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The seven-song playlist scientifically proven to supercharge your next workout performance

Add these songs to your playlist now

Kashmira Gander
Monday 03 October 2016 12:11 BST
Scientific evidence shows that music helps a person get the most out of their workout
Scientific evidence shows that music helps a person get the most out of their workout (vgajic/iStock)

It's not just a weird fluke that many of us can't imagine working out at the gym without a motivational playlist. It's scientifically proven to boost performance, motivation, and help you push through the pain.

This power is what Dr Costas Karageorghis, reader in sport psychology at Brunel University London and author of Applying Music in Exercise and Sport, has devoted his career to investigating.

"Music can have a profound effect on our emotional state and every facet of music can contribute towards this, including the lyrics, tempo and rhythm," he says. Cultural associations - like Eye of the Tiger and its links to sporting prowess in Rocky - also help.

Studies show that listening to a tune perfectly matched to a certain type of exercise is motivational - both in getting you to the gym and helping you stick to your routine.

Here are some songs to add to your workout playlist if you want to make the gym less gruelling.

Foo Fighters – Everlong
Tempo: 158 bpm

Foo Fighters (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

The combination of the high-tempo, power chords, and Dave Grohl singing about living in the moment makes this song the perfect choice for strength training.

R. Kelly The World’s Greatest
Tempo: 96 bpm

OK, so it’s a little cheesy. But this song is will help you get the most out of the warming up and winding down segments of a boxercise routine. The inspiring lyrics also help with motivation, as does the cultural link to the movie Muhammed Ali movie Ali.

We Are Young – Fun
Tempo: 116 bpm

Core strength training is horrible and everyone hates the plank: fact. This song’s simple melody, steady beat, and limited dynamic range will help you focus on your moves, but offers a slight distraction from the inevitable discomfort. It is, Dr Karageorghis dares to say, middle-of-the-road music that works best when working your core.

Runnin’ (Lose It All) Naughty Boy feat. Beyonce’ and Arrow Benjamin
Tempo: 140 bpm

Beyonce (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Dr Karageorghis cautions that running outside to music, particularly near roads, is dangerous. Instead, it is best used in wide-open spaces or at the gym. At 140 bpm, this song is at the ideal speed for running, as it allows you to take a stride per beat. This is one of Dr Karageorghis’s favourite running tracks.

One Way or Another – Blondie
Tempo: 161 bpm

The trick when using an exercise bike is to choose which helps you to comfortably complete a semi-revolution per beat. This punchy song at 161 bpm will have you cycling at 80.5 rotations per minute, so is ideal for distracting you during a high-intesnity biking session. (It's best not to listen to music while cycling outdoors).

Run with the Wolves – Prodigy
Tempo: 166 bpm

Another personal favourite of Dr Karageorghis', at 166 bpm this is a fast song best saved for the most grueling part of your running regime. The lyrical link to running will drive you forward.

Power - Kanye West
Tempo: 77 bpm

Kanye West (Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Roc Nation)

The relatively slow tempo, swearing and aggressive lyrics over a syncopated drum make this the perfect motivational track when weight-training.

Applying Music in Exercise and Sport by Dr Costas Karageorghis will be released in the UK on 14 October

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