Tag Archives: music

Music and Motivation

Have you ever thought about what training in a gym would have been like through the 80s and early 90s? Many of us remember the days of using Walkmans and Discmans so we could hear our own jams while working out. Along with that came the annoyances of your CDs skipping, your tapes getting chewed up, going through tons of batteries, headphone cables getting in the way, and so on. Imagine what it was like even before portable music players, you would have to listen to what ever radio station the gym had on, eww! It has been known for quite some time now that music is associated with increasing work output while training , but what really happens when you are listening to your favorite tracks while lifting? Are there certain songs that are better for training than others? Is there a time that listening to music while training can be detrimental or make no difference at all? Let’s take a little closer look at music as a training stimulus. 

 

The most obvious effect, I think, we can intuitively figure out about music’s impact on training, is giving us a distraction to take our mind off how hard we are working. If we don’t think we are training as hard, it is likely we can delay the onset of fatigue. This has been confirmed already by several studies. Music not only lowers the rate of perceived exertion through distraction, but also can improve mood and increase arousal . Who wouldn’t think these are all good things before and while training. If we feel good, we train better, and if we don’t know we are tired, we train longer. However, if we look deeper into the type of exercise and the impact music has on it, there are some interesting findings. 

 

To my surprise, it has been found that when performing strength exercises to failure, self-selected music appeared to have no advantage over listening to no music at all. Although, in this same study, positive effects of self-selected music were found on the performance of explosive plyometric jumps . Perhaps what this may suggest is music has a different impact on your training depending on the duration of the effort. In this case, music has a greater impact on short explosive bouts of exercises in comparison to high repetition training. If this is the case, what is music’s impact on longer intervals of training such as long-distance cardio work? 

 

As stated earlier, it has been found that music can lower the rate of perceived exertion while training1, 2 but how does this occur? Is there actually a change at the physiological level in the body or does music merely work as a distraction? In a study where subjects were given fast rhythm, slow rhythm, and no music while performing 2 different anaerobic repeated sprint tests. What was discovered was the levels of blood lactate and heart rate where not impacted on not only training with and without music but also the tempo of music . Despite music not having an effect on the physiological aspect of training, studies have shown that soft slow music can improve cardiorespiratory performance when compared to no music at all or faster paced loud music . It was suggested that the slow tempo music allowed for a “distraction effect” from the stress caused by fatigue. I would also assume that slower tempo music helps set a better and slower pace for long distance training which would help increase the time till fatigue rather than altering anything at the physiological level to reduce the onset of fatigue. 

 

This information leads me to several conclusions about music’s effects on exercise. First off, music has a greater impact on exercises that are anaerobic (under 8-10 seconds) and aerobic (longer than 2 minutes) than it does on lactic training (20-90 seconds). This is shown by music’s improvement on anaerobic plyometric training and cardiorespiratory performance, but not on strength exercises to failure. Second, while the tempo of music does not seem to yet be studied in single bouts of explosive plyometric exercises, music tempo does have an impact on aerobic exercise by increasing the time to exhaustion through a “distraction effect” and possibly better pacing. The third and final point I would like to make about music and training is when music can actually be detrimental. An example would be when working on technique, whether that is on your own or you are coaching someone else. As noted earlier, music can produce a “distraction effect” therefore while learning something new or adjusting your technique music acts as cognitive interference and impacts your training goals. 

 

Music is sweet. We all like jamming our favorite tunes when we train and thank god it is so much easier to do now than back in the day. This only really skims the surface of music as a training stimulus though. Hopefully, this short write up gives a little insight into selecting music for training or not getting bent out of shape when you are getting a body building session in and it’s not your jams on the speakers, it won’t make as big of a difference as you think. To wrap this up, I’ll leave my go to training record. I thought about doing a top 3, but I felt like that was even harder than picking 1 single album. After much internal strife, I came up with Madball “Look My Way”. This album is certified to increase all your lifts 15%. Go to this blog post on our Instagram and let us and everyone else know what your go to album or song is for the gym.

 

 1 Anshel, M.H., & MarisiD.Q. Effects of Music and Rhythm on Physical Performance. Research Quarterly, 49: 109-113, 1978

 

2 Hayakawa, Y. Miki, H. Takada K. & Takana, K. Effects of Music on Mood During Bench Stepping Exercise. Precept Mot Skills 90: 307-314. 2000

3 Baigini, M.S. et al, Effects of Self-Selected Music on Strength, Explosiveness, and Mood. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26(7): 1934-1938. 2012

4 Atan, T. Effects of Music on Anaerobic Exercise Performance. Biology of Sport 30(1): 35-39. 2013

5 Copeland, B.L. & Franks, B.D. Effects of Types and Intensities of Background Music on Treadmill Endurance. J. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness. 31: 100-103. 1991

6 Yamashita, J. et al, Effects of Music During Exercise on RPE, Heart Rate and the Autonomic Nervous System. J. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness. 46; 425-430. 2006

 

Let’s get loud!

I found an assortment of 7 songs that have been really hittin it hard while I train. Let me drop them on you and see what you think.

 

The Sword “Freya”- Hailing from Austin Texas and formed in 2003, this song jams about Freya, the Goddess of Love and Fertility.

