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Workout songs can help to power you through a difficult set and get you to a brand new PR, or can they? In this video, I’m going to look into whether or not the “bro-science” of listening to music during your workouts is actually helping you or hurting your gains in the long run. I will tell you this, not all music is created equal. Listening to the wrong workout songs can absolutely destroy your ability to get much out of your workouts and you would be better of with nothing but the sounds of silence.
To start, it helps to look at what the “bros” do. Often times, the biggest bros in the gym are the ones with the loudest tunes blaring from their headphones. Even if you had no intention of working out to Five Finger Deathpunch, you are going to have to since their music is blasting so loud that you can hear it all the way over at the squat rack when you’re sitting in front of the dumbbells half way across the gym.
But does it help? It actually does, but only if it is the right music you are listening to. Studies were conducted that had subjects listen to no music, their favorite music or music that they did not like. When their favorite workout songs played, they had a measurable increase in their output with strength and power increasing by up to 15 percent. When they played music they did not like however, the results were far worse. In fact, their strength and most importantly their focus was far less than it would have been had no music been playing at all.
So the choice of music is obviously important. Beyond that however is the fact that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing when it comes to listening to workout music. If your playlist consists of just your favorite songs that get you absolutely fired up and ready to knock down the walls of the gym, you can burn out faster than you intend to. The rate of perceived exertion is noticeably less when you listen to your faovirte workout tunes. This means, the effort you feel that you had to produce is not as high as it actually was. Your body is smarter than you however. You may have tricked it to get through that set with less difficulty but you will feel more exhausted the second that set concludes. This makes subsequent sets at the same intensity level become even more challenging.
So the best thing you can do is shuffle your workout songs to include some that get you up to an all time high with some songs that are a little bit of a step back from there to let your brain chill a bit. Even more however, if you use the cadence of the song you can find that you can increase your power output by not letting your rep speed diminish at it normally would as you fatigue. This is a very under rated and important element of training. Keep the dumbbells moving at the speed of the music for your entire set and you will find more powerful results from your training.
The bottom line is, workout songs are very individualistic. What works for you may not work for someone else, however when the music is right…all of it will work more than no music at all. The bro scientists are right in this case. Find your favorite songs and figure out a way to get them blasting through your earbuds in your next workout. Let the gains begin.
If you want a program that puts nothing but the latest in workout science into one step by step plan, head to and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System. See how avoiding what the bros do and sticking to what real science says can get you your fastest gains ever. Start training like an athlete today.
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