Motivating sports music: How to choose 👌

Listen to a motivational music before or during sport has become a popular way to improve mood, motivation and positive self-evaluation. There is plenty of evidence of music being used in this way, such as the famous Maori "Haka" performed by the New Zealand rugby team to get in the right frame of mind before games.

But is there a link between music and sports performance?

It is true that the psychological processes and mechanisms that explain the power of music are often misunderstood. However, over the past 20 years, advances in technology have allowed music to become a source of sports and psychological motivation for athletes.

And even if, like me, you are content to do weight training or fitness at homeYou've probably felt the effects. I must admit that I can't imagine doing a session without my favorite song list. And that's probably the case for you.

In this article you will discover the effect that music or songs can have on your motivation for your training. And you will also see how to create the playlist that suits you.

Champions and motivational sports music

In support of theoretical research, many famous athletes are known to listen to music to enhance their performance.

For example, the American swimmer Michael Phelpswho strung together gold medals like pearls, listened to hip-hop music before his events. His goal was to be focused and motivated like crazy.

Bianca Farella is a Canadian rugby player and bronze medalist at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. We asked her to answer this question, "What are the must-have artists and songs on your playlist?"

Here's his answer: "It's usually Top 40 songs. Right now, I often listen to an Ariana Grande song (interview done in 2016). I also like something with a rave or dance beat. I love that, it recharges me internally and gives me energy."

If you do some research on the Internet, you will see that most athletes listen to music before their games or competitions. Look at the soccer players getting off the bus!

SmartWorkout Elite

How to choose the right rhythm for your sessions?

Motivational music for sports
Select the right music playlist for your sport

When choosing your motivational sports music playlist, you should definitely take into consideration the type of mindset you want to have for a particular workout. For example James Cracknell, British Olympic rowing gold medalist, used the persistent beats of the Red Hot Chili Peppers during training and his pre-competition routine.

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So, if your movements are steady and rhythmic, the music should not have fluctuations in tempo. Instead, it should match the speed of your own movements.

For example, if you're warming up on a gym bike at about 65 rpm, dance music, usually in the 120 to 130 bmp range, will probably work for you. This is because you can do half a pedal turn with each musical beat.

You must therefore choose your playlists for sports according to your objective. For example, your list "motivational music sport"It's not going to look like the one you'd choose for running or an intense fitness session.

Here is an example of songs for different workout sessions:

Type of sessionSelected pieceArtistTempo
Mental preparation Thrift ShopMacklemore Feat Wanz 95
Warming up ProudHeather Small 103
Stretching You Know You Like ItAlunaGeorge 92
Strength exercise BounceCalvin Harris 130
Endurance exercise LouderDJ Fresh 138
Recovery (cool down) Fine ChinaChris Brown 104

Well, I'm not offering you hyper-recent songs, but you'll probably find what you like with a little internet search. My music list for my workouts isn't the most recent either, but these are songs I like 😉

You too, choose songs you like, not just the ones with the right rhythm!

Motivational sports music: Why does it work?

For professional athletes, fitness fanatics and bodybuilding enthusiasts, having the right mindset is the best way to achieve perfect performance. The highest level of intrinsic motivation is known as "flow" in psychology. It is an English word that can be translated as flow.

The flow is described as total immersion in an activity to the point where nothing else matters. The Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi states that this occurs when there is a perfect match between the perceived demands of the activity and the perceived ability to meet the demands.

When you reach this level of concentration, you lose awareness of yourself and become completely immersed in the activity. Serena Williams once said "if you can keep playing tennis when someone is shooting a gun in the street, you are focused", and ultimately "in the flow".

How to reach the flow?

To help enter this optimal zone, many athletes listen to music before competition to relax, mentally prepare, focus on the task at hand and facilitate a state of flow. Music has physiological effects on heart rate and adrenaline levels. It also acts as a stimulant.

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What you listen to can also boost your endurance, for example during a marathon or even an intense HIIT session. Music can distract your attention from fatigue and change the perception of effort.


The different psychological effects of music

Below you will find a range of conditioners linked to what you are listening to in your music playlist. You can use them in your routine before sports sessions or events, during training or competition to help achieve optimal performance:

1. Positive affirmations for self-esteem

Muhammad Ali was the master of positive self-talk and self-affirmation with his famous quote, "I am the greatest". He used this statement so frequently, and with such conviction, that eventually even his greatest rivals came to believe him.

You can also create your own affirmation statements to build your confidence in your chosen field of work. These will confirm that you have the skills, abilities and confidence to succeed. For a long-distance runner, this might be "I always run my own race" or for a mountain climber "There is no mountain high enough".

But you don't have to settle for a leitmotif. You're sure to find songs you like that have motivating lyrics. I'm not giving you mine because I'll really sound like an old man (born in 1967 anyway) 🙂

Look for your favorite artists!

2. Motivational music to visualize success

Seeing is believing, as they say. And having structured images or visualizations allows you to see in your mind the results you want to achieve. By recreating these results with multi-sensory images (sight, sound, touch), there is strong scientific evidence to suggest that you significantly increase the chances of achieving better performances. Indeed, the images program the muscles.

A 14-time Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps said, "Before the Olympics, I did a lot of visualization. And I think that helped me get an idea of what it was going to be like when it happened."

Silhouette program

Add music to the visualization for sports motivation

Music can create motivating images in your mind. For example, you can think of the soundtrack to the "Rocky" movie series. Why not get creative and create your own montage with images of successful performances, an intense workout, motivating team discussions, all accompanied by an inspiring soundtrack.

Watch the video before your workout or competition and give it your best shot that day!

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3. Your playlist should help you excel

The term motivation comes from the Latin word "movere" which means "to move". It describes the powerful inner force that moves you in a certain direction. It is clearly an essential element of performance that helps you achieve optimal flow during training and competition.

Having a clear goal gives you direction, which helps you stay motivated.

The 2 main motivations

Not everyone has the same type of motivation and experts believe there are at least two main ones:

  • The ego You like to be the winner, to be stronger than the others.
  • The achievement : You like to improve your own performance.

You can feel both, but only the second one is essential. If you have it, you will work hard and not give up when things don't go as planned.

A motivational music playlist can help you

This is what the two-time Olympic rowing gold medalist acknowledges James Cracknell.

He has an excellent ability to get into the "flow zone" and to be highly motivated to achieve its goals. One technique he used was to listen to loud rock music right before the competition to create the best possible mindset for the race. James mostly listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers before competitions.

But music is a very personal choice and you should look for the one that is most likely to motivate you and put you in a winning mood. And this is true whether you are looking for a motivational music playlist for weight training, running or yoga.

Here is the MP player I recommend for your training sessions:

MP3 Player, Mini Bluetooth Sport MP3 Player with Kingbox 32GB, HiFi...
  • [Bluetooth 4.1] The MP3 player is equipped with Bluetooth 4.1. You can...
  • [Supports SD TF up to 128GB] 32GB mp4 player from...
  • [Smart Pedometer] MP3 player is equipped with a pedometer...

Music for Sports: Conclusion

As you can see, not all music lists have the same value when it comes to weight training, fitness or any other sport. So you have to make an effort to choose the ones you use if your goal is to excel.

But in any case, choose pieces you like and give you the potato, the peach and the banana (food, my dear Watson).

Come on, start choosing the songs that will accompany your next session! And if you have already made your choice, tell me what you like to listen to by sending me an email at

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Last update on 2022-11-04 / Affiliate links / Some images are from the Amazon Product Advertising API

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