I’m officially hooked on workout music. I can always use a little extra motivation to keep going at the gym and I love it when a strong “power song” comes on when I need it. So here’s another workout music playlist (first playlist) below that takes some of the best, strong-beat running songs from other playlists along with some new music not on any other playlists. For me, the 120 – 130 bpm songs are good for stretching and warming up, the 140 – 150 bpm songs are for lifting, and I switch to the 160 – 180 bpm when on the treadmill. Hopefully you find ways to use these songs to keep you motivated as well and keep those New Year’s resolutions going strong!
I have chosen a few of the best, up-beat songs from our previous seven running playlists and added new songs from several “Best of 2011″ lists. I’ve even added a couple Free Downloads* of songs. All songs below meet our standard of being either about fitness/running, inspirational, or at least fun with a great beat (we don’t add songs with potentially uninspiring lyrics…ie. “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Loser”, “Blister in the Sun” — all great songs, but not exactly motivational for running or fitness). For over 50+ hrs more of running and workout music, go to home page at Bold Pace Music.
Wondering if music can really improve your performance? We give links to several studies and discuss in more detail at our Bold Pace Music home page.
There are 53 workout songs below with a total playtime of 3.5 hours. Enjoy…
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Click below to play samples and/or download songs from amazon:
To get this music, just click on either itunes or amazon playlist above and download either entire the playlist or individual songs. Or see our Amazon store for the very best full albums by artists on the playlists.
- We Used To Wait – Arcade Fire (121):
The song is stellar and the multimedia “event” (aka -the video for the song) is truly groundbreaking and lives up to the hype. The Chris Milk designed site uses HTML5 technology and shows a hooded runner running through a neighborhood…not just any neighborhood, it’s yours. You are asked for an address at the beginning, and Google Maps and Street View do the rest. Once you’ve seen the video, you realize again it’s an excellent song and you can’t help but stay motivated while recalling your childhood images. See the video and learn more.
- Came Out Of A Lady – Rubblebucket (121): One of Maimed & Tamed’s Best Tracks of 2011. Just try to keep your feet from moving while listening to this Brooklyn band’s infectious power-pop. Those horns, the whistling, the distinctive vocals… Now that your feet are moving, be careful not to sing “She Came Out of a Lady!!” too loudly at the gym.
- One – Yeasayer (123): I love the eclectic, genre-bending sound that Yeasayer puts forth with shades of rock, pop, world music, folk and more showing up in “One”. The dance beat should help to get into the right workout mindset…
- Push It – Garbage (123): A good workout mantra: “My head explodes and my body aches. Push it, make the beats go harder”
- Let’s Go – Cars (130): This song (from their second album “Candy-O”) was perhaps not as strong as the songs from their debut album “Cars” (with favs like Just What I Needed or My Best Friend’s Girl), but it’s still a great song and one of the few Cars songs with faster bpm (the other is Shake It Up at 147 bpm). It’s also a great pump yourself up song with the simple “Let’s Go”!
- Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz (130): A classic, stylish, fun song from Gorillaz with “I got sunshine in a bag”…but I particularly like this lyric for workout motivation…“Look, I’ll make it all manageable, pick and choose, sit and loose”
- Bohemian Like You – The Dandy Warhols (131): If you’re checking out the opposite sex while at the gym, this song helps to think “we’re looking pretty cool” and imagine making a move with “what do you do? Oh yeah, I wait tables too…”.
- The Perfect Kiss – New Order (131): Not so much about the lyrics with this one, just enjoy the intense, driving beat of this classic.
- All The Pretty Girls – fun. (132): Such an appropriate name for this band as you just can’t help but smile when you listen to this (even if you are on the second set of arm curls).
- My Body – Young The Giant (132): My daughter found this song before it seemed to explode with airplay…it seems a little overexposed now, but it still has an infectious beat and a great mantra for a workout song… ”My body tells me no!…but I won’t quit, I want more, I want more”
- Marseilles – Angel City (135): Seems to me that “thinking ’bout the south of France” is not a bad visual diversion. Keep on pumping iron and thinking about “drinking champagne, playing it cool…”
- Mixed Bizness – Beck (136): Another pleasant diversion because Beck makes such damn interesting and clever songs…and this is one of his best! Listen for “I’m mixing fitness with leather” and then of course “Alright now, turn it up now!”
- October – Broken Bells (137): A terrific collaboration band featuring Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and James Mercer (of the Shins). They deliver a nice line to think about during a workout: “There’s no shortcut to a dream, it’s all blood and sweat and life is what you manage in between”
- Hate To Say I Told You So – The Hives (137): This band is a favorite for running and workout music and they do it again here w/ a strong beat and an attitude that “I’m gonna” do whatever, because “I wanna”…
- Viva La Vida – Coldplay (139): This song used to feel overexposed, but now it feels like an old friend. Enjoy and imagine you “rule the world”.
