52 Workout Songs To Help You Get Bigger, Stronger, and Faster

by schaefer on August 5, 2008 · 253 comments

in Health & Sports

It is no secret that music has an uncanny ability to motivate us. The right song can make an otherwise dull workout become our finest hour. And now there is scientific evidence to support it, as well as entire businesses dedicated to helping you produce customized workout soundtracks. The benefits of music impact several areas according to HellaSound.com, a website dedicated to helping you find the right music for your workout.

“In academic-speak, the right music is an ergogenic aid—an external influence that positively affects your physiological performance. Wikipedia’s definition breaks ergogenic aid benefits into 3 facets: performance improvement, minimization of distraction and increased recovery.” – HellaSound

It was with this in mind that the 52 best workout songs were selected in an epic exploration of the foot-tapping, guitar-screaming and beat-boxing tracks that have found a welcome home in gyms across America. Most of them famous, some very obscure, but all great songs for running, lifting, spinning and any other workout you can think of.

As for selection criteria one key element stood out from all the rest: tempo. Why? According to experts it is the most important factor in enhancing workout performance because it provides timing and coordination for your movements. Music in the 120-140 beats-per-minute (bpm) range is best for most aerobic exercise because it most closely matches the average person’s heart rate.

In creating this list much attention was also paid to finding a good mix of genres (though most will notice it skewed on the side of rock simply because it tends to have the most uptempo songs), as well as music from different eras (though most will find it skewed in favor of the 90s and today simply because songs like “My Guy” don’t exactly make the average person want to throw around some weights).

Finally, “Eye of the Tiger” was left out because it has been overplayed and now borders more on cheesy than motivational. If this makes you sad then go watch “Rocky” and eat a pint of ice cream.

Now, Art of Manliness presents the 52 best workout songs for your listening pleasure:

1. “Thunderstruck”- AC/DC

2. “Say This Sooner- The Almost

3. Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire

4. Sabotage – Beastie Boys

5. Loser – Beck

6. Ain’t No Easy Way – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

7. Hurricane – Bob Dylan

8. “No Woman No Cry (Live At the Lyceum)” – Bob Marley

9. “Unconditional” – The Bravery

10. “The Distance” – Cake

11. “Galvanize” – The Chemical Brothers

12. “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” – The Clash

13. “Crossroads” – Cream

14. “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” – The Darkness

15. Hands Down – Dashboard Confessional

16. Lose Yourself – Eminem

17. “Sunday Shining” – Finley Quaye

18. Everlong – Foo Fighters

19.The First Single (You Know Me) – The Format

20. “Flathead” – The Fratellis

21.Naked – The Goo Goo Dolls

22.Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz

23.Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses

24.Jump Around – House of Pain

25.Numb / Encore – Jay-Z & Linkin Park

26.Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Jimi Hendrix

27.Bleed American – Jimmy Eat World

28. I Walk the Line – Johnny Cash

29. D.A.N.C.E.- Justice

30. Somebody Told Me – The Killers

31. When You Were Young – The Killers

32. “Red Morning Light” – Kings of Leon

33. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin

34. Last Light – Matt Pond PA

35. Beat It – Michael Jackson OR Fall Out Boy (feat. John Mayer)

36. Enter Sandman – Metallica

37. Always Love – Nada Surf

38. Here It Goes Again – O.K. Go

39 B.O.B.- OutKast

40. Testify – Rage Against the Machine

41. Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine

42. Black Betty – Ram Jam

43. “Hide Away” – Rock Kills Kid

44. Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones

45. Start Me Up (Live)- The Rolling Stones

46. Hands Open – Snow Patrol

47. Reptilia – The Strokes

48. Oh! Gravity – Switchfoot

49. “All Because of You” – U2

50. Island In the Sun – Weezer

51. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

52. Woman – Wolfmother


So, by this time some of you are excited, some are perplexed and still others are furious. Let us know what hidden gem we left uncovered or why you think this is the greatest list of of the last several decades.

{ 252 comments… read them below or add one }

201 Dan October 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm

very few of these songs i would ever see myself listening too especially in an attempt to get the adrenaline going.

off the top of my head i have to say my favorite motivating song would have to be “back for more” by Five Finger Death Punch, or 5FDP as a whole for that matter. that and any Marine corps cadence. OORAH

202 Jay October 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Really!!!??? No Rocky?? Come on…

No Easy Way Out – Robert Tepper
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Burning Heart – Survivor
Hearts on Fire – Jonathan Clay

Easily the most inspiring workout music!!!

