Thanks to everyone who has snapped up the Keys to Successful Training Online Course.
It’s is going off the market for good this Wednesday. Get it now for half price or never get it again.
One of the things I talk about in the course is whether or not to listen to music.
For well over a year now my workouts have been silent. With no music there are no distractions. It allow you to go deep inside, to concentrate better at the task at hand.
That was my reasoning behind it. And I still believe it.
Yet a couple of things I’ve read recently are making me do a switch.
In a little book from 1945 called How to Relax: Scientific Body Control comes the following:
“A few years prior to World War II Mussolini engaged Boyd Comstock, the University of Southern California’s well-known track coach, to work with Italian athletes. The object was to improve their performances at the Olympic Games. Comstock worked tirelessly at the task. But is seemed almost hopeless, until the canny American trainer hit on an idea.
“He had observed that these Italian youths were passionately fond of music. Could the natural rhythm they show in singing, for instance, be applied also to track? At least it was worth a trial. So Comstock told his protégés to sing as they ran, hurdled and jumped. Almost miraculous improvements resulted, Comstock reported.”
There is other information and stories in the book along the same lines. It makes sense that rhythm in music can be of useful effect in athletics.
My thought is that listening to music with the right tempo could be a big help especially in conditioning tests. Whether it’ll help in singles and low rep exercise I know not. Also the wrong tempo could possibly throw you off.
But then music can help you in another way. If its music that you enjoy, that gets you going, it can turn on the radiant circuits and put you in the right state for training.
So here is where I’d like your input. Plus a little experiment.
In the comments below, tell me if you listen to music, and what kind, when you train. Then for the next week or so (if you have control over it, meaning you don’t workout in a commercial gym) workout without music to see what sort of difference it makes.
And if you don’t listen to music write that below and try the opposite. Put on the tunes and train along with them.
I’ll be doing this and report back next week with any differences I notice.
I use music for things like Yoga (relaxing music), but for other training I prefer to listen to your heart beat. Whatsmore if you train outdoors, like I do most of the time, you’ll never need the music. It can be distracting to your workout as you tend to listen to the music and not your body.
Listening to music might work for those who don’t already compose music and analyze it as they hear it.
I’ve always put a wall of separation between my music and my training to avoid distraction. Particularly during long sets, self regulation is important and requires intense concentration to maximize results and avoid injury.
@Buh: Great point. For someone that knows music and can’t not think about it, it would surely be a distraction.
From my personal experience it has been dependent on the task I am trying to accomplish. With the goal of pure intensity in conditioning circuits or single “Death Sets”I have found through personal experience that heavy music (in this case Pantera and Metallica) has increased my personal drive to push really hard in a workout and has served to set PR’s to the tune of as much as a 25% gain versus the same exercise performed without music. This leads me to believe if the music can REALLY stir you up inside it has the ability to excite your nervous system to produce more force for activities that require pure power output.
However on the other side of the coin when working on activities that involve much skill and focus such as the Olympic lifts or handbalancing I have found no use for music as a stimulus other than background noise. That being said most high level powerlifters and many olympic athletes use music to their benefit to stimulate either relaxation or intensity depending on the complexity of the task and the psychology of the individual. As always the bottom line is see what works for you and take notes.
I can’t listen to music. As a musician, I will be intently absorbed for the music. Better to go with silence, or the sound of the wind.
I used to listen to music (sometimes metal, sometimes classical, the soundtrack to Bronson’s pretty good) because I found certain exercises boring without, and would still recommend it for anyone looking purely for cardiovascular exercise for example. But when lifting a heavy withthe goal of becoming good at lifting a heavy weight, relying on music is like relying on a squat suit: You won’t have your music when you need it.
Good points. I need to try to work out in silence and see how that works for me. I usually do listen to music, including a playlist I made just for working out. It includes heavier music like old Van Halen, 3 Doors Down and a great heavy Christian group called Skillet (I highly recommend them if you have a taste for heavier music). Honestly, the music does seem to help my drive, particularly in gearing up for a low-rep set.
However, I will try to make a point to work out in silence and see how that goes.
I work out without music because half of the time I work out in the garage. I have occasionally listened to classiscal while working out inside, but mostly just stretching type activities, not kettlebelling… the music makes me feel soft and placid, not really the mood for lifting heavy objects. I’ll try listening to some rock type music this week and see if it helps out.
It does and it doesn’t…depends on the moment!? Belief in what one reads/hears/thinks as set in cement leads to…
It was definitely interesting to read everybody’s opinions on this topic!
Personally, I am DEAF–so, obviously I never workout with music. The only music to my ears is the sound of heavy weights thudding onto the ground. Just kidding. I workout in my garage, so..quite honestly..the only music I REALLY ‘hear’ is when my heart starts pumping hard and fast. Let’s rock n’ roll!
Really, I have an issue with people who insist on working out with music. Not that I am jealous, but I noticed far too many people RELY on music to get themselves into the mindset or they thrive their energy off their music. That’s not a bad thing, but in reality..when it comes to a situation when you have to work hard physically in any given situation, you’re not always going to have music around. Some people say they PR (by getting more reps in Death-Sets or whatever) when training with intense music. I am not dissing them, and I am glad they are making improvements in their strength training. I just think it is far more valauble to make that ‘connection’ with your mentality. If you’re going to set PRs…I believe that ‘will to make it happen’ should come from within your mentality. The stronger the mind, the stronger the body. If you rely on music..I cannot see that happening.
It just makes sense to ‘connect’ with nature (when you’re running or exercising outside) along with getting in touch with your body. If you’re a garage dweller, having the right set of mentality can take you far in the strength game. BUTTT I am sure I wouldn’t mind feeling the ‘beats’ of the drums booming through the garage when I workout. Maybe that would actually make a difference on some days when I am feeling sluggish. I can see the benfits.
Thanks everyone for adding your comments. Let’s keep the discussion going.
Several people mentioned you can’t rely on music as it can throw you off when training when you don’t have it. I think it was when Bud and I were interviewing Scott Weech that he said he just runs with whatever is playing at the gym at the time, even boy bands. With the music on he is able to ‘go inside’ and concentrate despite any good or bad music.
I train Judo(at the Israely national team) so you can’t use music there,
but when I do strength exercises or go out to run, I sometimes listen to some music mostly Rap, recently I started listening to DubStep.
It really dependents on my mood, I am not dependenting on music to have a good training.
I do not use music. There are two reasons for this decision. I don’t want my workout to be tied to an artifical stimulate i.e. music. I, like to “go deep inside, to concentrate.” Secondly, it is important for me to be aware of my surroundings and what is going on. This allows for a quicker reaction [to usafe or dangerous situations] when necessary.
When I can – Music. Hard and heavy. People who like to listen to music like this, loud, are not depending on it for their training. It’s called preference. I’ve had great training with it, and without it, and it’s never a distraction. When I’m in a lift, I’m in it, and nothing distracts me from it. It CAN however create a mood that can be used to focus attention on the task, and metal, at hand. Do what you want and makes you happy in your training – that was the variable in the experiment you cited. People keep trying to say which one is better. Get over yourself. I know what I like – my music and my training are intense, and heavy, and I love it. Do whatever the hell you want and enjoy it, and don’t preach.
I find this interesting. I work out at two gyms. One if a commerical gym and the other is a community center. I have found that I have better workouts at the community center. There is less distraction and I can go inward much easier and concentrate. I like working toward being able to do the same thing in the commercial gym…at least until my membership runs out.
I used toplay music when I trained but I one dayduring a workout I made a mental note that ithad got to the point music was destracting and for the past 5 years I have workedout with out music.And I feel I do better without music.