 

Priestess “Lay Down”- Influenced by Black Sabbath & AC/DC this Montreal band was formed in 2002 and this song rocks out to moving on and living your life.

 

Red Fang “Prehistoric Dog”-  From out way on the West Coast this Portland Oregon band begun in 2005 and this song blasts about aliens, zombies and prehistoric dogs.

 

Killer Be Killed “Deconstructing Self-Destruction” – This 2011 Supergroup of Soulfly, Mastodon, Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan just dropped a new album in November and this opening track really gets things going.

 

Quicksand “Fazer”- Throw it back to 1990 for this New York City post hardcore band and their song about making a positive change in your life.

 

HIM “Soul On Fire”- This 1991 Helsinki band that if you are a CKY/Viva La Bam Fan, you already know what’s up.

 

Nekrogoblikon “No One Survives”- This band has a Goblin in there group…enough said.

 

These have been the 7 song running in my mind while I have been training these last few weeks. Give them a listen and let me know what you think. Drop a line and let us know the songs that have been running in your head while you train.

 

Turn the volume to 11 and let’s get bumpy!

 

Cheers,

 

CeJ

Member Spotlight; Wardy

Union, we love our members so much it’s time we show you off and have CJ climb the incline like King Kong, and shout your presence from atop of the highest point of Mt. Washington!

 

This week we’d like to shout out Ward Stanford.

 

Ladies & Gents, here is the what is about, Wardy in his own words.

 

“I grew up in northeastern PA near Binghamton, NY. I’m not a native Yinzer but I moved here after living in a few different cities in PA, NY, and NJ to settle. I’m a Talent Manager for a Water Engineering company so I’m basically in charge of hiring people and keeping them happy. I’ve been doing Human Resources for my whole career. I’ve been training pretty seriously for about 6 years, I started doing some resistance training as part of a weightloss journey. I was obese from childhood through my later 20’s and decided after being over 400 pounds that I needed to change my life. I fell in love with the strength training side of exercise because it was truly a way to build myself and add something to my life that made me feel more confident. I still train that way to this day, focusing on just being muscular, strong and healthy for myself, I don’t compete in anything, I just train for me. I chose Union Fitness because it seemed like the best environment for me to do that. The variety of equipment and implements and supportive atmosphere made it easy for me to feel like I had a safe place to train anyway I wanted to and explore areas of fitness that you can’t really do in a gym with more specialization.  I love deadlifting and doing weighted carries for examples and finding a gym where I can do both of those things, inside or outside, and also use a treadmill and a preacher curl machine is extremely rare.”

 

A little more about Ward:

 

  1.  If Ward could lift with any President it would be Teddy Roosevelt. Our lift would be bully.
  2. Favorite PR song is Slaves and Bulldozers by Soundgarden. If you time the lift during the high note an angel lifts the bar for you.
  3. I have an entire Wall in my home dedicated to David Bowie.
  4. Shorts can never be short enough for me.
  5. Ward loves spicy food and will always try the ridiculous hot thing on a menu that will inevitably make him cry.
  6. Ward is a believer in the importance of a bigger picture of health so he advocates for therapy, meditation, stress management, philosophy, and mindfulness to support all of the physical and nutritional things we do for ourselves.
  7. If Ward was a character on a tv show he would be some combination of Patrick from Schitt’s Creek and Terry from Brooklyn 99.
  8. Ward is a much nicer in person than he looks, He is much friendlier than his face would seem
  9. Thank you Ward for being a great member of our gym community!

 

Cheers,

CeJ

Signal and Noise

I am not sure who at UF is a musician yet I have been playing and performing for my entire life. If anyone has every recorded music you should have heard the terms signal and noise. Each of these matter and I am going to explain why each is important to you in your life, art and lifting.

 

Signal

 

The signal is what you trying to get across to the listener and is generally the main point of the music. To the untrained ear they will often only hear the signal and not catch any of the noise.

 

The signal in lifting and in our lives is simply what we are trying to focus on. It could be the lift itself or quite often a cue from one of our training partners. We send signals to each other all the time while training. Without the signal the noise will do no good for anyone. I look at the signal as following the rules. We must learn the rules before we can consider breaking them. As a beginner make sure you focus on and make your signal very clear.

 

Noise

 

The noise is any of the background sounds in the recording. At times this can be very intentional while at others it can be what the mics happened to pick up or even the echos of the room.

 

The noise to me is where the true magic and beauty happen. One of the biggest mistakes I see in music today is the overproduction of recorded music. For reference point on noise listen to anything recorded using analog not digital recording techniques. Often you can hear the singer breathe or ones finger slide across the guitar. It is  these small serendipitous moments that make the music great. It is also when we learn the most about the music and the artist.

 

In our training and lives noise are the things that we were not prepared for, and how we overcome these issue is how we learn. If your goal for the day is 10 reps and at 10 you decide to keep going and you roll through 20 reps that is noise. It just happened and you went with it. The beauty in this noise is that nothing else matters at this point, the noise is the purpose now.

 

I hope by now you see my point as better stated by Pablo Picasso, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Make fun mistakes, makes some noise and cause some good trouble.

 

Keep rockin and rollin!

Hamer