203 Sheriden October 29, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Song Number 2 by Blur!

204 Mike October 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I agree with Jay.

No Rocky, no gain.

205 rick November 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm

No I-Tunes link ? WTF How much money are you losing every hit ? !!!

206 Jim November 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm

My all time favorite workout song is papercut by linkin park…just starts off hard from the beginning and the lyrics are perfect. Theres a guy on youtube named rob bailey, he’s got some really good stuff for lifting too.

207 Bobby Kittleberger November 30, 2012 at 10:06 am

I don’t see many songs that I would consider good workout songs here. I mean, Clapton and Bob Marley? Not sure I could get pumped to their stuff.

208 Frankie November 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Big Weezer fan, but to workout to? Not so much…

209 Rocky November 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Yeah, seriosuly. Every man worth his salt knows the greatest workout song of all time is Eye of the Tiger. This list is simply terrible. Who compiled it? A 14 year old?

210 CC December 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Some very nice suggestions. thx guys.
Reptile youth-speeddance
Shaka loveless- “dans din idiot” danish, but still with nice energy. def worth a listen.
Jedi mind tricks-”on the eve of war”

211 Thomas December 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

“This list is simply terrible. Who compiled it? A 14 year old?”

Considering the list covers a wide range of music made over the last 50 years rather than resorting to the usual modern rap/metal cliches, I’d say it’s probably more likely that it was made by a slightly older person willing to think outside the box. I’ve only heard about half of the songs on the list, but stuff like “Paint It Black” will get me pumped much faster than “Eye of the Tiger.”

212 Jim Green December 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

A handful of good ones here but SERIOUSLY…nothing from Rocky disqualifies this list…TKO….no red blooded true gym rat will complete omit Survivor’s/Rocky music.

213 Jim S December 18, 2012 at 12:04 am

A lot of these are good songs but too mellow to try and get a good pump going. Maybe this was gear more for cardio?

214 claude December 27, 2012 at 6:24 am

you guys left out a bunch:
du hast rammstein
indistrucrible-disturbed
i stand alone-Godsmack
gangsters paradise-coolio
walk-pantera
lumberjack-jackyle
angry again-megadeth
from whom the bell tolls-metallica
whiskey in the jar-metallica

215 claude December 27, 2012 at 6:26 am

eye of the tiger is being used in a mascara cammercial so i’s say NO on eye of the tiger.

216 JarJar January 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Author needs his man card pulled. I love and enjoy all the music he mentioned, but very few of them could be considered pump-up tunes.

217 Cheddd January 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Well good list of song, maybe I will update my playlist, and by the way these songs are great for workout

http://www.squidoo.com/25-best-songs-for-workout

218 Teen Icarus January 9, 2013 at 4:33 pm

personally, I just listen to Appetite for Destruction by GNR – pretty much every song on that album qualifies as a pump-up song. However, Crazy Train (Ozzy), Monster (Skillet), Nighttrain (Guns n’ Roses), and most importantly, Remember the Name (Fort Minor) should also be on that list.

219 Drake January 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm

A non-conventional workout playlist. LOVE IT. Keep up the great work.

220 IHABSTER January 29, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Need more Linkin Park, Eminem(not his shitty rap songs though), seventh nation army, and Rocky is a given (over-played or not)

221 Sam February 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm

B.O.B by Outkast, I forgot about this song!! This is definitely a good one to run to.

222 Greg February 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm

First I don’t know if I would put Thunderstruck as my AC/DC song. Reach back a little further into the vault and pull out some TNT or Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Back to the days when AC/DC didn’t just write songs for the radio.
Next I’d need to add in some Rancid, NOFX or Bad Religion; real skater punk before Blink 182 ruined it. But that’s just the generation I grew up in.
Finally I’d top it off with some Dr Dre. Eminem is a great step in the right direction, but you can’t top the original when he delivers the beats like Still Dre, Forget about Dre or the Next Episode. Great motivation carrying just enough of that fuck you attitude to help you push through.

223 Chuck N February 10, 2013 at 10:05 am

Try this : Diablo – Read my scars and

224 mims February 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Senegal Fast Food by Amidou and Mariam
Bohemian Like you by Dandy Warhols
Sympathy for the Devil by the stones
You’ll Never pay for the Farm by Gang of 4
Cannonball by the Breeders
Big Mouth by Santigold
That’s how I escaped my Certain Fate by Mission of Burma
Light Rail Coyote by Sleater Kinney
Line up by Elastica
Comeback Kid by Sleigh Bells

225 jaki February 20, 2013 at 1:52 pm

this is supposed to be a suggestive and informative website and not throw brickbats at a film which is preserved in library of American Film Academy (Rocky). The author of this blog needs to grow up and stop being a film critic and start sticking to the point. Eye of the Tiger is a classic and there is compare to songs of today. I find this write up biased.

