Friday night I was jumping rope to finish off the week. I was only supposed to jump for ten minutes. I did something to my right knee and wanted to baby it a bit. I put on some Anthrax and got to it. I jumped for seventeen minutes and only stopped because I had this feeling I was well past the ten minutes I planned. What was going on?

Some experts believe that music acts as a distractor. Distractors are known to moderate pain levels, which means you will be less likely to notice pain during a workout. Those not listening to music might experience the intensity of their exercise more, feeling more tired or sore while exercising. Those listening to music will be distracted by it and might not notice any discomfort or strain on their body.

In The Social and Applied Psychology of Music, authors North and Hargreaves suggest that music distracts from the pain you endure during a workout through competing stimuli, meaning both music and the pain from your exercise are competing against each other. It’s easier to forget about or ignore pain or fatigue when you’re distracted by a song.

Studies show that faster-paced music tends to help improve athletic performance when a person engages in low-to-moderate level exercise, either by increasing distance travelled, pace, or repetitions completed. For example, a 2006 study that looked at the effect of music on the selection of treadmill speed found that while listening to fast-paced music, participants increased their pace and distance travelled without becoming more tired. Other studies drew similar conclusions, suggesting that listening to music with more beats per minute can enhance physical performance during low-to-moderate level exercise.

Several studies have shown how the exact tempo, as measured in beats per minute, affects one’s level of exercise. These studies determined that the ideal tempo necessary for maximum performance depends on the type of exercise. A 2011 study showed that in order to achieve the best performance for cycling (which was calculated by measuring exercise intensity through heart rate), the preferred tempo is 125 – 140 beats per minute (bpm). A study published in 2014 showed that the best music tempo for enhanced performance on the treadmill is 123 – 131 bpm. A plausible reason for why different types of exercise have different ideal tempos is related to a person’s ability to keep time with the beat of the music, synchronizing strides or pedaling to the beat of the music. Since pace differs on the treadmill versus the exercise bike or elliptical, music of different tempos is needed to achieve ideal performance for various workouts.

The lesson Science™ teaches us is to turn up the volume and rip off the knobs.

Mostly related: thanks to slumbrew I have become a fan of Jabra earbuds. I bought a pair specifically to use at the gym and for running and jumping. I’ve tried to use the jumping but the come out to frequently. I haven’t even tried them running because I’m afraid of losing one. Has anyone found a replacement earbud tip that effectively secures them? I’m looking at these but can’t tell if they work or are just snake oil.

Workout music. More workout music.