Cycling music: sounds to help you get through the toughest indoor workouts


Studies have shown that music not only helps RPE (perceived exertion rate), but can also help with heart rate in certain situations. In Effects of music in exercise and sport: A meta-analytic review, by Peter C Terry, the findings support the use of music to feel better while exercising, provide competitive advantage, and reduce perceived exertion. If you want to delve into scholarly articles, this is an interesting read. Even without proof, most people have an intrinsic understanding of this effect. You can outfit your pain cave with one of the best turbo trainers and the indoor cycling app of your choice, but pick the wrong playlist and your workout can be ruined before you even start. Good music during a workout makes it all better, more enjoyable, and dare I say it, easier.

What is good music? There are certainly studies that examine it, but each has its own interpretation. Some people try to match the BPM of the music to the cadence, others only listen to whatever they like, some are looking for rock music that gets the adrenaline pumping, while others want classical .

One thing’s for sure, we like what we like, and we generally have a good understanding of what kind of music makes us want to go, so we asked our team to each come up with their own playlist, and also to talk. what that means to them. It became immediately clear that what works for you won’t necessarily work for the next person.

So, check out our list of indoor cycling tips, get yourself a pair of the best cycling headphones, and see which playlist you like best to go with you on your next workout.

Josh Ross’ music for the race

There is no driving that I do that is more intense than the Zwift race. A typical Zwift run sees me at a threshold or higher heart rate for over 65% of the run. This intensity means that I like a very specific type of music for these rides. I want it to be cheerful, upbeat, and energizing. Nothing too complex and I like something that I can sing along to. Sometimes when my heartbeat is deep in the vo2 max zone, and the ride seems so difficult it is almost impossible, I will sing. Always badly, and often only a few words because I can hardly breathe, but just enough to cross the coast or cross the finish line. It’s the subject of my indoor cycling reading list and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Josh Croxton’s eclectic mix

While I have no doubts about the science that music helps reduce RPE, I often find that music fades into white noise when I roll on the indoor trainer and is not processed by my brain. I swear I could ride for an hour and I wouldn’t be able to tell you a single song that I heard. That doesn’t stop me from listening, because the sound is better than the metronome which is my pedaling and breathing, and every once in a while a song will grab my attention with a big drop or a fun beat, and it’s these moments that are worth it.

Like many, my musical tastes depend on my mood, and the music that comes out of my headphones as I battle some of TrainerRoad’s best over-unders is very different from the cold music that plays as I hack through the gravel lanes. a Sunday.

The following mix is ​​eclectic to say the least, with a good part of house, a little indie, a little pop and some really random retro tunes that no matter how many times I listen to them, I can not stop me. to dance … on the pedals. See what I did there?

I’m taking risks here because I know a lot of people will hear my song collection and wonder if I’m okay. However, I think there is a small portion of weirdos out there who will appreciate my penchant for metal mixed with high energy electronics. From 80s German industrialists Rammstein and Perturbator to power metal on the theme of pirates and space wizards like Alestorm and Gloryhammer, with a few jokers. The point of this playlist is to keep the energy high on the sprints, with a few slightly slower paces to accompany the climb and hopefully help you not take yourself too seriously.

Graham’s Spr-Interval Indoor Survival Mix

Much like Josh Croxton, as the intensity increases and the heart rate explodes, the music kind of becomes noise. So, rather than fighting it, most of the music I listen to in the Cave of Pain already sounds like inconsistent noise anyway. A sound of anger at that, which I didn’t realize until I put this playlist together. I must point out that the subversive nature of the music I chose to sweat on contrasts sharply with the psychedelic alternative rock and dub soundtracks that I choose to explore the trails and alleys by day.

My ultimate playlist would simply be Destruction Unit’s Deep Trip album on repeat, although I appreciate that the barrage of chaotic sounds isn’t for everyone and, combined with the jaw-dropping maximum effort, is probably as close as possible to reproduce the feeling of a psychotic episode in your kitchen. Ultimately, however, the incoherent onslaught of relentless fuzzy guitar and crashing drums means there is no loosening, erasing all thoughts as it forces you to try and keep up.

It may be surprising that I also sing occasionally to make an effort, although instead of trying to recreate Rihanna’s twittering charms as Josh Ross, it’s Mark E Smith’s absurd growls – which are easy enough to imitate mi -effort.

Do you have a favorite workout song or do you prefer a particular genre of music when you are cycling indoors? If so, drop it in the comments below and we’ll put your suggestions together into a reader reading list for a true eclectic mix.


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