What is the Best Workout Soundtrack? One Study Says Eminem

Exploring Intensity

What is the Best Workout Soundtrack? One Study Says Eminem

We are not putting a lot of weight behind this none-too-rigorous study of what music makes people perform better, but fans of a certain Detroit rapper will be happy to see the results.

Researchers in the UK played nearly 100 different artists for a swimmer who is going to swim 2,000 miles across the Atlantic. Clearly a man like that would want a soundtrack that keeps his spirits up, so the study (with an n=1) measured which songs had the greatest positive impact on his performance.

And after following him for 25,000 lengths in the pool, Eminem was the clear winner, racking up three of the top ten tracks. It turns out that Bob Marley and Morcheeba led to a slower performance requiring more effort in the pool – even when volume was cranked up to 11. Cheesy up-tempo songs like “Eye of the Tiger” also led to poor performance, though we’re not sure what other songs qualified as having loads of cheese. Swedish House Mafia’s track “Don’t You Worry Child” was the #3 track for positive performance, and, while wildly popular – we would describe the song as being rather cheesy. Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name” was the number 4 track – and you might as well score a point for Eminem here as Fort Minor owes some creative inspiration to Em. The outlier track is Prodigy’s “The Day Is My Enemy” – a noisy, big beat punk dance music track.

The swimmer was less tired and more energetic after after swimming to the top songs, and he even shaved 10% off his swim times when stroking to Eminem vs artists like Marley. We’re not sure if the “lyrical resonance” of the songs were as important as rhythm and tempo.

Clearly taste matters. We tend prefer the big beat of Fatboy Slim or up-tempo rock from bands like the Clash, but our clients love the Pop and Hip-Hop Workout channel on Pandora. This song by Enur frequently appears on that Pandora channel.

So what gets you pumped in the pool or at the gym?