Archive for the tag - music

Study: Listen To Music During High Intensity Interval Training.

Concept-2-Rower-Male-ImageWe 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!


Music Increases Exercise Output by 15%.

Ancient roman rowers - the ancestors of this more modern specimen - were among the first to use the benefits of synchronization.

Believe it or not, music and exercise didn’t first combine forces with the advent of the iPod. In fact, you’d have to go all the way back to rowers during Roman times. According to Carl Foster, Ph.D., lead researcher for a recent compilation of studies titled Exploring the Effects of Music on Exercise Intensity:

The guy is sitting there beating on his drum and he drives the basic rhythm of the rowing. Part of that is coordination—you want the rowers to row together—but part of it is that people will naturally follow a tempo. It’s just something about the way our brains work.

The principle of synching yourself to the beat of music is called entrainment or synchronization. You match your steps, strides or cycles to the dominant beat in a song or soundtrack. But does this help exercisers up their intensity? According to Foster and the various studies his team reviewed, yes!

Some even go so far as to call music a legal, performance-enhancing drug. Why? In a nutshell, music is said to have three benefits:

  1. The aforementioned entrainment or synchronization.
  2. Increase in arousal - music makes you want to move.
  3. Distracts exerciser from discomfort or fatigue.

In addition, I believe that music makes exercise more enjoyable and fun - and helps get exercisers to the gym. One of the biggest complaints I hear is that exercise is boring. Music helps make things more interesting.

Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., of London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, is one of the world’s leading authorities on music and exercise. According to Karageorghis’ 20+ years of research:

[Music] can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.

A 15% increase in output is HUGE. And for anyone looking to up the intensity of their workout, that’s great news. Of course, not all soundtracks are created equal; elevator music, for example, might not get your heart pumping. Researchers recommend the following bpm (beats-per-minute) guidelines for selecting playlists:

  1. Power walking: approx. 137–139 bpm
  2. Running: approx. 147–169 bpm
  3. Cycling: approx. 135–170 bpm

Not sure how to calculate bpm? There’s an app for that!

Do you use music to help step up your workout intensity? Let me know in the comments below!

My Search for the Ultimate Gym Headphones. [Product Reviews]

Apple's iPod/iPhone earbuds.

When I think of my experience with headphones, three possibilities emerge: Either I have terrible luck, the existing products suck, or the elusive ultimate gym headphone exists - but I just haven’t found it yet.

When exercising, I tend to switch between listening to my iPod (mostly for audiobooks or podcasts), and listening to the gym’s televisions through the headphone jack on each cardio machine. I run fast and tend to sweat a lot, so I need a pair of headphones that stay in my ear and that are water-resistant. I feel like my needs are pretty basic.

I started with the traditional Apple earbuds that come with any iPod or iPhone. Strangely, when plugged into the treadmill’s headphone jack, I get electrocuted in my ears. No joke! I’ve been told that it’s impossible to get electrocuted through headphones, but I know what I felt. In addition, the earbuds wouldn’t stay in for more than a minute or two. They’d pop right out. For high intensity exercisers, Apple’s earbuds are shit.

Bluetooth Plantronics headphones

With a desire to go wireless, I opted for the Bluetooth Plantronics headphones. I loved not having to contend with a cord, and they stayed in - even at high speeds. Unfortunately, my pair malfunctioned and the battery wouldn’t charge. I brought it back, and got a second pair. The second pair also malfunctioned. I love the idea of Bluetooth headphones, but perhaps they’re just ahead of their time. And at $99, they weren’t cheap (though the price has since come down).

Disillusioned, I picked up a cheap pair of no-name earbuds at a local warehouse store. They were three bucks and lasted me several months, until my boyfriend stepped on them. Since then, I’ve purchased two more pairs of the no-name earbuds, and both pairs have fallen apart within a week or two.

Sennheiser OMX 680 Adidas earphones

Last week, I decided to splurge for a set of Sennheiser OMX 680 Sports earphones by Adidas. They were on sale for $59 (from $79), and are specifically manufactured for use during athletic training. The earphone wraps around the back of the ear to ensure a good fit, and the product is sweat-resistant. Unfortunately, it’s not a match made in heaven. The earphones come with a small volume control attached to the cord. This volume control must be clipped to your clothes - but I’m not really sure to what. The clip is awkwardly placed - it’s too high to be clipped to your shorts and too low to be clipped on to your collar. I clip it to the arm opening in my tank top, but it’s a strange fit. Moreoever, the whole product feels very plastic and very cheap (which would be fine if it were half the price). On the plus side, the sound quality is good - and so far I haven’t been electrocuted.

So - the search continues for the ultimate gym headphones. Do you have any suggestions for a better pair of headphones, earphones or earbuds that work great at the gym? Please let me know in the comments below!

Music & Exercise: Working Out to a HOT Beat!

Dear Davey,

I’ve been an avid gym-goer for over a year now and have been successful in shedding the title of skinny boy by putting on some 30 pounds of muscle and counting. However, I’m terrible with selecting music to work-out to and it’s becoming a problem. My limited selection of music is getting old and repetitive and I find myself needing to spice it up.

Would you care to share your work-out playlist? Or even, perhaps, solicit your other blog buddies for their input.

Many thanks and kind regards,


I have seen the headphoned masses, but you may be surprised to learn that I’m not among them. I don’t exercise to music.

At most, I’ll tune into a television while doing cardio - but in all honesty, I find music to be distracting. I prefer being fully present with my body, and being aware of the exercises that I’m performing.

I’m not great at doing two things at once - if my mind is on the music, I probably won’t be 100% focused on my body’s movements.

Having said that, I do know that a great number of people enjoying working out to their tunes. And in all honesty, I did go on a brief audiobook/podcast kick when I first received my iPhone. It certainly does up the fun factor! But exercise isn’t really about fun for me. It’s 90 minutes for me to spend honoring my body with movement, breath, and energy. It’s almost a waking meditation for me.

But… if I did listen to music at the gym, it would obviously be Scotty Dynamo’s amazing beats.

So, I turn to you, blog buddies: What music could you recommend for Will?