25 Songs for a Pumpin’ Playlist to Move Your Body


Pump Up the Jam:

The playlists on your music listening device are a personal testament to the type of music that moves you. But did you know that music changes the way you exercise? It provides motivation, alters your mood with the lyrics and helps focus movement with the beat. Studies by the U.S. Sports Academy in Sports Exercise Science, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology have shown that athletes try harder and perform longer when they listen to up-tempo music. If you’re a group exercise instructor, the music you choose drives your class and determines your choreography flow.


Genre Preference

Different exercises require different types of music. But not everyone enjoys the same genre of music. It’s important to realize that boxing to 80s hair rock is just as effective hitting the bags to Top 40 dance pop if the music appeals to you.

Typically, the faster, more intense the workout, the higher the beats per minute (BPM) should be in the song selections. In fact, websites such as Power Music and Dynamix that sell group exercise music divide the CDs and downloads according to whether they’re for resistance training (125-135 BPM), cycling (110-140 BPM, variable), cardio kickboxing (135-160 BPM), dance (130-140 BPM), meditation (90-100 BPM), etc. Even if there are some people doing yoga to rock, once again, it’s all about preference.

These music selections have been digitally manipulated to create 32-count, consistent beats, which make it easy to complete sets of exercises. Neurologist, Dr. Oliver Sacks, found that “music which doesn’t have adequate rhythmic force,” such as free form jazz or hard core punk, “does not help coordinate movement.” In other words, high BPM and a consistent rhythm create a perfect link. Dance music seems to provide the best of both worlds. You can even find your favorite slow tunes as dance versions on iTunes. However, beware that remixes often don’t feature the original artists’ voices. If that isn’t an issue, then this is a good option for creating a workout playlist.


Playlist Pointers

Keeping in mind the type of workout you’re going to do while listening to a specific playlist, it’s a good idea to include a warmup and cooldown song, along with a stretch song at the end. A one-hour workout has room for 14-16 songs, depending on how long each one runs. Apps such as BPM Calculator will help you choose music that’s the same BPM in your iTunes library so you can create a seamless playlist. Be sure to zip the songs together so there are no gaps/breaks in between. You may also like to manipulate the equalizer to produce the exact sound you prefer.


Apps that Amp Up Your Workout

If you’re a musician and/or a DJ with music you’d like to share, SoundCloud is a good place to start with workout playlists. It’s also fun for discovering new, up-and-coming artists. Spotify and Pandora have features that allow you to choose workout music in a specific genre and then coordinate the beats per minute. Spotify and SoundCloud both offer already arranged workout playlists for a variety of exercise formats, using songs by famous , as well as not as well-known artists. The song choices can range from old to new, so you will not have the most direct choice in what songs you’re listening to with these apps. Also note: some of these websites only have a limited number of “skips”. If you don’t like a specific song, you may not be able to skip over it.

Or you can use apps such as RockMyRun or Spring, which feature playlists crafted by professional DJs in the genre of your choice and the tempo of your choice. Upgrades to RockMyRun allow users to customize the playlists to their heart rates and play song lists without breaks for up to four hours. Spring is designed to work with the Apple Watch to “control your music, view distance, pace, and time directly from your wrist.”


25 Songs to Ring in 2016

The following playlist of suggested songs and artists can be mixed or grouped for cardio or interval training. Stay motivated, stay focused and, most of all, have a blast!

  1. “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd
  1. “Renegades” by X Ambassadors
  1. “Uma Thurman” by Fallout Boy
  1. “Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King
  1. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
  1. “Cool for the Summer” by Demi Lovato
  1. “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony
  1. “Bang My Head” by David Guetta
  1. “Hey Mama” by David Guetta and Niki Minaj
  1. “Want to Want Me” by Jason Derulo
  1. “Sugar” by Maroon 5
  1. “Time of Our Lives” by Pitbull
  1. “Wildest Dreams (R3hab Remix)” by Taylor Swift
  1. “Same Old Love” (remix feat. Fetty Wap) by Selena Gomez
  1. “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon
  1. “Lips Are Movin’” by Meghan Trainor
  1. “Come Get it Bae” by Pharrell Williams
  1. “Alive” by Sia
  1. “Torn Apart” by Bastille
  1. “Dreaming” by Small Pools (the Chainsmokers remix)
  1. “Beautiful Now” by Zedd
  1. “Where Are U Now” by Skrillex & Diplo
  1. “Haciendo Ruido” by Pitbull featuring Ricky Martin
  1. “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX
  1. “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” by Flo Rida featuring Robin Thicke and Verdine White

Jodai Saremi

Jodai Saremi, DPM, BS , is a freelance writer, AFAA certified trainer, and fitness model. She has written for American Fitness, SPIN fitness, Your Health Connection magazines, and other online publications. Her articles have also been featured in textbooks. She enjoys an active lifestyle and lives in Ventura County, Calif. with her husband and two children.

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