Tip of the Week Training

Tip of the Week: Does music enhance performance?

The reason that a cup of coffee before your workout will make you perform better is because of the release of catecholamines, the fight/flight neurotransmitters. Catecholamines have an excitatory effect on the nervous system, causing you to lift more and blunt muscle pain – more than aspirin[1].

Music can have a similar positive effect on exercise. Experiments show that students training with music or a training partner reported the same exercise to be more enjoyable than without [2]. Now, obvious research is obvious, but the take-home point is that by creating a psychological environment for yourself to train, it is more likely to be sustainable. You’ll have a quality workout and make better gains.

Don’t rely on the gym’s music: you’re won’t get stronger trying to psyche yourself up to Katie Perry.

Another benefit is that by wearing headphones in the gym, people won’t bother you. Particularly if you’re not seeking to be chatted up while training (this obviously happens to me all the time, I just can’t keep the ladies away…).

In Summary:

  • Do what you need to create your psychological state. Gym time is your time. Wear headphones and people will leave you alone.
  • Don’t overuse caffeine, it is a drug like anything else. If you use it excessively, you’ll become tolerant and won’t enjoy the benefits. The only times I drink coffee are before training, this keeps me sensitive to caffeine.
  • Train with a partner if they help motivate you. Preferably someone fitter/stronger to spur you on.See what other readers listen to while training, here on the forum.


1. Maridakis V, O’Connor PJ, Dudley GA, McCully KK. (2007). Caffeine attenuates delayed-onset muscle pain and force loss following eccentric exercise. Journal of Pain, 8, 237-243
2. Plante TG, Gustafson C, Brecht C, Imberi J, Sanchez J. Exercising with an iPod, Friend, or Neither: Which is Better for Psychological Benefits? Am J Health Behav, Volume 35, 2 p199

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