Nobody really likes exercising, do they? Okay, maybe some do, but for most people it’s a chore rather than a hobby. A necessity rather than a pleasure.
Thankfully, there is a way to make the whole experience slightly less painful (at least for your brain, if not your muscles): just listen to some music. Believe it or not, there is actually solid scientific research behind this; a psychology researcher at Brunel University London found listening to tunes can improve your endurance by up to 15 percent.
“When you are exercising at low to moderate intensity, music can reduce your idea of how hard you have to work. It could, therefore, make you try harder and perform better. Hearing music you associate with peak performance will fire areas of the brain that deal with your long-term memory. It can inspire you and help you shift up a gear.”
Dr Costas Karageorghis
In this article, we’ve tried to put together a list of the best Spotify playlists for working out to, whether that’s slogging through a jog on a cold morning or working up a sweat lifting weights in a gym.
1. Pump Up by Spotify
Half the battle of a successful workout is making sure you’re in the right frame of mind before you even set foot inside a gym.
So, whether you’re driving there in your car, walking there from your office, or just getting ready in the changing rooms, put this in your ears and get mentally prepared.
The songs themselves are varied; The Strokes’ Juicebox, Kanye West’s Stronger, and MGMT’s Electric Feel all feature.
2. Cardio by Spotify
As its name suggests, this is a playlist dedicated to helping you keep putting one foot in front of the other on a treadmill, no matter how difficult you might be finding it.
Its focus is very much on currently-charting music, and as it’s updated weekly you’ll always have something new to listen to. Artists you can expect to find here include Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Robin Schulz, and Lost Frequencies.
It maxes out at 50 songs, so if you plan to work out for more than two and a half hours (does anyone actually work out for that long?), you’ll need to look elsewhere.
3. Ultimate Dance Workout by Ministry of Sound
This playlist veers away from mainstream commercial dance pop artists and instead utilizes DJs from the famous UK record label’s stable.
Understandably, it’s entirely upbeat – there are no chilled out or slower tunes anywhere to be found. It features everything from dance classics like Tomcraft’s Loneliness through to mid-2000s house staples like Tom Novy’s Your Body.
The running time is a little over three and a half hours.
4. 80s Hard Rock by Spotify
If EDM and chart music aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps a few headbangers from the 80s hard rock scene will be more up your street?
They’re guaranteed to get your blood pumping; whether it’s the unmistakable tones of Jon Bon Jovi in Livin’ on a Prayer, the awesome electric guitar riffs of Ratt’s Round and Round, or just the general penchant for long hair, dodgy perms, and eating bats’ heads.
You’ll find 35 songs lasting two and a half hours.
5. Gym Strong by NikeWomen
In its description of this playlist, Nike claims this one is aimed at people who want to “lunge, jump, and squat their way to strength”.
It’s a nice mixed bag of tunes. There are hip-hop numbers such as G-Eazy’s Calm Down, up-tempo indie pop songs like Broods’ Free, and recent EDM releases from Zedd and Axwell. It hasn’t got any tunes with really high beats per minute (BPM), so it’s not suitable for high-intensity cardio.
With 225 songs, it’s a mammoth list that’ll keep you going for a number of weeks.
6. Operación Bikini by Spotify Español
When Summer approaches, lots of people want to get themselves in shape to hit the beaches of the Mediterranean or Caribbean.
This playlist has been curated with that in mind. It’s been made by the Spanish Spotify profile – that’s great because it means it includes quite a few Latino hits like La Pelopony’s Androgénico and Sofia Reyes’ Muevuelo – just the thing to get you in the mood for sun, sea, sand, and whatever else takes your fancy.
Of course, there are still hits from gym playlist regulars like Justin Bieber, David Guetta, and Inna.
7. Pulse CrossFit by Filtr
CrossFit has taken the fitness world by storm in the last couple of years. It’s a strength and conditioning program which puts a heavy emphasis on aerobic exercise, body weight exercise, and Olympic weightlifting.
This playlist by Filtr is designed to accompany your CrossFit exercises. It leans towards heavy basslines and thumping beats, the perfect combination to get you through the pain barrier.
Artists such as Krewella, Fedde Le Grand, AronChupa, and Hardwell are typical of what you’ll find here.
8. Indie Workout by Spotify
As should be expected, lots of gym-themed playlists focus on chart and dance music. This list takes things in a different direction, with a wide offering of post-2000 indie rock songs.
There are lots of well-known bands such as The Killers, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Queens of the Stone Age, but also more off-beat inclusions like Modest Mouse, The Walkmen, and Future Islands.
It’s also another bumper-sized list, with 296 songs adding up to 17 hours of music.
9. Hip-Hop Club Bangers by Digster
Sadly, the golden age of hip-hop has long since passed. Kanye West’s latest album, “The Life of Pablo”, can’t hold a candle to classics like “Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” or A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Low End Theory”.
Nonetheless, modern rap is still a popular genre and a well-worn soundtrack for gyms around the world.
If you find it’s the genre to get you motivated, this is the playlist for you. You’ll find hits like Drake’s Grammys, 50 Cent’s No Romeo No Juliet, and Nicky Minaj’s Truffle Butter.
10. Cool Down by Spotify
As any serious gym-goer will know, the cool-down at the end of a session is just as important as the warm-up at the start. And no, that doesn’t mean going to sit in the Jacuzzi with a glass of wine.
The songs on this list are slow-paced and geared towards relaxation – they’re all acoustic releases and devoid of lyrics. Frankly, tracks such as Enzo’s Castaway and Sublime Harmonics’ Dream With Me could easily send you to sleep.
There are 66 songs which last around four hours.
What Playlist Do You Use When Working Out?
Our list features 10 of the most popular and most subscribed-to workout lists, but there are lots more. For some people, high BPM and sultry tones from the likes of One Direction just don’t work.
We’d love you to share your favorite Spotify playlists for working out to, and give a sample of some of the songs and artists that it includes – maybe you’ve even created your own public playlist that you can share with your fellow readers? If so, let us know.
As always, you can leave your opinions and suggestions in the comments box below.
Image Credit: young woman athlete by Dean Drobot via Shutterstock