We know that music can be a powerful, motivating force in exercise. In fact, I previously referenced a study that found music can boost output by as much as 15%.
Unsurprisingly, most of the research around music and exercise has centered around traditional, steady-state exercise. Such as running on a treadmill at a set speed for 30 minutes. However, more and more exercisers (myself included!) have shifted to high intensity interval training due to it’s many benefits. By alternating between low intensity exercise and bouts of high intensity exercise, participants get more workout bang in a shorter amount of time.
But does music provide the same benefits for high intensity exercisers? When you’re engaged in a high intensity interval at maximum effort, does music even make a difference?
Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario set out to answer those questions through a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. For the study, 20 healthy participants with no experience in high intensity interval training were recruited. After establishing a baseline, participants listed their favorite music. The participants then completed one high intensity interval workout with music, and another without. The output was then compared between the two workouts.
Regardless of music, participants felt that each workout was equally challenging. Despite that, output was significantly higher during the music workout. In other words, participants were able to work much harder – even though it didn’t feel like it.
Whether music distracts you from discomfort, motivates you to move or just makes exercise more fun, it can be an important tool to use during your workout.
P.S. To try my high intensity interval training workout, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout! You can do it right from the comfort of your home. But don’t be fooled… you’ll sweat like you’ve never sweat before!