Life without music is unimaginable. Music lifts us up when we’re done, makes happy moments even happier, helps us create memories, and makes the time go by quickly when we’re waiting for something or someone. Yes, music is our loyal companion in everything, including workouts.
In this post, we’re going to focus on some of the most convenient apps for workout music. Scroll down to see the apps where you can find the best beats for your next workout session.
Spotify is one of the most popular music apps in the world. The app has over 158 million premium subscribers and more than 356 million monthly active users (1). A few years ago, Spotify had a nifty feature that used the phone’s accelerometer to match tunes with pace when you’re jogging. They decided to retire this useful feature, but this app is still the best choice for your workouts.
You can easily search for workout playlists and get instant access to thousands of songs. As you’re listening to those songs, you can also add them to the workout playlist you create. Spotify has both free and premium plans, so you have the freedom to opt for the best one for your needs. Just keep in mind the free plan comes with ads and a limited number of times you can skip tracks. Spotify is available for various devices, you can download it here or check your Google Play or App Store.
RockMyRun is an app specifically designed to provide the best music for running and workouts. The team of excellent DJs created various mixes that you can listen to while jogging or working out at home or in the gym. The beauty of this app is that music can be personalized based on the user’s steps per minute, ideal cadence, or heart rate to improve athletic performance.
Unlike Spotify, which is developed for the general audience, RockMyRun is created primarily for people who want to listen to music while exercising. For that reason, the app has several useful features such as:
- Track your runs
- Match music tempo with stride
- Set music to a specific tempo
- Apple watch music control
RockMyRun is a paid app. You can download and check it out with a free trial. But when the trial period ends, you will be charged for full membership unless you cancel beforehand. You can find this app on Google Play and App Store.
3. Fit Radio
Fit Radio is an app that is, just like RockMyRun, developed specifically to provide the best music tracks for active men and women and their workouts. The curated, cutting-edge DJ mixes deliver great music in over 40 genres. What this means is that Fit Radio strives to provide an optimal experience, regardless of your favorite music genre. This is particularly important if we bear in mind many apps are limited and focus on specific tracks and genres only.
Easy-to-use, personalized service does all the work for you. All you need to do is to focus on workouts, the app keeps you motivated and delivers playlists you’ll truly like.
Cardio Coach feature relies on audio-guided workouts that push you further and support you to do more and exercise better. The app comes with a variety of workouts and programs for various fitness levels.
With the Tempo Run feature, based on pace-matching technology, you can run to the beat that matches your stride.
Available for Apple and Android devices, the app offers a free trial option (up to three hours of premium) then you would need to pay. You can download the app here or look it up in the app store.
What’s the difference between this and Gym Radio? Now you may be wondering what makes Fit Radio and Gym Radio different so that one deserves the place on this list and the other one is excluded. While Gym Radio is amazing, it’s not an app that can support your workout in the gym or elsewhere. This platform is created to provide the best environment and legal music to gym owners. So if you’re a gym owner who wants to play music legally, then Gym Radio is your go-to app. But if you want to improve your running and fitness levels, Fit Radio is an excellent choice.
PaceDJ claims to be the only app that speeds up and slows down beats per minute to match the user’s running space, and it allows for creating interval workouts. In other words, users can create custom intervals or choose from pre-programmed templates.
The app is suitable for men and women who already have their favorite workout music tracks, too. Any track you own can pace you at many levels. This means PaceDJ could improve the usefulness of your music library.
Moreover, the app provides a free music discovery service that allows users to find and buy songs that match their running pace.
Available for Apple devices only, PaceDJ is a free app.
So, if you’re on a budget or specifically looking for free apps that will take your running to the next level, PaceDJ could be helpful. You can use it for other workouts too.
Runtastic is not a type of app that is specifically created to play music while you’re working out. Instead, it’s a fitness and running-oriented app with many features, and playing music is one of them. The app won’t work for people who don’t have their music on their favorite player such as Google Play Music.
In other words, Runtastic won’t be much helpful if you don’t already have some tracks you like. It won’t find music for you. What the app can do is connect with your favorite music player, open it, and start music automatically.
While not rich in music-related features like other apps on the list, Runtastic does come with useful plans and fitness tracking options that provide a detailed insight into your physical activity. With this plan, you have it all, music and great performance reports.
Runtastic app is available for Android and iOS devices.
Spring is one of the most practical workout apps you can find. The app tracks your walks, rides, runs, and other physical activities through GPS. But, at the same time, Spring streams the songs that are customized to the interval training.
More precisely, the app works by selecting and playing the songs with the right beats matching your speed. The app is available only for Apple devices. Spring offers over 100 playlists with some of the best music tracks for running and working out. The app has a free trial option, but a subscription is required.
