Help us create the ultimate gym workout playlist

4 min read
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Gym music

I’ve always thought that music can have an incredible effect on the mind. It can be cathartic, it can be romantic. It can also be energetic stuff. That’s why you see so many people with a smartphone on their arm and a pair of earphones dangling across their chest. There’s just something about the right tune at the right time pumping you up to push yourself further on a treadmill or underneath some stupidly heavy weights.

Music is…properly subjective however. Whereas some people might like a heavy strum on the ol’ electric guitar, others prefer bopping their heads to a collection of bleeps and boops from electronica. Some folks dig harmonious symphonic arrangements with which to set a pace on a run, others channel the anger of a death metal solo towards pumping weights. Different strokes, different folks.

To give you an example, here’s a random selection from my own playlist. Watch YouTube embeds below of course, because it’s never too late to rawk:

Slipknot – Before I forget

This is just…raw. I’m not a massive fan of Slipknot, but there’s an unbridled sense of purpose in this song that never fails to get my blood pumping.

Dethklok – Blazing Star

Likewise, Dethklok may be a fictional band but you can always feel the Metalocalypse emanating from their heavy metal. Blazing Star sums up the sound and feel of the band, ending in a note of triumph that resonates with the end of any workout session.

Linkin Park – Easier to run

It’s kind of ironic that this is one of my favourite tracks to hear shuffle in when I’m on a treadmill, but it has a remarkable effect of always managing to push me that little step further.

The Hives – Tick Tick Boom

The Hives may just be one of the most polarising bands out there. I know of people who’d rather set themselves on fire than listen to them, but I’ve always enjoyed their peppy singles that pack in a ton of energy.

R.E.M – It’s the end of the world (And I feel fine)

I’m a 90’s alt-rock fanboy for life, with R.E.M’s signature world-ending track having a particular sense of timing that can’t be matched. High energy results with perfect cues to remind you to slow down between them.

Beastie Boys – No sleep till Brooklyn

One of my personal favourites for a session of spinning, the Beastie Boys always have the skills to pay the bills.

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song

Much like the R.E.M example above, Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song has an odd pace but one that you can quickly get used to if you open your mind up a little. A short but sweet track that pushes you.

David Bowie – Heroes

Gone but never forgotten, Bowie’s music always feels like a reminder that you can be better. Heroes moreso, as it’s that one track that can always break the wall you might find yourself slouched against when fatigue rears its ugly head.

Queens of the Stone Age – You think I ain’t worth a dollar, but I feel like a millionaire

If you’re going to finish, do so on a high note. Specifically that one song that you put whatever is left in the tank to one race to the finish. And hot damn, Queens of the Stone Age manages just that with this early single from their career.

That’s a taste of what I listen to. But I want to hear what you guys recommend. If it has a beat, throw it in the comments below so that we can start building a list for people to pick and choose from. With music streaming services like Google Play or Deezer, there’s no excuse to not have a playlist at your side at any given time. Submit away and let’s create something awesome as I kick off this list with a few more recommendations.

Editor’s note: Anyone suggesting the Parlatones will learn the hard way to “feel the burn”.

  • Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
  • Blink 182 – Adam’s Song
  • Blink 182 – Always
  • Blink 182 – Carousel
  • Blink 182 – M & M’s
  • Coldplay – Politik
  • Cornershop – Brimful of Asha (Norman Cooke Remix)
  • Daft Punk – Derezzed
  • Distubed – Land of Confusion
  • Foo Fighters – All my life
  • Foo Fighters – The Pretender
  • Genesis – I can’t dance
  • Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL – Is she with you?
  • The Hives – Hate to say I told you so
  • Linkin Park – Breaking the habit
  • Papa Roach – To be loved
  • Rage Against The Machine – Sleep now in the fire
  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Under the bridge
  • Skidrow – Youth gone wild
  • Stereophonics – Dakota

Last Updated: April 24, 2017

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Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Alessandro Barbosa

    Hot take: I don’t listen to music while working out. Even on long runs. It distracts me more than it helps me.

    • Original Heretic

      Please avoid using the term “long runs”. The mental imagery invoked is unpleasant.

    • I avoid the entire debate by not exercising at all.

      • Alessandro Barbosa

        “You don’t need to decide what music to listen to on a run if you never go running,” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d278f6f4fa8bc43797f4293a07b9bdbbd42e901a0a198fbe03baec43d6d35fb.jpg

      • Original Heretic

        I had years of the same principle. But when my son finally arrived, I decided to do something about it so that as he gets older, I can actually play with him without fading like an old fart after running after him for 30 seconds.

