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Finding music for your workout

I’ve spoken to a couple patients in the past about working out with music.  Specifically, running or biking with music.  What music should you play to get the best out of your workout?

Tastes in music aside, studies show that for endurance sports like running and biking, there’s a magic BPM (beats per minute) that you should listen to in order to perform the most efficiently.  For runners, that magic number is 90BPM, and for cyclists, it’s also 90BPM.  What does that mean?

For runners, the most efficient cadence, independent of speed or pace, is 90 steps per minute.  One foot hits the ground 90 times per minute, producing the most propulsion with the least amount of braking of the forward momentum.  For cyclists, the most efficient speed is 90 revolutions per minute.  One pedal makes a complete revolution 90 times per minute, again creating the most power with the least amount of muscle energy.

If one runs at 90 steps per minute or cycles at 90 strokes per minute, how does one increase speed?  For runners, you change your stride length; for cyclists, you change your gear.

But what about the music? Listening to music that matches the perfect pace of movement can really help you keep on track and move efficiently.  You can easily search for music based on BPM using SongBPM.  You can enter the artist or song title and find out the BPM, the website will then give you a link to Amazon to purchase the song or Spotify to add to your playlist.

One thing to consider, you can use 90BPM or you can also look for music at 180BPM, which will give you double the beats which will correspond to both legs/feet/steps/stroke versus just one leg at 90BPM.

For 180BPM, you can search for specific hour-long mixed playlists at Podrunner (free music).  Most mixes vary from 120BPM up to 190BPM and is geared to running or interval training. I’ve used this site for music for my runs.

These are a couple choices, there are many more you can search for online.  The point is just selecting music you like, that has the best BPM for your workout regiment.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit us.

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