- What Are You Waiting For? – The Rushes (143): In the vein of Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, and the Bravery, the Rushes are a UK band from London that released this song in 2006. The lyrics are perfect with “everything that you do, you are…what you waiting for” Could only find the video on itunes: the song is on the “Corners EP” on Amazon: What Are You Waiting For?
- Dimension – Wolfmother (143): Sometimes you just need a good rocker when you are lifting, and Wolfmother delivers with a nod toward taking you to a new dimension…
- Places That Are Gone – Tommy Keene (144): It’s all about moving forward in the new year…let power-pop maestro Tommy Keene (think the DB’s, the Records, R.E.M., Matthew Sweet, the Shoes) remind you that “These are places that are gone, now you can move on and on, back before you knew me well, I was trapped inside a shell”
- So Alive – Better Than Ezra (145): I’m not usually a fan of covers, but Better Than Ezra takes this Love & Rockets song and not only speeds up the bpm, but makes it better… “I’m alive, so alive” and “your legs are strong”
- Clampdown – The Clash (146): Just another magnificent song by the masterful Clash! This is one of my Clash favorites (from London Calling–#8 on Rolling Stone’s “Greatest Albums of All Time”)…enjoy “You don’t owe nothing, so boy (or substitute “girl”) get runnin’, it’s the best years of your life they want to steal”.
- You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb – Spoon (146): Just love this song. Focus on “I can push for good. You got that Cherry Bomb”.
- Left & Right In The Dark – Julian Casablancas (147): The front man for the Strokes doing just fine on his own…listen for: “Running in the parking lot, I’m four years old” and “I’m on my way on somewhere”
- Rill Rill – Sleigh Bells (147): Joined with driving guitars, Alexis Krauss is very convincing when telling you: “So this is it then…you’re here to win, friend”—motivated yet? Here’s a great video of this song from Pretty Much Amazing.
- Hey Now Now – The Cloud Room (150): Another great song w/ fun chorus and beat and it was named a “top ten single of the year” by Rolling Stone in 2006. If David Bowie, The Arcade Fire, and Spoon have all been to see The Cloud Room in concert, they must be doing something right.
- Use Me – Bill Withers (150): Better known for the classics Lean on Me and Ain’t No Sunshine, here’s another great tune from this R&B legend…
- Me and Mia – Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (151): Keep fighting… “Fighting for the smallest goal: to get a little self-control…I see it in your eyes, I see it in your spine” and “But do you believe in something beautiful? Then get up and be it”
- I Want The World To Stop – Belle & Sebastian (151): One of Rawkblog’s Best Songs of 2010 and one of my favorite running and workout music bands. Refined, cool, and smooth…this song should keep you moving on the treadmill as you visualize… “I run alongside rush hour traffic…a prayer for every car”
- Nine In The Afternoon – Panic At The Disco (152): Gotta just love the name of this band. The first line sums it up well for the treadmill… “Back to the streets where we began, feeling as good as lovers can you know, yeah we’re felling so good”.
- Wonder Why – Vetiver (152): One of Rollo & Grady’s Top Songs of 2011. The gym is always a good place to reflect and think about your future goals. Vetiver serves up some themes many can relate to in this song, but in a finely crafted, up-beat, jaunty way and ends with… “Up ahead i know, there’s a rocky road. No complaint could ease the way it rides. Yet how far we are from where we once stood high. Wonder if. Wonder how. I wonder why.”
- It’s Real – Real Estate (153): On many “Songs of the Year” list for 2011 (here’s Consequence of Sound’s). It’s just a simple song about guy & girl, but “It’s Real” good!
- Balance – Future Islands (154): Another Best Song of 2011 according to Noise Toyz. Another great workout song: “But if you want something to change, you gotta change your life, and take your time, it just takes time…hard work and your time” …so true.
- Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips (156): [Actual bpm is 78, but if you double and go off the half-beats, it works at 156.] From the album “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots”–#27 in Rolling Stone’s Best Albums of the ’00s) I must have played this song a thousand times when I first heard it. My kids now know it by heart and love it too. I feel like this should be playing during an episode of the Big Bang Theory while Sheldon discusses Asimov. It should bring a smile to your face at the gym as well…enjoy the story. “she’s gotta be strong to fight them…so she’s taking lots of vitamins”
- Stand Tall – Dirty Heads (158): A great song to keep you pumped up during a workout.. “So I stand tall, it’s gets a little better, I can see the wall that we can break down together (we can break it down, yes we can make it)”
- Come Out And Play – The Offspring (158): Another rocker…sure the song is about violence, but focus on the attitude here. Are you lifting to beat someone in a sport? Focus on that person and… “Hey, man you disrespecting me? Take him out…you gotta keep ‘em separated”
- Reptila – The Strokes (159): A fiery, aggressive song from the Strokes as you keep it moving with the heart of the workout: “I said please don’t slow me down if I’m going too fast”
- Are We Lovers or Are We Friends?- Acid House Kings (161): A Best of 2011 song according to b sides narrative. A wonderfully exuberant, up-tempo song for a workout playlist that will have you humming later in the day… “Baby are you mine?”. Free download here from Pitchfork or get here:
- Hang On – Dr. Dog (164): If you’re like me, sometimes just hearing great lyrics in a song is motivating in itself…I love this: “Why you think we need amazing grace, just to tell it like it is. Well, I don’t need no doctor to tear me all apart, I just need you to mend my heart”. Here’s a good review and MP3 stream of the song from Qro Magazine
- The Spirit of Jazz – The Gaslight Anthem (164): You may be getting tired, but here comes another rousing rocker that tells you: “When you can’t go on, when you know, hold on” and let’s you visualize being on “these New York streets, where you and I would meet”…
- Brainstorm – Arctic Monkeys (165): A rambunctious rocker that will keep you confidently moving forward… “I doubt it’s your style, not to get what you set out to acquire, the eyes are on fire, you are the un-forcasted storm”
- Sydney (I’ll Come Running) – Brett Dennen (165): If you take a look at Brett Dennen’s website, he looks like he’s in high school. He actually put out his first EP in 2004, and this song “Sydney” is off his 6th release called “Loverboy”. He’s definitely a talent to watch. This song is perfect for running on the treadmill…enjoy the lyrics: “if you ever need me, call me…I’ll come runnin’ straight to you” “straight from the airport (I’ll come runnin’)…cut thru the customs line (I’ll come runnin’)…” I travel a lot, so I just love this chorus. You can listen to the song courtesy of KCRW Music Blog
- Tightrope (Feat. Big Boi) – Janelle Monae (168): One of Rolling Stone’s 50 best songs of 2010, here’s a very talented woman who breaks down categorizations and crosses over between Rock, R&B, Hip-hop, you name it. Watch the video for this song if you want to see Janelle’s impressive dancing skills. Janelle says: “You either follow or you lead…yeah I’m talkin’ bout you”
- Bronx Sniper – Mister Heavenly (170): A bit of testosterone in this song, but those driving guitars will keep you going “They tried to cut him down from there…65, 68, 93, 96 but he don’t care”. Here’s a free download from The Key or get here:
- Remember The Name – Fort Minor (172): [Actual bpm is 86, but if you double and go off the half-beats, it works at 172.] This has power, pump-up, and workout playlist motivation written all over it… “This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill, fifteen percent concentrated power of will, five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain, and a hundred percent reason to remember the name!”
- Ten-Twenty-Ten – Generationals (172): One of the Best Songs of 2011 according to The Wounded Jukebox and influenced by such favs as the Jam, the Kinks, and the Shins, this band knows how to craft a catchy, up-beat tune. The infectious beat on this one will keep you pushing…
- Diamonds and Guns – Transplants *Explicit Lyrics* (172): Too bad this was a short-lived experiment when punk rock veterans Tim Armstrong (Rancid), Travis Barker (Blink-182), and Rob Aston put together this band in 2002. This song showcases their talent and gritty style with lyrics like “bombs going off in Sierra Leone, taking more shots than Karl Malone”.
- Superman’s Dead – Our Lady of Peace (173): Be you’re own Superman… “ordinary is just not good enough today”
- Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega (174): Here’s a classic one-hit wonder that is full of energy…listen for “Jump up and down and move it all around, shake your head to the sound put your hands an the ground, take one step left and one step right, one to the front and one to the side”. I happen to be partial to “A little bit of Monica in my life” :)
- Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars (180): From the album of the same name (one of Time’s “Top 10 Albums” of 2011). I get tired of music when it all sounds the same, and this song mixes it up with a little twang (it’s not country, just a rockin’ twang)… “Keep walking and running and running for miles…Ain’t going back to Barton Hollow”
- Four Letter Word – Gossip (180): By this time of the workout, you just need the beat to keep going strong…and perhaps a Four Letter Word
- Under Cover of Darkness – The Strokes (182): This is from the Strokes album “Angles” that received mixed reviews, but this song is definitely a winner for any workout playlist (one of the Best songs of 2011 from Indie Rock Cafe) with it’s unusual, jaunty riffs… “We got the right to live, fight to use it, got everything but you can just choose it”
- Eternal Life – Jeff Buckley (183): If you haven’t heard Jeff Buckley, you should check out his only studio album Grace. Here’s what Pitchfork had to say “Grace remains one of the most engaging, inspired records ever made”. Working out might not let you achieve “eternal life”, but it will certainly help you make the best of the time you have… “When will I find the strength to bring me release?”
- A Darkness Rises Up – Broken Records (184): Close to the finish with another “Best of 2011″ song (according to Indie Rock Cafe) with a driving beat and you may feel like “I’m on fire”
- Faith – George Michael (186): End it strong with a little “Faith”
There are a number of ways to get BPM for your music collection. See this comprehensive post from mmartins.com on BPM detection software.
Want more workout music? See all of our playlists and more songs listed by bpm…Bold Pace Music
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* Free Downloads are simply links to the songs hosted on other sites. A bold pace cannot make any claims to the reliability, functionality, or legality of these downloads.