Get More out of Your Cardio with High Tempo Music

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So, you have been doing cardio workouts like running, using ellipticals, exercise bikes, and others, but can’t seem to get the most out of the workout. Now, there may be a way to make your cardio workouts more effective. In fact, listening to high tempo music during your cardio workouts may, indeed, make your cardio workouts more effective. How you may ask? For the answer, keep on reading.

What is the Tempo of a Piece of Music?

First and foremost, music has many attributes, such as its rhythm, the lyrics, melody, tempo, and others. Now, the tempo of a piece of music is the speed, which is its underlying beat, at which a piece of music is played. Incidentally, the tempo or speed of a piece of music is measured in beats per minute or BPM. For example, music that has a beat once every second has a tempo of 60 BPM.

In fact, in a piece of sheet music, the following show how fast the music should be played.

  • First, larghissimo indicates the music should be played very, very slowly at 24 BPM or lower.
  • Second, grave indicates the music should be played very slowly at 25 to 45 BPM.
  • Third, lento says the music should be played slowly with a beat of 45 to 60 BPM.
  • Fourth, larghetto indicates that music should be played with a beat of 60 to 66 BPM.
  • Fifth, adagio says the music should be played slowly with a beat of 66 to 76 BPM.
  • Sixth, andante indicates the music be played at a walking pace of 76 to 108 BPM.
  • Seventh, moderato says the music should be played quite quickly at a speed of 98 to 112 BPM.
  • Next, allegro moderato says the music needs to be played at a speed of 116 to 120 BPM.
  • Also, allegro indicates the music should be played fast at a speed of 120 to 156 BPM.
  • In addition, vivace indicates the music should be played at a speed of 156 to 176 BPM.
  • Meanwhile, presto tells you to play the music fast at a speed of 168 to 200 BPM.
  • Finally, prestissimo says the music should be played even faster at a speed of 200 BPM or more.

Now, high tempo music is a type of music that has a speed ranging from 170 to 190 BPM.

Some Examples of High Tempo Music

The list below shows some examples of music with different tempos.

  • First, Kings of Leon’s “Sex on fire” has a tempo of 150 BPM.
  • Second, St. Lucia’s “Help me run away” has a tempo of 158 BPM.
  • Third, Wintersleep’s “Santa Fe” is played with a tempo of 162 BPM.
  • Fourth, the Wavves’s “Way too much” has a tempo of 165 BPM.
  • Similarly, the New Low’s “Burning Bridges” has a tempo of 165 BPM.

Some Examples of Popular Music with High Tempo

  • Hip-Hop or Rap – Nas’s “The World is Yours” has a tempo of 180 BPM.
  • Pop – “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne has a tempo of 180 BPM.
  • Classic Rock – “Don’t Stop me Now” by Queen has a tempo of 180 BPM.
  • Hard Rock – “Pink” by Aerosmith has a tempo of 180 BPM.
  • Country – “Carry on” by Pat Green has a tempo of 180 BPM.

How does Listening to High Tempo Music Help a Cardio Workout?

First and foremost, listening to music while working out is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, countless people listen to music while working out. In fact, one reason they do so is to lessen the boredom, the fatigue, and discomfort that comes about from the repetitious nature of a workout.

Now, as mentioned previously, music has many attributes, such as its rhythm, lyrics, melody, and tempo. Out of all these attributes, a recent study reported that listening to music with a high tempo reduces the perceived effort of a cardio workout like walking, running, using elliptical trainers, and others. In the study, each participant’s heartbeat and perceived exertion were measured throughout the workout.

In the end, the study found high-intensity cardio workouts like walking were more sensitive to the benefits of high tempo music Moreover, the study found that high tempo music benefited those doing high endurance cardio workouts more than those doing strength training workouts.

In fact, the study found that high tempo music resulted in the highest heart rate and lowest perceived exertion when compared to not listening to music. By the way, the increased heart rate meant that listening to the high tempo music was more beneficial in terms of enhancing physical fitness.

Meanwhile, another study reported last year that compared to doing high-intensity cycling workouts in silence, listening to music above 130 BPM improved the cyclist’s perceived exertion.

Now, as already mentioned, high endurance cardio workouts like walking, running, biking, swimming provide the most benefits from high tempo music. In fact, faster tempos increase the body’s rhythms, so as the exercise becomes more challenging, the quicker tempo help’s you stay focused. And, as your music gets more intense, the rise in the tempo will help you. So, when putting together your music selection, try hard rock, techno, or more upbeat pop music.

Best Music Tempo for Typical Workouts

First, listen to music with a tempo of 147 to 169 BPM when using a treadmill. An example, of this music is Avril Lavign “Skater Boy”. However, if you want bursts of speed during your treadmill workout, listen to music with a tempo near 140 BPM. For example, Devo’s “Whip It” picks up tempo to 158 BPM.

Second, listen to music with a tempo of 115 to 135 BPM, when using cardio machines. Examples of this music are ones with a repetitive tempo such as those from AC/DC, the Black Eyes Peas, or Pink Floyd.

Third, listen to music with a tempo of 130 BPM or higher when cycling or using exercise bikes. In fact, a study last year found that compared to silence, songs above 130 BPM improved high intensity cycling by improving a person’s perceived exertion, prolonging the exercise, boosting heart rate, and breathing rates.

Fourth, for step aerobics, listen to music with a tempo between 118 to 128 BPM.

Fifth, for Hi/Low aerobics or kickboxing listen to music with a tempo between 130 to 138 BPM.

Next, for high-energy moving aerobics listen to music with a tempo between 140 to 150 BPM.

Finally, for low-intensity workouts like yoga, warm-up/cool-down routines, or jogging, listen to music with a tempo between 90 to 115 BPM.

Conclusion

So, next time you do a cardio work out, try listening to fast-tempo music to get a turbo-charged workout.