Spotify and Scientists Team Up to Create the Ultimate Workout Playlist

Just in time for you to renew your commitment to that New Year's resolution you forgot you made.

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Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Scientists have joined forces with Spotify to create the ultimate workout playlist. The result? A whole lot of very recent pop music. If you saw a movie trailer in 2013, or even just left your house, you’ve probably heard all of these songs. Multiple times. Probably too many times.


But before you criticize Spotify for basically recycling 2013’s Billboard Hot 100 — which yes, includes a song with a title that’s just a hashtag — into a playlist, take a second to review the science behind this specifically engineered fitness soundtrack.

After analyzing 6.7 million compilations, the music-streaming service worked with sports scientists at Brunel University to pick popular songs based on lyrics, style and tempo. The 20 tracks were placed in a specific order, creating a strategic musical flow: fitness buffs can warm up to Katy Perry’s cheery Roar, dance to the weird country-EDM hybrid that is Pitbull and Ke$ha’s Timber during the high intensity portion, strength train alongside Eminem and Rihanna’s weird tension on The Monster, and finally, cool down with the chilly trip-hop beats of Lorde’s Royals.

Dr Costas Karageorghis, the Brunel University psychologist behind this study who is known for studying the relationship between music and physical performance, had this to say:  “When synching your movements to the beat of the music, increase the intensity of your workout by raising the music tempo by one or two BPMs beyond your comfort zone – this will increase your workrate with the added benefit that the difference in effort will be almost imperceptible.”

So basically, this list is scientifically guaranteed to make you work out harder and smarter without you even realizing. Right.

Listen to the mix the next time you head to the gym. Just make sure to set your Spotify setting to private before you start streaming and sweating.