Many athletes prefer training with energetic music. And this is right: Italian scientists have identified a connection between the pace of fast gym workout music for training, heart rate, and performance. But music not only helps to work out more efficiently but also helps to recover better and faster: the British ones found that listening to calm music after a workout helps to calm down faster and reduces the production of cortisol. The results of the two studies are in our article.
How does the tempo of gym workout music affect the intensity of your workout?
Music allows you to train more intensively by reducing the perceived load. This is evident from a study published by Croatian and Italian researchers in Frontiers in Psychology. The performance-enhancing effect of music is especially evident in endurance training, but power athletes can also benefit from it.
Study of the influence of the tempo of gym workout music on strength and cardio training
The use of music during training is a particular paradigm for trainers to stimulate people to perform various types of exercises. However, the correspondence between the musical tempo and how the body perceives various types of efforts is still unclear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether high-intensity physical activity is more sensitive to the beneficial effects of music than endurance exercises.
The researchers recruited 19 women fitness enthusiasts aged 24-31 years to experiment who either had to walk 10 minutes at a fast pace (6.5 km / h) on a treadmill or do leg presses. The protocol for the leg press consisted of women having to do sets of 10 reps (with increasingly heavier weights). Based on the last completed set, the researchers calculated the weight that women could do only one rep [1RM].
In one case, women trained without gym workout music [NM]. In other cases, women trained by listening to pop music at a pace of 90-110 beats per minute [low], 130-150 beats per minute [slow] or 170-190 beats per minute [high].
The results of the study of the influence of musical tempo on the training process
The music raised physical performance to a higher level, especially during training on a treadmill. When subjects walked on a treadmill, their heart rate increased as they listened to music. The more beats per minute, the more the heart rate increases.
The same thing happened when you had to do leg presses. If the study participants listened to gym workout music at a speed of 170-190 beats per minute, then their estimated 1RM was 3 kilograms higher than under other conditions.
Although music encouraged subjects to exercise more intensely, it also reduced feelings of fatigue and physical stress. The higher the tempo of the music, the stronger the effect. This was especially true of the endurance session.
Conclusion: faster music speeds up the pulse and reduces the perception of the load
“We were able to find out that the perception of high-speed musical compositions during the training process causes an increase in heart rate to the highest level and a decrease in the level of load perception compared to not listening to music,” says co-author Luca Ardigo, a biomechanics specialist from the Italian University of Verona in a study press release. “This means that the participants perceived the exercises to be less labor-intensive, although they were more beneficial in terms of enhancing physical fitness.” “In this research, we studied the influence of musical tempo on the training process, but in the future, we would like to further explore how other music parameters (melody, genre, text) affect the duration of work under load and the level of training intensity,” says Ardigo.
This study shows the benefits of music under stressful conditions, as well as during endurance and high-intensity training. The results indicate that the beneficial effects of music are more likely to manifest themselves in endurance exercises. Therefore, music can be seen as an important tool to stimulate people who exercise at low intensity.
Study of the impact of music on recovery after exercise
Listening to a fast and energetic gym workout music, you train better and more intensively. Meditative and soothing music for hard training is not effective. But it is precisely this type of music that can be useful for athletes after exercise, as this can speed recovery.
The information is not new, that music relaxes the body faster after intense physical exertion. For example, in 2008, sports scientists from the Nanjing Institute of Physical Education published a study in which, after exercise, the subjects’ heart rate returned to normal faster when they listened to relaxing music.
In 2017, a study was published by scientists from Brunel University London in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, in which they studied the effect of music on cortisol levels in people. Cortisol is a hormone that stimulates energy production during exercise or other forms of physical stress, but a chronically elevated level of which can also inhibit muscle growth. British scientists had 42 physically active students – 21 men, 21 women, who had to intensively train on a bicycle ergometer. After the main load, participants were instructed to continue cycling for 3 minutes at 50 rpm as a form of active recovery. At the same time, the participant was provided with headphones for one of three conditions (fast, stimulating music, slow, sedative music, or without music).
The total recovery period was 33 minutes and included 3 minutes of active recovery, followed by a 30-minute period of passive recovery, for which the participant was instructed to transfer to the nearest comfortable chair with headphones.
In this case, salivary cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure were measured before training, immediately after, and during 10-, 20-, and 30-minute passive recovery intervals. A slow, sedative musical state met the published criteria for restorative music, while a fast, stimulating musical state was representative of the music commonly used during exercise. The fast, stimulating musical state consisted of nine tracks with an average tempo of 129 bpm. The slow, sedative musical state consisted of two longer tracks, which had an average tempo of 71 bpm and were thus close to peace for a healthy adult.
The influence of music on the psychological state of subjects
When subjects listened to soothing music during their recovery, they felt calmer than under the other two experimental conditions, as shown in the figure below. Over time, a slow, sedative musical state caused significantly lower points of affective excitement compared with both a fast, stimulating and without musical accompaniment. This discovery illustrates the potential significance of a musical stimulus in low regulatory stimulation. Interestingly, women showed a more pronounced decrease in arousal indicators than men in a state of slow, sedative music. Past studies have also shown that women have a greater tendency to use music for emotional regulation than men and that women also benefit more from music when a complex motor task is coordinated with the rhythmic qualities of the music.
The British measured the concentration of cortisol in the saliva of the subjects and saw that during active recovery, the concentration of cortisol increased less when students listened to soothing music. From a physiological point of view, the effect of these experimental manipulations on recovery is somewhat less clear. Unlike previous studies, which reported that slow music accelerated the restoration of hemodynamics (blood pressure and heart rate) compared to fast music and its absence, the results of this study did not record this.
Conclusion: soothing music after a workout helps you recover faster
“These results show that music of a slow, sedative nature can speed up the recovery processes that follow strenuous physical exercises, and it is especially useful in terms of reducing the level of affective excitement,” the British say.
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