226 klaus March 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Attitude – Hardknox
Vicarious – Tool
Shimmy – S.O.A.D
Come to Daddy – Aphex Twin
Cochise – Audioslave
(Rock/Rap) Superstar – Cypress Hill
Ready or Not – Fugees (DJ Hype remix)
Thunder – Prodigy
Back Round – Wolfmother

You left too many good ones out and left in too many bad ones. Why would you have U2 or Snow Patrol?!

Claude had the right idea.

227 BBG March 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Some good tracks…some questionable ones. I was going to call you out on no Tool or Prodigy, but klaus beat me to it.

If you’re going to include a Bob Marley track (and I don’t know why you would, on such a list) then I’d go with Iron Lion Zion.

Also, it seems the poster just chose the most popular Metallica track, as opposed to one best suited to working out. I’d go with Battery or, better yet, Fuel.

I’d like to add:
Micheal Hunter – Soviet Connection
Pendulum – Slam, Masochist
Pearl Jam – Do the Evolution
Prodigy – Breathe
Kanada (Akira sountrack)
Cunninlynguists – Takin the Loss, Halfanimal Halfman, Aint No Way

228 Leia March 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Go visit http://www.sammyfranco.com for some real kick-ass workout music, especially if you’re a fan of groups such as Godsmack, Mushroomhead, System of a Down, Flaw, and all of the other heavy rock bands that are out there. Limp Bizkit is good as well. I also personally prefer the soundtracks to “The Scorpion King” and the Vin Diesel action flick “XXX” and the soundtrack to the 1990 action flick “Navy SEALs”.

229 mathpoet March 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

My fav is Shakira – Waka Waka

230 john March 16, 2013 at 5:54 am

Bad list. All you need to listen to is metallica, rage against the machine, ac/dc, guns n roses if you plan on weight training.

231 Cassandra March 23, 2013 at 10:55 am

Seriously? Eye of the Tiger should be on here. There’s nothing like the thrill of the fight to have us rising up to the challenge of our rival, the gym.

232 Nick April 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm

This is actually one of the best workout mixes I’ve come across online. One of the few that doesn’t include “Let the Bodies Hit The Floor” and an excess of Swedish black metal. Actually some quality songs by quality bands. Bombs of Baghdad was a great choice too.

233 mike May 7, 2013 at 12:31 am

I like where your going with this but I must say im a little disappointed with the lack of instrumentals. Heres my short list.

battle without humanity or honor
daisy dukes
lets get it started
Theme to SWAT
Theme to Hawaii 5 0
Me myself and I
Sabotage beasties
whatcha want beasties
I wanna rock
Rock you like a hurricane
heavy metal sammy hagar
frankenstein
russian fight scene, boondock saints
sleep now in the fire rage
dont phunk with my heart
oh yeah, yello
run thru the jungle credence

ill think of more later

234 Joe Schmoe May 26, 2013 at 9:36 pm

I can see Thundstruck, Welcome to the Jungle and Enter Sandman, but what’s with the hipster and anemic classic rock bands? Maybe some of that sissy rock works for cardio, but if you’re lifting weights, you need the following, trust me:

Bloodsimple – Dead Man Walking

Saliva – Click Click Boom, Survival of the Sickest, Superstar, Ladies and Gentlemen, Family Reunion, Rock & Roll Revolution

Hellyeah – Cowboy Way, It’s On!, You Wouldn’t Know, Debt that All Men Pay, Pole Rider

Marilyn Manson – This is the New Sh*t, mObscene

Ozzy Osbourne – I Don’t Wanna Stop

Godsmack – I Stand Alone, Awake, Make Me Believe, Straight Out Of Line, I F*cking Hate You, Crying Like A Bitch

Drowning Pool – All About Me, Step Up, Killin’ Me,

Hurt – Ten Ton Brick

Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff

Stereomud – Leave (Back Up)

Union Underground – Turn Me On Mr. Deadman

Dope – Bitch, Motivation

Staind – Mudshovel

Mudvayne – Happy?, We the People, Dull Boy

pretty much anything by:
Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, Rammstein

Yeah, there’s some cursing, but if your ears aren’t too delicate, it will motivate you. Just don’t load up too much weight and hurt yourself…

235 Miles May 27, 2013 at 9:11 am

I think the person who came up with this list was just imagining what it must be like to jog/pump weights/cycle etc.