        • I have three kids who are now old enough to fucking play with themslelves, the bastards.

          • Original Heretic

            My boy is two. The Energizer bunny has nothing on him.
            And I recently made the fatal flaw of pushing his spare little plastic motorcycle behind him as he rode down the passage. My back, my knees, my thighs, my lungs….they all hated me after that experience.

      • MonsterCheddar

        XD

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      I don’t listen to any either, unless the background music in the gym that I’m not paying attention to counts. Also find it’s more of a distraction than motivational.

      • MonsterCheddar

        Plus they do not normally play Greatest Medieval Hits – Lamenting of the Harp in the gym.

  • Tracy Benson

    Some of my gym playlist:
    (Content Warning: it’s all hipster indie bullshit)

    Young Rising Sons – High
    WALK THE MOON – Shut up and Dance
    Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle
    The Twang – Barney Rubble
    The Wombats – Let’s Dance to Joy Division
    Vance Joy – Riptide

    • Lu

      Has to be hipster stuff. Never heard of any of them 😛

  • Original Heretic

    My workouts usually involve hitting things these days. So I tend to favour songs that encourage me to hit it harder.

    Volbeat – A Warrior’s Call
    Marilyn Manson – Fight Song
    Stemm – Face the Pain (*sigh* I miss the old UFC intros…)
    DVDA – What Would Brian Boitano do? (just for giggles, the “don’t eat those chicken wings part” always cracks me up)
    Rage Against the Machine – How I could just kill a man

    And many, many more.

    • I have that DVDA song in my car. Such a great song.

  • Hammersteyn

    https://youtu.be/8MnF6tonFY4
    Feel the liver failure!

    • Hammersteyn

      Also playing action cricket twice a week and hitting the driving range is exercise enough. Plus you can do it while drinking beer 🍻 🍻 🍻

      • Lu

        Same applies to hitting pedestrians

        • Hammersteyn

          They shouldn’t have left their homes then

          • Lu

            Or made me spill my beer

      • Original Heretic

        Action Cricket is killer. Especially after going back after many years.

        My bro played for SA years ago and has recently started up again in lower leagues. And as he said, after the first couple of games he nearly died.

        • Hammersteyn

          I’m action cricket fit, in that I can sprint the length of the pitch but I can’t jog to the bar and back XD

          • Original Heretic

            You’re doing it wrong.
            You’re only supposed to sprint HALF the pitch.

          • Hammersteyn

            No, because it takes the first half to get up to speed and the other half to stop. You never see sprinters stop dead at the finish line, also there’s nets. So it looks like the human version of a F14 jet crashing into the netting of an aircraft carrier

          • Original Heretic

            But you’re supposed to stop and turn at the line, to be ready for the next run. If the fielders are kak, the next run is always up for grabs.

          • Hammersteyn

            Next run???? You can run more than one?

          • Original Heretic

            When I started playing, I jammed some low mixed league. Now, I don’t consider myself a great sportsman by any means, but I reckon that’s because I always compare myself to the rest of my family. But considering that many of them are insanely goods at sports (I’ve already mentioned by brother was SA indoor cricket, he’s not the only family member with SA colours), it still means I can hold a bat better than a lot of others.
            Anyway, in my first batting foray, it was the fielding side’s first game of indoor/action. Which meant that they were CLUELESS! They actually had no idea that the ball is always live until the over is up. No jokes, we ran 4 runs after also hitting a six. A very rare 10 runs on the scorecard!

          • Hammersteyn

            Nice! One of my best shots was when the spin bowler bowled a wide, but I switched from right to left and smacked it for 7 and got 2 extra runs for the no ball

          • Original Heretic

            Best thing in indoor/action is consistency. That’s where my brother was so good. No matter they bowled at him, he would always get at least two runs. Usually by hitting the ball hard into the ground, bouncing it over a fielder’s head, hitting the 1 net, then taking the easy single.
            In the SA tour to Sri Lanka, the coach reckoned he was the most consistent player. If only his eyes weren’t completely screwed (he actually needs a cornea transplant), he could have been freakin amazing in all forms of the game.

          • Hammersteyn

            Here in the SWD provincial players are picked first based on who can afford to go and then skill XD
            As things stand I might even qualify for the over 40s years and years from now

          • Hammersteyn

            JK, it’s six or a nix the way we play XD

      • Matthew Holliday

        Should take up sailing then, the only reason people take breaks in that sport is to refill their brandy flasks.

