey
  • Over the Rainbow – Jason Castro
  • Sing for You – Tracy Chapman
  • Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
  • The Time of My Life – David Cook
  • Miami – Counting Crows
  • Sonata No. 14 in C/M (Moonlight Sonata) (Pem Stereo) – Depeche Mode 
  • Thank You – Dido
  • Tom’s Diner (feat. Suzanne Vega) – DNA
  • Stuttering – Fefe Dobson
  • May It Be – Enya
  • Unlove You – Elisa Estrada
  • One Thing – Finger Eleven
  • Angel – Flipsyde
  • You Found Me – The Fray
  • Turn Off the Light – Nelly Furtado
  • Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
  • I Can’t Dance – Genesis
  • Simplesmente (Tom Middleton Balearic Remix) – Bebel Gilberto
  • Here and Now – Great Big Sea
  • Old School – Hedley
  • All She Wants to Do is Dance – Don Henley
  • Afterglow – INXS
  • Closer to Fine – The Indigo Girls
  • Punta del Esta (Beach Mix) – Blake Jarrell
  • Wishing on a Star – Jay-Z
  • Just a Ride – Jem
  • Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
  • Shy Guy – Diana King
  • Beautiful Girls – Sean Kingston
  • The House that Built Me – Miranda Lambert
  • What a Day (2008) – Greg Laswell
  • Lightning Crashes – Live
  • Paper Planes (DFA Remix) – M.I.A.
  • Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIsaac
  • Yellow Brick Road – Raine Maida
  • Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You – Madonna
  • Birmingham – Amanda Marshall
  • Stereo Love – Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina
  • Ice Cream – Sara McLachlan
  • Head over Feet– Alanis Morissette
  • Apologize (Workout Remix) – OneRepublic
  • Music of the Night – Phantom of the Opera (Original London Cast)
  • Bad Day – Daniel Powter
  • Kiss – Prince
  • Latika’s Theme – A.R. Rahman and Suzanne
  • Wildcat – Ratatat
  • Rehab – Rihanna
  • The Bike Song – Mark Ronson and the Business International
  • All the Things You Never Wanted – Pierson Ross
  • Sorry – Gordie Sampson
  • Drowning – Saving Abel
  • Down (feat. L’il Wayne) – Jay Sean
  • Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (feat. Freshlyground) – Shakira
  • It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy
  • Breathe Me – Sia
  • For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
  • Closer (Original Mix Edit) – Susana, Omnia and The Blizzard
  • Love Story – Taylor Swift
  • Indra – Thievery Corporation
  • Santa Monica – Theory of a Deadman
  • Khaleegi Stomp – Transglobal Underground
  • Black Magic – Kreesha Turner
  • Moving Mountains – Usher
  • Hard Sun – Eddie Vedder
  • Africa (feat. Culture) – Karl Wolf
  • Dear God – XTC

Depending on the type of workout you’re doing and the kind of music you happen to like, you can find that perfect mix of inspiring music you actually want to hear as well as a workout that fits your needs and abilities. These songs may not be everyone’s cup of tea. They’re meant to be a guideline for what tempo and type of songs are good for specific workouts and the frame of mind you want to be in when you begin that particular exercise. Find music with rhythms that challenge you but won’t overdo it. Both music and exercise are two of the most rewarding things people can partake in, so no matter what, don’t forget to enjoy yourself.