Tidal is a global music streaming platform whose main objective is to bring fans closer to artists by creating unique experiences with the highest-quality sounds. The app is not created for workouts primarily, but like Spotify, it can help you out.
First, it is worth noting Tidal has over 70 million songs and more than 250,000 videos. While Tidal will not play songs based on your beats per minute or adjust them to your pace, it does offer a wide range of songs to improve your workout experience.
Like with Spotify, you can search for workout music and get access to tons of playlists with the best songs for running or doing other exercises. You can save tracks you like and create your own playlist that features all music tracks you actually like.
While available for both Android and iOS devices, Tidal is not a free app. Although there is a free 30-day trial, the app has two subscription plans. You can choose the one whose price and features respond to your preferences the most.
How Does Music Influence Workouts?
Most people listen to music while working out. Reps and sets seem to go faster this way. Music has a positive influence on athletic performance and it goes beyond making routine go faster. Studies show you can, actually, perform better while listening to music.
So, now that you learned more about some of the best apps for workout music, it’s useful to learn a thing or two about the benefits of listening to your favorite tracks while exercising.
Evidence shows music can increase the duration of exercise. Different types of music can decrease the perception of exertion during the workout (2).
Several studies have evaluated the effects of stimulative music on self-paced cardio training (aerobic exercise) and they discovered music can, indeed, enhance workout output. For example, one study explored the effects of contingent-monetary reinforcement and music on exercise in college students. Participants needed to do cycling. A combination of money and exercise worked the best. Useful to mention is the fact music significantly increased the rate of cycling (3).
Both moderately fast and fast music can result in a significant increase in the intensity of exercise when compared to slow music or no music settings (4).
That said, the intensity of a workout routine can determine the extent to which music can inhibit the processing of sensory cues. Even though the positive effects of music on how you feel can’t affect the fatigue perception during high-intensity workouts, music has the potential to change how you respond to or interpret the sensation of high exertion.
One study examined the effects of a music jump rope exercise on pulmonary function and BMI in overweight female college students. Participants were in their 20s. Results showed there were significant differences in vital capacity and BMI in the experimental group (with jump rope) and the control group. The music jump rope exercise had a positive impact on the circulation of the cardiovascular system thanks to dynamic movements. It also activated the movement of respiratory muscles to strengthen deep breathing. College students from the music jump rope group also slimmed down and experienced improvements in physical strength and endurance (5).
As you can see, science supports the benefits of music on workouts. How does music help you, exactly? Well, your favorite tracks can do a lot, actually. For example:
- Music is influential during repetitive activities and endurance exercises. Basically, music can make your workout feel easier or motivate you to work harder even if you’re not realizing it (6).
- A better mood is a common “consequence” of listening to music (7). Good mood serves as a motivation boost; you have more desire to go to the gym and start working out or do your best when exercising.
- Music can also calm you down, which is equally important. Slower music, 80 to 115 beats per minute can slow down the heart rate and decrease anxiety before an intense workout, game, or race (8). It’s also useful to mention music can help you get out of your head to prevent “choking” i.e. hesitating to act while playing sports.
- Regardless of your favorite music genre, music can make you move rhythmically. Listening to music you like can increase electrical activity in brain regions responsible for making coordinating movements (9).
- Listening to music is more effective at making a workout more enjoyable than watching a video without a sound. Even more powerful effects are the combined action of music and video (10, 11).
All in all, music helps you keep pace and increases your athletic performance by making repetitive exercises and movements more enjoyable. It can also motivate you to do your best or go to the gym, even if you don’t feel like it. After all, music is good for your mental health too (12, 13).
Through increased athletic performance music can help you slim down. The more you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn. Also, music releases endorphins or feel-good chemicals in the brain that are also produced after a nice workout. What these endorphins do is reduce appetite and mobilize energy stores i.e. they burn fat (14).
Music can support your weight management in other ways. Listening to loud music when you’re eating out can lead to unhealthy food choices. On the other hand, quieter ambiance music is associated with healthier food choices and we all know how important this is for weight loss and its management, especially if you tend to overeat (15, 16).
Apps for workout music are numerous. You have tons of options to take your workout to the next level and get the most out of your exercise regimen. Take some time to explore different options, check different apps, and focus on the one that meets your needs the most. Finding the specific app and saying it’s the best would be difficult. Each app is different and offers something that other applications do not. If you like the freedom of listening to someone else’s playlists and creating your own, Spotify and Tidal are excellent options. Some apps will find and play the tracks for you while others will only play music tracks you own. It’s up to you to choose an app that will provide an optimal experience and motivate you to exercise more and do your best in the gym.