        • Hammersteyn

          Nope, not shaving my legs or wearing those itty bitty sailor shorts

    • Matthew Holliday

      • Hammersteyn

        XD

  • Lu

    Sleeping with Sirens: Kick Me
    Pierce the Veil: Hell Above, The First Punch
    My Chemical Romance: I’m Not Okay
    Atreyu: Exes And Ohs
    Disturbed: Sons of Plunder
    Alestorm: Wenches and Mead
    Slipknot: Spit it out
    The Ting Tings: Shut Up and Let Me Go (don’t judge me)
    Paramore: Crush (Again I have strange taste)

  • No CAKE! SHAME ON YOU!

    • I feel bad for never hearing of this band before today.

      • Actually you have. Remember the TV show Chuck? The intro song is the instumental version of Short sleeve Long Jacket by Cake. Also they did the I will survive cover used by most TV shows. And they have quite a few familiar songs. 😛

        • …I never watched Chuck. #History’sGreatestMonster

      • Tracy Benson

        WHAT?!

  • MonsterCheddar

    I listen to Amon Amarth when running.

    Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags. Majestic AF.

  • Viking Of Science

    There’s A SHOCKING lack of Perturbator and Carpenter Brut in your Playlist:
    I Submit:

    and

    • Viking Of Science

      @Darryn_Bonthuys:disqus, Seriously, you need Synthwave in your workout mix.

  • Magoo

    It’s a pretty useless idea in my opinion. All you need is epic saxophone guy. All of the time.

  • Solid choices so far guys. KEEP ‘EM COMING!

  • HvR

    When you are pomping the iron bru

    • Captain JJ

      Renegades was an excellent tribute album

  • konfab

    I listen to podcasts when I run. Music is there to be enjoyed.

  • HvR

    Especially for Darryn when jogging/running away from muggers in PE and passing a police van. Sing it loud brother

  • Captain JJ

    Holy Crap Darryn, that’s a good list.

    • HvR

      Bah, was serenading you guys on Discord last week with “Before I Forget” and nobody knew what I was on about.

      Faux-metalhead all of you …. more like tinfoilheads

      • Captain JJ

        Are you sure I was there? I love that music video, it’s bloody excellent.

  • Captain JJ

    You had me at Dethklok

  • MonsterCheddar

  • Captain JJ

    I tend to listed to a lot of Fear Factory when I exercise

    • MonsterCheddar

      You excercise???????????????????????????????????????????????

      • Captain JJ

        *Excorcise the demons, sorry.

        • MonsterCheddar

          HA. Thought so.

  • Matthew Holliday

    Metallica – St Anger
    This has been my most effective hype song for any occasion, since pretty much forever.
    That intro.

    Also
    Five Finger Death Punch – Wash it all away
    Drowning Pool – Bodies

  • Captain JJ

    Clutch – X-Ray Visions
    Bowie – Suffragette City (couldn’t resist)
    Judas Priest – Breaking the Law
    Meat Loaf – Bat out of hell
    Lenny Kravitz – Stop draggin’ Around

  • Matthew Holliday

    mentioning the hives without Mentioning “Hate to say I told you so” is almost sacrilegious.

  • Sock-puppet

    I have a more chilled way of exercising, no punching or kicking required so my list consists of:

    Diamond Eyes – Hum –> https://youtu.be/tMeI6CkSng0
    A-Ha – Take On Me (Kygo Remix) –> https://youtu.be/BrfRMHf62hs
    Porter Robinson & Madeon – Shelter –> https://youtu.be/Ts8YP6hhELU
    RetroVision – Here We Go –> https://youtu.be/YulI-cPaf34
    The Chainsmokers ft. XYLO – Setting Fires –> https://youtu.be/kclCH4yINhM
    Papa Ya – Sunny –> https://youtu.be/iME5EiX1YZQ = good starter
    Anders Nilsen – EDM –> https://youtu.be/M4TRu5WO7-w = good for bad days
    Best of Electro Swing Mix August 2016 –> https://youtu.be/bcnj9btzcm8 = no skipping required
    Clean Bandit – Symphony ft. Zara Larsson (Beau Collins Remix) = https://youtu.be/tFw9FyVxeZ8

    I have well over 200 songs in my playlist though. It’s grown a bit now, with all the suggestions here.

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