Daft Punk, Tron Legacy
Final Countdown, Europe
Running Up That Hill, Kate Bush
Love Is Noise, The Verve
Extreme Ways, Moby
Training Montage, Rocky IV
Goa, from Bourne Supremacy Soundtrack

236 Joe June 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Seriously, some of these for a workout?? Yeah…can’t really say Bob Marley ever inspired me to workout anything but my lungs!

237 Matt July 26, 2013 at 9:58 am

The one song every workout must include is;
Open your Eyes – Guano Apes

238 Selena August 14, 2013 at 4:11 am

Nice list of songs to help in workout. my favorite from the list is Lose Yourself by Eminem.

239 Gribbstar September 10, 2013 at 3:15 am

It’s a decent list but music to get pumped to is such a personal thing and very few tunes will work for everyone.

I could add a tonne to it but nobody would know them and even fewer would like them.

One that all should know, especially children of the 70s growing up with the original Transformers:

Stan Bush – The Touch

240 MS October 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Avenged Sevenfold ~ Hail To The King, the ENTIRE ALBUM

241 Alan October 21, 2013 at 9:10 pm

If you’re only going to have one Eminem song on there, Lose Yourself seems like the right one to have, but it’s not. Feast your ears upon the magic that is ‘Till I Collapse, featuring Nate Dogg and tell me it’s not better! :)

242 Brian October 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm

This “workout mix” would make me fall asleep.

243 Liam November 11, 2013 at 3:07 am

Try this workout list. They are all energy songs that will help you work out like a demon. No need for a firecracker under your a$$ with this list.

Rammstein – Du Hust
– Buck Dich
Metallica – Enter Sandman
Offsping – All I want
– Gone Away
Slayer – Violent Pacification
– I’m gonna be your god
Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with
Butterflywings
Slipknot – Before I forget
– Duality
– Wait & Bleed
Mudvayne – Not Falling
Marilyn Manson – This is the New Shit
Silverchair – Anthem for the year 2000
Austrian Death Machine – If it bleeds,
we can kill it
Hatebreed – I will be heard
Pantera – Living through me
(hell’s wrath)
Limp Bizkit – My way
Sepultura – Refuse/Resist
Disturbed – Liberate
– The Game
– Down with the Sickness
Drowning Pool – Bodies
– Sinner
Linkin Park – One Step Closer
Static X – Push It
Megadeath – Duke Nukem Theme

244 bill compsert November 22, 2013 at 8:34 am

long, long, way from home -foreigner
dont look back-boston
dont tread on me-metallica
runnin with the pack-bad company
burn-deep purple
at war with the world-foreigner
fire down below bob seger

245 bob bobbinson December 17, 2013 at 11:12 pm

horshoes and handgrenades-greenday
burn it to the ground- nickleback

246 Pr January 23, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Pyromania – Def Leppard

247 Pr January 23, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

248 PR January 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Dr. Feelgood – Motley Crue

249 Brent January 27, 2014 at 10:54 pm

In the air tonight-Phil Collins
Hey man nice shot-Filter
Cumbersome-seven mary three
My hero-foo fighters
Stranglehold-ted nugent

250 Matt February 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm

What is with you people? Clearly “exercise” doesn’t include deadlifts.

Bang your head (Metal Health) – Quiet Riot

The Trooper – Iron Maiden

You Could be Mine – Guns N’ Roses

Money Talks – ACDC

Mother – Danzig

Empire – Queensryche

If you are going to choose squishy songs at least choose songs that they always use in climax scens (liek in Wall-E or Short Circuit or Footloose)

Holding Out for a Hero- Bonnie Tyler

Higher – Creed

Who made Who – ACDC

Soul Coughing – Super Bon Bon

So many . . . . .

251 Tony March 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I cannot believe that on a list of ‘Workout Songs To Help You Get Bigger, Stronger, and Faster’ Hatebreed’s “Live for This” was not included…that is until I read most of the songs that made the list. Clearly we are not all motivated the same way in the gym. I want to get stronger. When I hit rep 12 of 15 on my 5th set of sphincter popping weights the last thing I want to hear is “Beat it” by Michael Jackson come on the rotation.

252 Tadeu March 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Hatebreed, First Blood, Terror, Madball, Cold Hard Truth and Nasty – any song of these bands

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