After reading Grant Hansen's article on music that he likes to listen to while working out, I started thinking about what significant role music plays in our lives. Music is a very powerful tool that can change our states instantly. I am sure that we can all remember a time when we heard an old song that we used to listen to that instantly took us down memory lane.
No doubt about it, music is a powerful tool and one that should be taken advantage of. At the same time, music should be used judiciously for optimal performance.
Also, imagine a really intense scene in a movie such as the scene in "Braveheart" when William Wallace gives that amazing speech before the Scots go into battle. Now imagine that scene without the background music. I guarantee you that it will not have the same power. Another example is a scene in "Mission Impossible 2" when Tom Cruise jumps out of a building. It is not really a powerful scene, but the background music makes it intense and I always feel more intense when I see that scene.
I would go as far as to say that music can have a "drug-like" effect. For example, listening to intense music before and during workouts can take your intensity level up a notch and give you a much more productive workout. Alternatively, listening to soft relaxing music before going to sleep can help you unwind and fall asleep much faster. No doubt about it, music is a powerful tool and one that should be taken advantage of. At the same time, music should be used judiciously for optimal performance.
If you get used to listening to the same song before every workout, you are creating an association between that song and your workout. What happens when you workout or perform without the song? My guess is that your performance level will decline. Let me give you another example. If you are used to having a cup of coffee an hour before every workout, your mind and body will get used to it.
What will happen if you forget to take some coffee before working out? Chances are that your performance will go down. Thus, similar to nutritional supplements and training, music should be cycled or used before some workouts. Save the music for the days that you really want to take your workout intensity up a notch or are having a low energy day and need an extra boost.
Okay, enough about music theory; let's get into some music that is great for intense workouts. Recently I picked up a CD by former "Motley Crue" drummer Tommy Lee called "Never A Dull Moment."
Now I am not a big "Motley Crue" fan, but I am glad that Tommy Lee went solo because this album rocks!
It is one of the best rock albums that I have heard in a long time and I never would have guessed that Tommy Lee was so creative and talented. There are three songs in particular on the CD that are great for intense workouts. The songs are: "Afterglow," "Fame," and "Sunday." Just about every song on the CD is great. However, there are some slow songs on the CD as well that might ruin your state. Thus, I would recommend taking a few songs from the CD and putting them on a tape with some of your other favorites. Just don't distribute or sell your mix, ha ha.
Now, if you are not a rock person, check out rap group Public Enemy's "It Takes a Nation of Million To Hold Us Back." It is a classic. Tracks such as "Bring The Noise," "She Watch Channel Zero," and "Louder Than a Bomb" are great workout tracks that will get you in the zone.
Another classic album is "Age Of Quarrel" by the Cro-Mags. The Cro-Mags were one of the original NYC hardcore bands and paved the way for groups such as Biohazard, Limp Bizkit, and Korn. The great thing about the "Age Of Quarrel" album is that just about every track rocks. If you do not get pumped up when listening to the first track called "We Gotta Now," then I do not know what will get you pumped up.
Another way to get pumped up before a workout is to use the power of sound and sight. Try watching the first ten minutes of "Gladiator" before your next workout and let me know what happens.
Next time I will go over some of my favorite albums for post workout stretching. Many athletes hate post workout stretching and often skip it. Big mistake and I think that you will find that listening to some relaxing music while stretching will make the experience much more enjoyable and will in turn enhance recovery.
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