Music is essential to most people’s workout routines. An energetic song can help motivate you to perform your best when exercising. While hip-hop and rap are typically played on speakers at gyms, a recent survey found that listeners prefer rock and alternative music when working out.
Gymless.org, a free resource for information about calisthenics and body weight exercises, conducted a survey through social media on September 21, 2023, about what genre of music is preferred when working out. After garnering over 500 responses from users following an online fitness community board, the researchers found that 43.1% of pollers listen to rock and alternative music while exercising. The results surprised Liam Hunt and Amine Rahal, co-founders of Gymless.org.
“Ultimately, I expected EDM or hip-hop to receive the most responses since these types of music are what I hear in most public venues, and even on TV and in commercials,” reflected Rahal. “To me, these findings show the resilience of rock music as a cultural force and a timeless style of energetic music that a wide range of people can get behind when it comes time to break a sweat.”
Hunt agreed, adding that the results may suggest a cultural shift towards the raw energy of rock ‘n roll. “This ebb and flow of musical preferences not only underscores the cyclical nature of cultural trends but also highlights the deep connection between music, movement, and the mood of an era,” he said.
Hip-hop was the second most listened-to genre according to the survey, coming in at 22.6%, with EDM following at 19.5%. The hip-hop, EDM, and rock genres are all typically high energy with heavy bass, giving people a strong rhythm and intense vibe for their workouts. Other genres like instrumental/orchestral and reggae predictably performed poorly in the survey, as they are more calming and slower-paced.
The intriguing results of the survey reflect the way music and certain exercise routines fall in and out of cultural fashion. Online content creators have popularized at-home workout methods like yoga, pilates, and HIIT that do not require typical gym equipment. Much of this change came about during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when gyms were locked down. Hunt and Rahal themselves founded Gymless.org during the pandemic when they became interested in body weight exercises that could be performed at home.
While hip-hop and electronic music may seem like the fashionable genres to hear when at the gym, it seems that rock music is rising in popularity for those who work out at home. Rock anthems like “Eye of the Tiger” and “We Will Rock You” are synonymous with physical challenges, and will always serve to motivate gymgoers and those who prefer home workouts. The emotional component of working out is always important for the motivation and strength it takes to see results. Music can bring out your determination and drive to perform your best during your workout.
If you usually listen to hip-hop or EDM during your workout, try switching to rock to see what all the fuss is about. Your choice of music could change your results in the gym – pump yourself up with some classic rock and find out!