Workout Playlist: The Best Songs for Getting Pumped About Pumping Iron

workout playlist
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‘Tis the season to hit the gym and atone for the past year’s various and sundry transgressions. The challenge, as always, comes in maintaining that physical fitness regime well past the repentance period that your mind feels your body deserves. This workout playlist has been audio-engineered to get you on that (insert your cardiovascular machine of choice) and keep you keeping on while simultaneously inspiring you to return again at another date. As beats- and bass-driven music lends itself to a heart rate-increasing activity, the mission of this mix is to take you through the journey of your exercise with fitness-related tunes. The intention is to get you going right out the gate, build up the tempo with the intensity of the thump, sustain that thumping stride to help you push through “the wall,” and then slowly let you down gently on the other side by fading ever so peacefully into your post-workout stretch.

Workout Playlist

The Breakdown

Following some motivational deep thoughts by Dr. Gene Griessman, M.A.N.D.Y., and Booka Shade’s classic 2005 track, “Body Language,” Shannon Saunders and Sonny Fedora’s “Over This” gets the blood pumping. This track has a good bouncy groove to help ease you into the shock of aggressively moving your body. Bonus: It also has our first beat dropout (or what I like to call the “think about it” part) around the 3:15 mark. These rhythm-challenged sections, along with breaks between songs, make for good spots to take a breather or a swig of water before gearing back up.

Our next highlight comes at the productive hands of the Stanton Warriors. Their hip-hop stomper “Get Up” ramps up the funk with Hollywood Holt and Ruby Gee blazing the way via their track crushing vocals. This tune, which harshly chastises dance floor wallflowers, does an excellent job of inspiring you to keep going and, indeed, get up.

A double dose of Ed Solo brings us a pair of dubbed out bangers in the form of “I Feel Like Jumpin (Krafty Kuts & Ed Solo Breaks Remix)” and “When I Was A Yout” (yes, there is no “h” in there). Ed Solo is best known for his work with fellow breakbeat slinger, Deekline, but on these tracks, he bumps up the rump-shaking good times with some thick layers of Jamaican sound system bass, while Marcia Griffiths and Skool of Thought do some top-notch toasting on top.

Best Workout Songs


“Road Trippin'” by Red Hot Chili Peppers “Going Up the Country” by Canned Heat “Put the Message” in the Box by World Party “Holiday Road” by Lindsey Buckingham “Ventura Highway” by America “Road Trip” by Chance Encounter
“On the Road Again” by Canned Heat “Running On Empty” by Jackson Browne “Range Life” by Pavement “Ride Like the Wind” by Christopher Cross “Take It Easy” by Eagles “Road Trippin’” by Band of Frequencies
“The Passenger” by Iggy Pop “Life in the Fast Lane” by Eagles “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads “Road Trippin’” (Punch Drunk Dub) by WD4D “Budapest” by George Ezra “Roadtrip” by Bassti
“Radar Love” by Golden Earring “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash “Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors “Roadtrip with the Homies” by Drips Zacheer “Summer Road Trip” by Relajacion y Guitarra Acustica “The High Road” by Broken Bells
“Runnin’ Down a Dream” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “All Right Now” by Free “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf “Roadtrips” by Raiza Biza “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson “Farther on Down the Road” by Taj Mahal
“Middle of the Road” by Pretenders “Go Your OwnWay” by Fleetwood Mac “Free Ride” by The Edgar Winter Group “Little Red Corvette” by Prince “Six Days on the Road” by Dave Dudley “Midnight Ride” by The Allman Brothers Band
“Can’t Get There From Here” by R.E.M. “Interstate Road Trip” by Steve Ronald Ouimette “Keep the Car Running” by Arcade Fire “Road Trip” by Samwise “King of the Road” by Roger Miller
“Stickshifts and Safetybelts” by Cake “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney and the Wings “Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers “On the Road” by Keep Shelly in Athens “Good to on the Road Back Home” by Cornershop

Immediately following is a sweet, undulating remix of Sarah Vaughan’s jazz standard “Fever.” U.K. producer and DJ, Adam Freeland, got the keys to the Verve Records vault, allowing him to turn this ode to the soaring temperatures produced from heated intimacy into a superb, movement-inspiring grinder. The track has a near perfect pace for plugging along at the gym, allowing your mind to free up while your body harmonizes with the beat.

“Running To The Sea (Pachanga Boys Remix)” by Röyksopp, featuring Susanne Sundfør, begins the wind-down section of the mix. Clocking in at 12:14, this sprawling voyage of a song is intended to help you hit that last stride of your workout (and maybe even get a little lost in it) before slowing down and letting your body ease itself back into more normalized, limited motion. The Pachanga Boys love to create enormous open spaces within their tracks and remixes, which allow the listener (or in this case, the fitness seeker) to drift off into a meditative, trance-like zone. With Sundfør’s soaring vocals and a chorus hovering over this cinematic song, you should feel a gentle decompression overtake your body.

On the heels of some quality down-tempo songs (including a unique electro-glitchy cover of Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” by Goldfrapp), we end with the life-affirming tracks “Stretch (You Are All Right)” by Tortoise and “Diet Of Water And Love (Manu Remix)” by Flunk. You’ve put your body through the ringer — gradually slowing down the pace and stretching everything out (as you drink water and feel love) will go a long way in helping you to avoid future injury.

Workout Inspiration

If you need some workout inspiration, check out fitness tips from celebrity trainer Corey Calliet, former bull rider Alex Fine, pro sports expert Mike Barwis, RUMBLE Boxing co-founder Noah Neiman, gladiator Lee Jimenez, and model Michael Markiewicz.

We’ve also got you covered on actual exercises — everything from low-impact training, the best arm workoutsbodyweight exercises perfect for men on the go, simple moves you can practice at your desk, and how to run in the cold. Not everybody is a gym rat. If you’d rather work out at home, you could use a gym-free fitness app. And don’t forget about recovery!

May this playlist help you keep your goals. Go get ’em, Tiger!

Article originally published January 22, 2018. Last update September 2018 to include more workout inspiration.

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