Does music tempo impact exercise performance?
You might be someone who likes to plan your tracklist based on where you are within your workout. Maybe you like a bit of Celine Dion while you warm up and then work your way into some Linkin Park or harder dance music as you approach your working sets. Or perhaps you just blast your favourite hardcore tunes as soon as you set foot in the gym.
Interestingly, it seems that the tempo of your music may affect your strength and endurance performance. For example, it has been found that listening to stimulative music can lead to greater strength as opposed to sedative music or white noise.
What is considered stimulative music, you ask? Anything approximately 134 beats per minute (BPM), which would be equivalent to a typical house music track. Sedative music, on the other hand, is approximately 90BPM, a similar tempo to your grandad’s favourite jazz jam.
Another reason to pump up the tunes like it’s a Saturday night out and not a lazy Sunday is that listening to sedative music has been shown to produce strength values even lower than white noise! So, it seems you’re better off listening to no music than slower, more relaxing tunes.
But what about music of even faster tempos? Will that enhance your exercise performance even further? Listening to music at tempos of 170-190BPM (drum and bass tempo and higher) not only makes exercise feel easier than when listening to slower music, but can also help increase one rep maxes!
While the tempo of music seems to influence exercise performance (at least within the general population), what if the music that psyches you up the most is actually low tempo?