Skip to main content

The Best Workout Songs, According to Science

Have you tried working out without music? It’s boring. Researchers agree: Listening to music while exercising not only makes it more enjoyable, but it also increases stamina and motivates you to go farther and workout harder.

So let’s make a playlist. The co-founder of, Lauren Pufpaf, grabbed the AUX cable and helped us find the best workout songs according to science. scientifically curates the motivational playlists in workout apps, gyms, and studios like Tonal, Daily Burn, 8fit, Class Pass Go, Bowflex, Sworkit, and Myx Fitness.

First off, what scientifically makes a song perfect for exercise?

“Tempo and intensity drive the efficacy of a song for working out,” says Pufpaf. “The right tempo can improve performance drastically … preeminent researcher on the subject, Dr. Karageorghis, found that syncing music in time with a runner’s pace increases muscle endurance by 15%.”

Along with tempo, personal preference is key. “Songs we know and love naturally get us moving,” Pufpaf says.

How exactly does music prime the body for a killer workout?

First, it gets us pumped up.

Second, it makes us show up. “We recently did a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers and 66% said they’d skip a workout altogether if they couldn’t listen to music (forgot headphones, e.g.),” says Pufpaf. A 2015 study in Sports Medicine also proved subjects who listened to music while exercising logged an average 70% more time working out than those who didn’t jam out.

Now, step into our beat laboratory. Here are the best workout songs for runners, lifters, cyclists, boxers, and rowers.

Best Workout Song for Runners

Diplo & Blond:ish - Give Dem (feat. Kah-lo) (Official Audio)

Why these songs? These songs chart at 120-140 BPM, “which covers the running pace of most people,” says Pufpaf. “Consistent tempo with drops and builds that give you bursts of energy, fun lyrics, and a mix of genres. If you’re new to running or you’ve hit a plateau, we’ve got tips for improving your technique.

  • “Give Dem” by Diplo and Blond:ish feat. Kah-lo
  • “No One (Jonas Blue Remix)” by Jess Glynne
  • “Get What You Give” by Felix Cartal
  • “We Found Love” by Rihanna
  • “It’s Tricky” by Run-DMC

Best Workout Song for Lifters

Beastie Boys - Sabotage

Why these songs? There’s less focus on BPM, they’re generally more intense and aggressive, and there’s a mix of rock, hip-hop, and pop to get you pumped. If you’re not sure where to start, here are our favorite arm exercises and leg exercises.

  • “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys
  • “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
  • “Wow” by Post Malone
  • “DNA” by Kendrick Lamar
  • “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

Best Workout Song for Cyclists

Diskord - Go Hard

Why these songs? Depending on what you are focused on (endurance vs sprints vs hills), you could have very different track selections. Here are some ideas for all-out sprints. Heavy, fast, energetic with longer intervals and more focus.

  • “Go Hard” by Diskord
  • “The Power Of Now” by Steve Aoki & Headhunterz
  • “Press” by Cardi B
  • “Bass Inside” by AC Slater
  • “Air Castles” by Avizura

Best Workout Song for Boxers

Bang Bang (Official Video)

Why these songs? They have 130+ BPM and are high-intensity.

  • “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
  • “The Boss” by Rick Ross feat. T-Pain
  • “Racks In the Middle” by Nipsey Hussle feat. Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy
  • “B.O.B.” by Outkast

Best Workout Song for Rowers

Shawn Mendes - If I Can't Have You

Why these songs? They have 110-130 BPM (25 strokes per minute), a mix of genres and intensity, and consistency of tempo.

  • “If I Can’t Have You” by Shawn Mendes
  • “Missing U (Weiss Remix Edit)” by Robyn
  • “Give and Go” by Girl Talk
  • “Thinkin’ Bout You” by Niko The Kid feat. Tia Simone
  • “Heat (BYNON Remix)” by Kelly Clarkson (it’s technically 153 BPM, just FYI)

Editors' Recommendations

Jahla Seppanen
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Born and raised off-the-grid in New Mexico, Jahla Seppanen is currently a sports, fitness, spirits, and culture writer in…
The Best Fitness Gear For Runners To Help You Run Better
Men's running gear: Do you have everything you need?
Man running in the woods.

There are many amazing benefits of running, from improving cardiovascular health and supporting an optimal weight to reducing anxiety and increasing bone density and muscular strength. Moreover, one of the greatest things about running as a sport is that it doesn’t require a ton of gear, making it a relatively accessible and affordable form of exercise. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes and a running trail, treadmill, or safe road, and you can run for miles.
That said, if you’re going to be running regularly, investing in a few pieces of high-quality, dependable running gear will ensure you’re comfortable, prepared, and equipped to hit the road and enjoy each and every mile you run. The best running gear will not necessarily make you a better runner, but it will make every run better, which in turn can help you fall even more in love with the sport. Take your passion for running to the next level with our picks for the best running gear in 2022.

Related Reading

Read more
Best Buy is having a big sale on Theragun massage guns today
A man massages his arm with a Theragun Pro.

Best Buy just launched discounts for certain models of Therabody Theragun massage guns, so if you've been waiting for an additional reason to buy one of them, this is it. These devices are great not just for professional athletes, but also for anybody who deals with body pains on a regular basis. Don't wait too long before you purchase a Therabody Theragun massage gun so that you can enjoy these lowered prices.
Therabody Theragun Mini -- $180, was $200

The Therabody Theragun Mini is a portable but powerful massage gun that you can take with you anywhere. It weighs less than 1.5 lbs. with a design that will let the massage gun fit in the palm of your hand, but it offers three speeds of up to 2,400 percussions per minute. Additionally, because of its proprietary brushless motor with QuietForce Technology, the Therabody Theragun Mini remains very quiet as it goes to work with a deep muscle massage treatment.

Read more
The best sandbags for workouts to build upper body strength
The best sandbags for workouts: get buff with a beach in a bag
Rogue Feed Sack.

When the pandemic hit in 2020 and gyms everywhere closed, home workout solutions became an overnight necessity. This boom led to shortages in dumbbells, kettlebells, and other home gym equipment, and as a result, the price of workout iron skyrocketed. Accordingly, many fitness enthusiasts began looking for alternatives. For many, workout sandbags provided the solution.

Even before all of this, sandbags were growing in popularity among the fitness community thanks to their ability to deliver an extremely diverse, effective weight training session. By increasing or decreasing the amount of sand, you can enjoy widely varying loads, and the best workout sandbags come equipped with handles and other features in all the right places, lending themselves to a slew of different movements and lifts.

Read more