Music is incredible and it can make you feel a 1000 different emotions. It affects our body on a visceral level by often dictating our energy levels, mood, and mental state. Whether you’re going for a max lift or a 3 mile run, odds are you probably listen to music like I do to help you focus, increase your energy, and get you in the right mental state to perform at your best during workouts. Although I listen to about everything–rock/metal, hip-hop/rap, orchestral/soundtrack, even country and pop–I only listen to a few select genres when working out. You will find no Miley Cyrus on my playlist, but instead great bands and artists like Metallica and Eminem.

Before I start here is the criteria that I used to make the list:

  • No band or artist can appear more than once
  • The song can be from any genre
  • The song I select is not necessarily my favorite song by the artist
  • The list is based on how I feel at the moment

With that said, here are my top 10 workout songs that get me pumped up and in the zone!

10. My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark–Fall Out Boy

You’re probably scratching your head on this one, but every time I hear this song I think of the HBO sports series Hardknocks. Although I couldn’t find the video clip on YouTube, the Cincinnati Bengals are doing Oklahoma or “okie” drills when this song starts playing. If you’ve never played football then you probably haven’t heard of it, but it’s basically a drill that defines your manhood. You go one-on-one with someone else (1 from offense and 1 from defense) and basically try to do everything in your power to knock the other guy on his ass. The fact that there was award winning NFL Films cinematography during the video only made the song that much more bad ass! That’s why it’s on my list.

9. ‘Till I Collapse–Eminem

Honorable Mentions: Cinderella Man, Loose Yourself, On Fire

Eminem has a lot of emotion and fire in his rap songs and that’s why I really like him. This song really helps get through my workout, especially at the end when I may want to relax or quit.

8. Take No PrisonersMegadeth

Honorable Mentions: Headcrusher, Symphony of Destruction, Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

Megadeth is one of my favorite bands and as a part of the Big Four of Thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer), they had to make an appearance. Take no Prisoners is pure chaos and energy from start to finish and that’s why it’s on this list.

7. Down from the Sky–Trivium 

Honorable Mentions: Becoming the Dragon, In Waves, Shogun

Trivium is perhaps my favorite modern metal band and Down from the Sky is maybe their greatest example of a song that just makes you want to headbang. It was the first song I heard from them and it’s never gotten old.

6. Painkiller–Judas Priest

Honorable Mentions: Beyond the Realms of Death, Breaking the Law, Night Crawler

Judas Priest is one of the best metal bands of all time and Painkiller is a song that just screams metal. The drum intro gets you ready to fight while Rob Halford’s vocals and the  technical guitar solos carry you through for whatever you might have to do.

5. Fuel–Metallica

Honorable Mentions: Battery, Blackened, Holier Than Thou

Metallica is my favorite band of all time and perhaps the greatest metal band ever. I could have picked almost any song by them and it would’ve made sense, but Fuel really gets me ready to go and that’s why it’s one of my favorites to workout to.

4. Thunderstruck–AC/DC

Honorable Mentions: Shoot to Thrill, For Those About the Rock, T.N.T.

Who doesn’t like AC/DC? If you don’t then you’re crazy. Thunderstruck, from it’s amazing guitar intro to Brian Johnson’s vocals, builds and builds of energy from start to finish and just makes you to want to move. That’s why I usually play it when I have to do a max lift or finish a final set.

3. Laid to Rest–Lamb of God

Honorable Mentions: Now You’ve Got Something to Die For, One Gun, Ghost Walking

I know Laid to Rest is one of Lamb of God’s more “commercial” songs, but that doesn’t make it any less intense. If you really need to get angry and full of rage this song does it and I channel that energy I get from it into my training, especially lifting.

2. Domination–Pantera

Honorable Mentions: Walk, Cowboys from Hell, Mouth for War

Pantera made what is Pure American Metal and Domination exemplifies that. The song starts off with pure thrash roots with Vinny Paul’s powerful drums and Dimebag Darrell’s heavy guitar tone. When Phil Anselmo’s powerful vocals come in during the first verse it almost makes you want to punch something spontaneously. The last minute and half is one of the heaviest riffs I’ve heard, and if I ever was a UFC fighter this would definitely be playing as I come out to the octagon.

1. Back for More–Five Finger Death Punch

Honorable Mentions: White Knuckles, Lift Me Up, Coming Down

Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP) is definitely one of the most powerful, heavy, and emotional bands out there today. Like Trivium, they’re one of my favorite metal bands and this song doesn’t disappoint (they’re also from Las Vegas where I grew up!). If all else has failed in my workout this is the song I listen to get me full of energy, focused, and ready to train. If you ever needed a song to max out to this is the song. When Ivan Moody (the lead singer) screams, “Rise!” that’s when adrenaline explodes throughout my body and I enter beast mode (Ha!). Listen to it and it might do the same for you.

(Oh yeah, ESPN also used this song in Oklahoma’s okie drills when they covered them for a special on their football program.)

That’s my list, so tell me what’s on yours when you workout? Do we have some overlap with the songs and genres, do you listen to something totally different, or nothing at all? Tell me by leaving a comment below, please subscribe if not already, and thanks for stopping by. Until next time, be strong and be you!

(Photo Credit)




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